Tonga's Minister of Labour has been warned by New Zealand officials that the high number of Tongan RSE workers on the run in New Zealand must be reduced.
Hon Lisiate 'Akolo told Parliament that New Zealand officials said if the matter is ignored, Tonga could be removed from the list of countries in the Recognised Seasonal Employers scheme.
Matangi Tonga reports 24 workers are illegally in New Zealand under the programme.
About 1,000 Tongans have participated in the scheme over the last year.
Hon. 'Akolo pleaded to members of parliament and the Tongan public to help in efforts to bring back the overstayers by the end of the year.
He says Tonga has the highest number of runaways under the scheme, with Tonga at 24 compared to only two each reported from Vanuatu and Samoa and one from Kiribati.