The Green Party says the Government is right to carry out a full review of the Recognised Seasonal Employers (RSE) scheme - but says the review should start right now.
“An overhaul of the RSE scheme is something the Greens called for in the wake of recent revelations about the shocking conditions some people are forced to work and live in.
“This is good step forward but why wait until next year? Let’s get on and review the scheme right now,” says the Green Party’s spokesperson for Pacific Peoples, Teanau Tuiono.
“Over the last couple of weeks we’ve seen some of the abuse Pacific migrant workers experience at the hands of their employers.
“We have also seen how those responsible for looking after these people by upholding minimum employment standards – the Labour Inspectorate and MBIE - seemingly look the other way as conditions get worse and worse.
“The Government’s review is an opportunity to put this right. But the Greens want the Government to get started as soon as possible, rather than waiting until next year.
“The review will take time so we also call on the Government to make immediate changes before the summer, including more resources for labour Inspectors, or an audit of RSE registered employers.
“Thousands of people from the Pacific and elsewhere will come to New Zealand and care for our elderly, build our infrastructure and homes, and process our food.
“They deserve to know that the Government is acting as quickly as it possibly can to make sure they are treated with fairness and compassion — no matter where they’re from,” Teanau Tuiono says.
The Green Party’s spokesperson for immigration Ricardo Menéndez March added:
“The Green Party urges the Government to publish the details of its RSE review as soon as possible.
“The Greens will be pushing Labour Ministers hard to make sure the review leads to a radical reform of the RSE scheme so that everyone is guaranteed a warm place to live, safe working conditions, and good pay.
“We also want to see Pacific RSE workers given 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.