Abuse revelations leave no choice but to overhaul RSE scheme

The Green Party is calling on the Government to overhaul the Recognised Seasonal Employers scheme in the wake of revelations of shocking human rights violations. 

“The Recognised Seasonal Employers scheme needs an urgent overhaul so it can guarantee that people who come to Aotearoa to work temporarily are treated with fairness and compassion — no matter where they’re from,” says the Green Party’s spokesperson for Pacific Peoples, Teanau Tuiono. 

“The Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner, Saunoamaali'i Karanina Sumeo travelled to Blenheim last month to investigate the work and living conditions that Pacific people in Aotearoa were experiencing under the RSE scheme. 

“The abuse of Pacific migrant workers that she uncovered is an utter disgrace and an indictment of the RSE scheme. Migrant horticulture workers are being housed six people to a room, charged $150 a week to sleep in freezing and damp conditions which see them fall sick repeatedly, and then refused paid sick leave.

“The RSE scheme has been ripe for exploitation. The fact that this level of abuse can go on unnoticed to the people responsible for upholding minimum employment standards – the Labour Inspectorate and MBIE – would suggest they don’t even care.

“Saunoamaali'i Karanina Sumeo’s findings leave the Government with no other option but to radically reform the RSE scheme so that everyone is guaranteed a warm place to live, safe working conditions, and good pay. 

“We are part of a family of Pacific nations and our immigration settings must reflect that. This means building a relationship based on fairness and mutual wellbeing instead of what we see here, which is the colonial relationship of worker exploitation happening in real time,” says Teanau Tuiono.

The Green Party’s spokesperson for immigration Ricardo Menéndez March added:

“Pacific migrant workers deserve equitable pathways to residency and schemes that afford them the same rights as other migrants.

 “Migrants from the Pacific and elsewhere who come to New Zealand and care for our elderly, build our infrastructure and homes, and process our food deserve to be recognised and supported, not kicked out if their employers decide they’re no longer useful.

“But right now we know workers are being exploited, mistreated and underpaid. Visa schemes like it that tie workers to a single employer have only made this worse.

“Pacific RSE workers should have guaranteed access to the Pacific Access Visa and then to residency pathways for those wanting to stay and put down roots in Aotearoa,” says Ricardo Menéndez March. 

Latest Pacific Peoples Announcements

Story

Govt must grant visa waivers to all Pacific countries

The Green Party is once again calling on the Government to grant visa waivers to all Pacific countries. 
Read More

Story

Govt must extend Samoa visa changes to all Pacific countries

Thanks to Green Party pressure, visitors from Samoa can soon travel to Aotearoa without a visa – a right that should be extended to every Pacific c...
Read More

Story

Greens call on Govt to grant visa waiver status to all Pacific countries

The Green Party is calling on the Government to change visa settings to allow people visiting Aotearoa from the Pacific Islands to do so without ha...
Read More

Story

Indigenous self-determination key to unlocking better future

Data released today by the Human Rights Measurement Initiative shows why land must be returned to tangata whenua, the Green Party says. 
Read More

Story

RSE expansion stops short of what’s needed

Today’s expansion of the Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme (RSE) fails to guarantee Pacific people traveling to Aotearoa for work a warm place to...
Read More

Story

Serious questions for Govt to answer following decision to allow deep-sea mining

The Government has questions to answer following a recent decision by international regulators to give the green-light to a potentially destructive...
Read More

Latest Immigration Announcements

Story

Immigration changes a Green win

The Green Party is welcoming changes to the immigration system, but calls on the Government to offer equitable pathways to residency for workers no...
Read More

Story

Govt must grant visa waivers to all Pacific countries

The Green Party is once again calling on the Government to grant visa waivers to all Pacific countries. 
Read More

Story

Govt must extend Samoa visa changes to all Pacific countries

Thanks to Green Party pressure, visitors from Samoa can soon travel to Aotearoa without a visa – a right that should be extended to every Pacific c...
Read More

Story

Govt continuing to prioritise high income earners in immigration system

The resumption today of the parent visa category needs to be followed by an end to the Government’s unfair salary based family reunification policy.
Read More

Story

Unacceptable immigration policy makes income a barrier to families being together

It is unacceptable for the Government to prioritise family reunification for high income earners, while forcing those on lower incomes to stay apar...
Read More

Story

Immigration rules must focus on workers’ rights, not just cater to businesses’ needs

The Green Party welcomes the Government’s decision to remove specific qualification requirements to enable more skilled chefs to come to Aotearoa, ...
Read More