Seasonal work scheme could expand to Christchurch rebuild

12:31 pm on 10 June 2012

A scheme that recruits seasonal horticulture and vineyard workers from Samoa and other Pacific countries could be used to help fill skills and labour shortages for rebuilding Christchurch.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully says talks are under way with Samoa about expanding the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme as part of a review of the 50 year Treaty of Friendship with New Zealand.

Mr McCully says the Samoan government wants to use the scheme to provide Samoan workers and tradespeople to help in Christchurch.

"The Prime Minister has raised that issue with us directly and as we get into the swing of things in Christchurch I hope it's something that we'll be able to look at."

Christchurch mayor Bob Parker welcomes the move and says it will allow Pacific Islanders to upskill and take these new skills back to the islands.

"If it helps the local economies, as this will, in small Pacific countries that are struggling in a tough time I think that's good news as well."