The New Zealand government is looking to extend the Pacific seasonal labour scheme into sectors beyond horticulture.
The Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme, which brings in people from the Pacific Islands to work in orchards and vineyards for limited periods, is now 10 years old and involves 10,500 workers.
Foreign Minister Gerry Brownlee said that due to its success, the government approved $US7.3 million for a five-year period to explore what other sectors of the economy RSE workers might contribute to.
He said, in particular, they would be looking at opportunities for Pacific women and developing prospects in semi-skilled, higher-income occupations.
He said the new funding was in addition to $US3.65 million for the training of Pacific workers in New Zealand which is part of an arrangement around the PACER Plus trade and development deal signed last month in Tonga.