Roughly 150 more Samoan seasonal workers en route to New Zealand

Around 150 seasonal workers are on their way to New Zealand from Samoa as part of the Government’s plan to aid the horticulture industry hit hard by Covid-19.

Air New Zealand flight NZ993 departing from Apia, Samoa carrying around 150 seasonal workers. Source: Supplied

Last November, the Government loosened border restrictions for employers in the sector by allowing an additional 2000 experienced pickers to be brought in from the Pacific.

Today’s Air New Zealand flight from Apia is the last of five that’ve helped to bring in over 700 workers from the island’s capital under the Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) programme.

Air New Zealand country manager for Samoa Karen Gatt says the airline’s proud of how smoothly the programme has gone by helping to transport much-needed seasonal workers.

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Seeka’s Michael Franks says he’d take 60 per cent of whole 2000 workers being brought in from the Pacific. Source: 1 NEWS

The arrangement’s expected to bring in between 7000 and 8000 RSE workers into the country, well down from the usual yearly quota of 10,500.

New Zealand High Commissioner to Samoa Trevor Matheson labelled the joint effort over the past six weeks a “smooth and successful operation”.

“Despite the challenges of working through a pandemic and the associated travel and MIQ restrictions we need to consider, the joint effort of all parties involved made this a smooth and successful operation.”

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The workers will come from the Pacific, and their employers will have to pay them at least $22.10 an hour. Source: Breakfast

Under the scheme, employers will be expected to pay the workers at least $22.10 an hour as well as cover the cost of managed isolation.

They’ll be paid the equivalent of a 30-hour work week while completing their 14-day stay.