18 Jun 2020

Concern in New Zealand for welfare of stranded Samoan workers

10:48 am on 18 June 2020

Concerns have been raised for the welfare of more than 50 Samoan seasonal workers stranded in New Zealand's Hawke's Bay by Covid-19.

Their work for the Johnny Appleseed company finishes on Friday but they have to pay an extra six weeks' accommodation and medical insurance, costing nearly $US600.

An aunt of one of the workers said they are now subsisting on the cheapest, nutrient poor food with their savings being eroded the longer they stay.

A New Zealand government policy to help workers in this situation does not start until July.

Immigration NZ authorities said a process to help seasonal workers move to other employers has been established but the aunt said it has not been offered to the men.

She said there are another 20 Samoan seasonal workers stranded under similar circumstances in a neighbouring orchard.

The foreign ministry MFAT said the men should contact the Samoan High Commission and Air New Zealand to start the repatriation process.

There is currently only one passenger flight a fortnight from New Zealand to Samoa.

Pacific Islander diong seasonal work under the RSE scheme in Hawke's Bay.

Pacific Island seasonal worker in Hawke's Bay under the RSE scheme. Photo: RNZ / Johnny Blades

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