Pacific RSE Plan Should Have Come Sooner
The Government’s plan to allow one-way quarantine-free travel for Recognised Seasonal Employer workers from Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu is the right one but should have come much sooner, says Leader of the Opposition and National’s Pacific Peoples spokesperson Judith Collins.
“We called for a move like this back in March to allow workers from Samoa, Tonga and Fiji to New Zealand for work in our staff-stretched agricultural sector. At the time, Fiji, like Tonga and Samoa, had never had a community case of Covid-19. But, given the current outbreak in Fiji, bringing Vanuatu onboard makes sense.
“It’s a good move but it should’ve happened much, much sooner. Our agricultural sector has been crying out for workers for a long time now, and they’ve paid a heavy price for the Government’s inaction.
“The question now is, if we can bring in RSE workers without them having to undergo quarantine once they enter New Zealand, why can’t we prioritise other people from these three countries for quarantine-free travel?
“Many people in our Pacific communities have loved ones they haven’t seen in more than 18 months now. It’s time to let them reconnect and share important life moments together.”