17th November 2023 Opinion / RSE
The horticulture and viticulture industries want more Recognised Seasonal Employer workers but it is taking a toll on the Pacific Islands, write Massey University researchers.
The government has extended of the number of workers allowed into New Zealand under the Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme.
Three people have been found guilty of exploiting migrants under the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme in a decision that was handed down in the Hamilton District Court on 17 February.
Migrant wellbeing needs to be at centre of all discussions on the Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme, according to the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions which has met with the Immigration Minister Michael Wood to convey “deep concerns” with the existing scheme.
Stakeholders from the horticulture, wine and business sectors have welcomed the government’s decision to increase the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme by 3,000 places for the coming season.
Seeka says it will build new Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) accommodation housing 140 people in Katikati, near Tauranga.
Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood has confirmed the government will do a full review of the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme early next year.
The Green Party is calling on the government to overhaul the Recognised Seasonal Employers scheme in the wake of revelations of human rights violations.
The government’s extended the cap on RSE workers for this season but warned there might be hurdles in getting enough people here to finish picking.
The horticulture and wine grape industries have welcomed the evolution of quarantine-free travel following a trial for Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme workers from the Pacific.
One-way, quarantine-free travel for Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers from Vanuatu will be allowed from 4 October, says the government.
The details are yet to be finalised but government confirmation that quarantine-free travel will commence in October for workers from Vanuatu, Tonga and Samoa has provided a boost to growers.
But there are concerns over the costs of the scheme for employers.
The workers will be placed at orchards and vineyards in Hawke’s Bay, Canterbury and the upper South Island.
Horticulture and wine growers across the country will see labour shortages ease.
In a blow to the horticulture sector, the PM says this year’s seasonal labour shortage will not be solved before Christmas.