30 Oct 2010

Samoan PM urges NZ-bound workers to behave

8:01 am on 30 October 2010

Samoa's Prime Minister says bad and illegal behaviour is threatening the opportunity to find seasonal work in New Zealand.

Tuilaeapa Sailele Malielegaoi was speaking to the latest group of fruit pickers to go to New Zealand under the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme.

He warned the group against breaking employment contracts by returning home early, sexual misconduct, drunk behaviour and staying in New Zealand illegally once their visas had expired.

Tuilaeapa was also scathing of relatives in New Zealand who persuade seasonal workers not to return home and to stay illegally in order to exploit them, Radio New Zealand International reports.

He says workers should return home and apply properly for residency in New Zealand.

The Prime Minister appealed to the workers not to give the seasonal work scheme and Samoa a bad name, saying continuous problems could cause New Zealand to pull the plug.

The scheme reportedly earned the Samoa economy more than $US4 million last year.