Ten out of 1800 Samoa RSE workers returned home over the past 12 months

Samoan Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi. Picture: RNZ

APIA, 30 JUNE 2019 (SAMOA GLOBAL) – Ten Samoan seasonal workers were suspended for various reasons over the past 12 months, out of the 1800 Samoan currently employed in New Zealand under the scheme.

Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi has warned Recognised Seasonal Employees (RSEs) against irresponsible behaviour that may affect the chances of the two thousand Samoans currently on a waitlist for the scheme.

A report sent by the Trade Commissioner Magele Mauiliu Magele names 10 RSE workers suspended for various behaviours including theft as a servant, bullying as a team leader, distractions due to extra marital affairs, as well as marijuana and alcohol induced misdemeanors.

According to Samoa’s New Zealand based Regional Seasonal Employer Coordinator Lemalu Nele Leilua, 10 workers were suspended over a period of several months, and the list is part of her annual reporting to update Government officials.

Lemalu coordinates and manages more than 1,800 RSE workers across New Zealand and says these incidents are not common but do come up from time and affects all Pacific Islands with workers under the scheme.

She confirmed that the most recent offenders were the two “newbies” from Moataa who had been caught smoking marijuana in an orchard during work hours, resulting in their contracts being suspended by their employer.

Tuilaepa spoke strongly about the impacts of the workers’ misbehaviour on the scheme as a whole, calling on village councils to act against the suspended individuals, and adding that naming them would make a public example out of the offenders.

According to the Prime Minister, bans on these individuals’ villages should be imposed if Village Councils do not act against the suspended RSEs.

There are more than 1,800 RSE workers currently in New Zealand under the scheme and the village of Poutasi Falealili has been notable in its successful coordination of workers.

The publicised list includes three men from Poutasi who had been suspended several months ago.

Tuatagaloa Joe Annandale of the Poutasi Trust says the incident occurred several months ago and the village council did play their part at the time to punish those involved as a deterrent measure.

“I can confirm that three men from our programme were sent home earlier this year for misdemeanors;

“They have been dealt with by their respective villages and will also be stood down for up to two years,” said Tuatagaloa.

Former Police Commissioner Asi Tuitaga Blakelock shed tears on national television as he spoke of how deeply saddened he was by the actions of the two men from his village of Moataa.

“This is a sad day for our village to be implicated by the actions of these two individuals,” he said in an interview aired on TV1 Samoa.

Asi also confirmed that the usual village disciplinary actions would be taken against the

The Prime Minister issued a statement to confirm the suspension of the named workers and their villages until further notice.

“As of today, the expelled workers and their respective villages are blacklisted from participating in the RSE programmes until further notice,” said the Prime Minister.

There are 1,800 Samoans working in the RSE Scheme in New Zealand and the village of Poutasi Falealili has been one of the success stories in the past.

He added that village councils of the workers who are being name should look into heavy punishments towards these individuals.

According to the Prime Minister, bans on these individuals’ villages should be imposed if they do not take deterrent measures on suspended RSEs.

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