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RSE celebrates its tenth anniversary in Wellington


Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 06/07/2017


The Recognized Seasonal Employer Scheme RSE between NZ and the Pacific Islands celebrated its 10th anniversary in Wellington Monday July 3rd.


Present in the ceremony were New Zealand’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon Gerry Brownlee and Immigration Minister Hon Michael Woodhouse.


The CEO of  Internal Affairs – Ana Bing Fonua, currently in New Zealand for the ceremony says this has been a milestone for Tongan workers which not only help them financially but in other ways also.


The occasion also heard testimonies from employers on the program’s success in their lives.


Tonga has benefited through an annual average of TOP$12 million sent to Tonga through the fruit pickers’ income.


The farmers also explained how the past ten years makes it possible for their companies to gain profit and as a result they have increased the numbers of employees.


Mrs Fonua says at the beginning of the scheme only about 30 farmers participated, but has grown to over a hundred now.


The CEO says there are 37 hectares altogether with more than 5 million vines that are required to be picked.


The Scheme kicked off with only 3 permanent staff to 31 now with many from the region.


Most fruit pickers in NZ are Tongans and Ni Vanuatu.


Ana says Tongan Fruit pickers are being urged to make sure most of their income help develop the standard of living of their families in Tonga.


She adds that will be part of the review to be made to the Recognized Seasonal Employer scheme.


It will also include reviewing of selection criteria of fruit pickers.


Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 06/07/2017