15 Sep 2011

Research by think tank suggests expanding seasonal worker scheme

5:13 pm on 15 September 2011

New research by an independent think tank suggests the New Zealand government should expand its seasonal worker scheme to include more Pacific people.

The Maxim Institute has released a policy paper with key recommendations for improving New Zealand's contribution to foreign aid and international development.

Under the Recognised Seasonal Employer or RSE scheme, more than five thousand Pacific Islanders find work each year in New Zealand's horticulture and viticulture industries.

About two thousand more RSE workers come from Asian countries.

Researcher Dr Jane Silloway Smith says one of their recommendations is to increase the number of Pacific seasonal workers and cut back those from Asia.

"But also looking at in the future, expanding on the RSE programme, looking beyond the horticulture and viticulture industries for things such as elder care, for dairy industry, for forestry, for fisheries and places where New Zealand has that is missing a bit of labour capacity. Places that Pacific workers for short periods of time could come, fill in and potentially take back some skills that are a bit more relevant to the Pacific as a region."

Dr Jane Silloway Smith from the Maxim Institute.