Tonga and NZ to mark beginning of seasonal workers' scheme on Friday

By Radio Tonga News
Apr 16, 2007, 13:51

A memorandum of understanding will be signed in Auckland this week between the governments of Tonga and NZ to start the seasonal workers scheme, an opportunity for the people of Tonga to work abroad.

Deputy secretary for the Labour division for the Ministry of Labour, Commerce and Industries, Sione Maumau says they are now processing data creating a database to compile names of people to take part in the scheme.

Sione says people who want to take part in the scheme will have to prove their status within their own community before they are considered to be in NZ.

The MOU will be singed this Friday, before farmers assigned by the government of NZ come to Tonga next week to interview those selected for the scheme.

Sione says the number of employees will depend on how many labourers are picked by the NZ farmers.

The first official group from Tonga under the NZ Seasonal Workers Scheme will start working on the 30 of this month.

Sione says they will visit the two Niuas, Lulunga and Mu'omu'a island groups after the first lot leaves for NZ.

© Copyright by Tonga-broadcasting.com


Date: 19 April 2007

Auckland 6am: The chairman of the Tongan Advisory Council says the new seasonal worker scheme may not be as great for Pacific people as it's being made out to be.

Melino Maka says he's not convinced yet that the scheme will do a lot of good for the Pacific community.

Maka met with officials from the Department of Labour at a fono on Tuesday, which was organised to shed more light on the scheme.

Maka says he's not impressed with things like Pacific workers having to pay the ACC levy and tax but not being entitled to medical care.(listen)

Some four thousand, five hundred Tongans have applied to work here for seven months annually in the horticulture and viticulture industries.

Maka told Pacific Radio News that based on the information he's been given, the scheme looks to favour New Zealand more than the Pacific. (listen)

Officials launch the new scheme, which sees nations Tonga, Samoa, Kiribati, Tuvalu and Vanuatu taking part, this Friday.

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