NZ commits to being a ‘good host’

New Zealand’s Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta at the Koroipita Charitable Trust Homes in Lautoka on Thursday. She says New Zealand has every intention of being a good host to Pacifi c island workers. Picture: SUPPLIED

THE New Zealand Government is committed to ensuring that Pacific island workers engaged in its labour mobility scheme are looked after by their employers.

Highlighting NZ’s Recognised Seasonal Employer program at a press conference in Nadi yesterday, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta said they wanted to be “a good host country”.

“We will do the best that we can because we have a capped RSE program unlike other countries,” she said.

“We want to ensure that as we bring workers from the Pacific to New Zealand that our responsibilities and that of our employers to look after workers while they are in New Zealand is a part of our commitment to be a good host country.”

She said their RSE program was a real opportunity for Pacific islanders. “What we see as a real opportunity is the way in which New Zealand opens its doors to seasonal employment for Pacific workers to come to New Zealand for a period of time in particular sectors.

“Horticulture in particular is where there is interest and then they are able to bring the benefits of that work period through revenue and their wages that they have earned back home.”

She added that while the scheme held benefits, they also recognised existing labour challenges regional countries faced.

“We recognise that it is a really challenging time especially given COVID and given that there are labour market challenges within and across the Pacific which is very different.”

Meanwhile, Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Sitiveni Rabuka said Fiji was fortunate to be part of the RSE initiative. “I am grateful for the opportunity that we have for our young people to come and work in the Labour Mobility Scheme with both Australia and New Zealand.”

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