NZ seasonal workers

Pacific politician says National's new RSE policy could double exploitation issue

Ex-Hastings District councilor Peleti Oli-Alainu’uese says the Regional Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme is creating a form of “modern-day slavery” and any policy changes need to focus on improving working conditions. 

“We need to address the treatment of our workers, before we look at increasing the numbers, otherwise we’re just doubling the problem,” he says. 

“A lot is happening within this sector but RSE workers can’t really raise issues because they will be threatened to be sent back home to the islands - so it’s a real sticky situation."

NZ jobs vital for evacuated seasonal workers on Vanuatu's Ambae island

More than 11,000 people were being moved to the islands of Pentecost, Maewo and Santo when eruption of the Manaro Voui volcano was at its height.

Robin Tuku represents some 50 seasonal workers from the western side of Ambae who've financed homes, small businesses and community projects with their New Zealand earnings.

He said their families could be away from the island for up to a year and the workers wanted to return to New Zealand so they could defray the extra expenses involved with the evacuation.