NZ Tongan community leader calls for review of RSE process

Chair of NZ's Tonga Advisory Council, Melino Maka Photo:

AUCKLAND, New Zealand-April 21: 2:28pm(RNZI): Two more Tongan labourers have absconded from their New Zealand workplaces, triggering calls for a review of the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme.

Over a dozen workers have fled from work recently with the latest two disappeared this week along with a company vehicle before being discovered in Auckland and sent home.

In February Tonga’s government ordered eight workers to return home after they contravened their contracts by consuming alcohol and misbehaving.

The Chair of the Tongan Advisory Council, Melino Maka said there needed to be better vetting of potential RSE workers.

“There must be a gap in terms of how they’ve been vetted and also the relationship between those who provide pastoral care here and the workers,” Mr Maka said.

“If this is going to be a pattern, that you can bring here to work and they use the opportunity to walk away from this scheme, you need to have a look at the process.”

Earlier this month Tonga’s Prime Minister ‘Akilisi Pohiva visited RSE employers to discuss the ongoing issues.

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