Working to support Vanuatuans in Central Otago

Waitaki news
Friday, March 20, 2015

Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean said she was working to ensure Vanuatuan orchard workers in Central Otago received the support and assistance that they needed in the wake of cyclone Pam.

"I understand there’re over 400 Vanuatuan orchard workers around Central Otago, through the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme (RSE), many whose families and homes have been devastated by this terrible cyclone.

“The RSE scheme is a valuable contributor to both the Central Otago and the Vanuatu economies, so supporting these workers in whatever way we can is crucial for everyone concerned.

“The Central Otago District Council and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade have been working to provide support to these workers, some who want to return home.

“For others it’s about earning money in New Zealand to help their families rebuild back home, with visa extensions for some a possible option that could be investigated.

“Another suggestion is an increase the number of Vanuatuan workers who come to this country next year, once again to allow them to earn valuable funds for the rebuild back home, although the RSE cap was already increased from 8000 to 9000 late last year.”

Mrs Dean said she also understood Seasonal Solutions, an employment support group in Central Otago, had established a fund to support the people of Vanuatu.

“I also know many of the local orchardists are supporting their Vanuatuan staff at this time and I would encourage the people of Central Otago to continue with their good work in assisting those affected by this terrible tragedy.”