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Seasonal Work Policy Good News All Round - Peters

Seasonal Work Policy Good News All Round - Peters

The seasonal work policy announced today is good news for Pacific Island nations as well as for New Zealand employers short of workers, says Foreign Minister Winston Peters.

"Every effort will still be made to get New Zealanders into jobs first, but when Kiwis are not available, it makes sense to turn to the Pacific," Mr Peters said.

"The Pacific is the primary focus of the New Zealand's overseas development work, and offering Island nations first crack at seasonal labour opportunities will assist that development work in a number of ways.

"First and foremost it will help alleviate poverty directly by providing jobs for rural and outer island workers who often lack income-generating work. The earnings they send home will support families, help pay for education and health, and sometimes provide capital for those wanting to start small a business.

"New Zealand will be targeting rural unskilled and semi-skilled workers, so we won't be eroding the essential skill base of Island states. In fact the work experience gained here will assist workers who want to make the transition from subsistence farming to cash cropping.

"The fact that Pacific workers who comply with conditions, work well and are still needed will be able to return in successive seasons will make it worthwhile for employers to invest in greater skills training ? something that will benefit Island states when their workers return home.

"Pacific nations have been urging us for some time to offer greater access. They want a chance to sell their labour to us, just as we sell goods to them.

"We will now work closely with Pacific Island governments to ensure their people are 'work ready' before they arrive here; that opportunities for exploitation are limited, and that workers return home at the end of their contracts, as we are determined to avoid overstaying," Mr Peters said.

Ends

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