24 Mar 2014

Seasonal workers banned from busking

6:29 am on 24 March 2014

The Government has stepped in to ban a group of workers from Vanuatu from busking at a Motueka farmers market.

Radio New Zealand's rurals reporter says their exceptional work ethic and down-to-earth attitudes make the Pacific Islands workers in the Recognised Seasonal Employment scheme an asset on orchards throughout the country.

Labour Party primary industry spokesperson Damien O'Connor says the buskers brought flavour and diversity to the market with their music.

"The employers were warned that it might put at risk their RSE status, so the employer warned the staff and the staff effectively stopped coming to the market".

"It's a real shame because a wonderful part of this RSE scheme is to enable locals to get to know people from other countries, the Pacific Islands in particular," Mr O'Connor said.

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said the workers are breaking employment rules, which must be strictly adhered to, and that they need to stick to planting, harvesting and packing crops.