15 Sep 2011

NZ NGO worried expanding seasonal worker scheme could be problematic

3:42 pm on 15 September 2011

The NGO Global Focus Aotearoa is worried that expanding New Zealand's seasonal worker scheme in the Pacific could lead to significant problems.

The organisation's comments follow the independent think tank Maxim Institute's recommendations that the government should extend the Recognised Seasonal Employer programme beyond the horticulture and viticulture industries.

Sam Buchanan from Global Focus says while the RSE scheme is financially beneficial, he believes it could lead to issues such as a wealthy class being formed by workers on the programme.

"It's a very good way of boosting the incomes of countries. It's almost a substitute for development rather than being a developmental. It really is bringing in people from under developed countries if you want to call them that, it's not a very good term, to wealthier countries. Rather than improving those countries which bring transport to people to a wealthier country."

Sam Buchanan says the programme could also lead to gender issues as the majority of RSE workers are men.