POLITICS

Minister visits RSE workers in Marlborough region

Wednesday 19 December 2007, 9:04PM
By Hon Luamanuvao Winnie Laban
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MARLBOROUGH

The RSE policy is the government's response to the labour crisis in the horticulture and viticulture industries.

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Associate Minister of Immigration Shane Jones is in the Marlborough-Nelson region today to find out first hand from industry and Pacific representatives, how the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) policy is rolling out.

The RSE policy is the government's response to the labour crisis in the horticulture and viticulture industries. It allows workers from overseas to come to New Zealand on a temporary basis to fill seasonal labour shortages, providing there are no New Zealanders available for these positions.

"I have come here today, keen to listen to what the issues are, find remedies and focus on the practicalities. Marlborough-Nelson's horticulture and viticulture sector has an annual requirement of more than 7000 seasonal workers and we need to ensure that this scheme is working so a sustainable work force is developed."

"Early feedback from viticulture contractors and representatives in Marlborough is that the scheme is providing a stable workforce that can be up-skilled overtime by getting the same workers back each season, unlike holiday makers who come for three days and leave on the next warm current," Jones said.

Pacific Island Affairs Minister Luamanuvao Winnie Laban, who encouraged today's visit, said this is an important scheme for employers and our Pacific neighbours.

"It is vital that Immigration New Zealand and the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs work together to facilitate involvement and support with New Zealand based Pacific families and communities.

"This link acknowledges the context and culture of where the majority of RSE workers come from. Pastoral care is essential to the success of the scheme," said Laban.

To date over 700 Pacific workers have already been granted work visas under this policy.

Jones and Laban intend to visit RSE workers in the Hawkes Bay region next year.