18 Feb 2008

Refinements likely to New Zealand's seasonal labour scheme for Pacific workers

8:07 pm on 18 February 2008

There are calls for refinements to be made to New Zealand's Recognised Seasonal Employers scheme.

The policy, which started last year, aims to give employment opportunities to Pacific Islanders whiloe satisfying demand for seasonal workers, especially in horticulture and viticulture.

Officials from New Zealand, the five Pacific nations so far involved - Tuvalu, Kiribati, Tonga, Samoa and Vanuatu, along with the World Bank, and New Zealand employers attended a forum on the RSE scheme last week in Wellington.

The Department of Labour project leader says the scheme has allowed many employers to meet their seasonal labour needs for the first time in years, while Pacific workers have earned enough to help support their families.

But Kerupi Tavita says there're a number of changes needed.

"Some of the lessons that we've learned are, how we see pastoral care, the type of pre-departure information that we give off shore and the type of information that both, the employee and the employer require here in New Zealand, to assist in the transition and also about having flexibility in our policy."

Kerupi Tavita