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 live, safe working conditions, and good pay.

“No matter where you are from, or why you travel to Aotearoa for work, the Government should ensure everyone who comes here is paid properly, treated fairly and has a safe place to live,” says the Green Party’s spokesperson for Pacific Peoples, Teanau Tuiono. 

“The new responsibilities the Government is putting on employers do not go anywhere near far enough to end the exploitation of Pacific peoples who travel to Aotearoa for work.

“Previous Governments have designed the RSE scheme to be exploitative. The rules put in place - and left unchanged by the current Government do not guarantee people the same conditions as local workers and other migrant workers.

“Only this morning we heard another story about the exploitation of Pacific peoples traveling to Rotorua for work. These stories are shocking and are exactly why we need more than small tweaks. 

“What we’re talking about here are the people who come to New Zealand from their homes in the Pacific and elsewhere - often leaving their families behind for months on end. We need to treat them with respect. 

“Pacific workers deserve access to residency pathways, fair wages, housing and access to essential services,” says Teanau Tuiono. 

Ricardo Menéndez March, the Green Party’s spokesperson for immigration added: “For too long successive Governments have treated Pacific workers as disposable labour to meet the demands of industry. 

“This is why the RSE scheme needs to be replaced with a system that guarantees equitable rights, decent living conditions and pathways to residency. 

“The Government’s forthcoming review is another attempt to kick the can down the road. Migrant workers should be granted decent working conditions today.

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