12 Apr 2019

Kiribati wants more seasonal workers to Aust, NZ

3:19 pm on 12 April 2019

The Kiribati parliament is to ask New Zealand and Australia to take more i-Kiribati workers in their seasonal worker schemes.

The government voted unanimously to back an opposition motion calling for fair treatment under the schemes.

The mover of the motion, MP Pinto Katia, says New Zealand and Australia have recruited more workers from Tonga, Samoa and Vanuatu, than they have from Kiribati.

Each year more than 100 i-Kiribati come to New Zealand to work in the country's horticulture and wine industries under the RSE scheme.

However Tonga, which has a similar size population to Kiribati, sends around 2000 workers annually to participate in the RSE.

The Kiribati Minister of Labour, Ioteba Redfern, welcomed the motion and said he would discuss the concerns with NZ and Australia.

Mr Katia acknowledged the contribution the schemes make to the Kiribati economy but he said the opportunity must be fairly distributed among the participating Pacific nations.