13 Jun 2006

New Zealand Foreign minister says temporary work schemes under consideration

3:31 pm on 13 June 2006

The New Zealand Foreign Minister, Winston Peters, says consideration is currently being given to ways in which temporary work schemes for Pacific Islanders could be revived.

Pacific island governments have been pushing for labour mobility and access to Australia and New Zealand for seasonal or temporary workers.

Australia has consistently stated that it would not consider this but Mr Peters says New Zealand is taking a different stance.

He says the difficulty is being able to ensure that people return home.

"We need to work with the various Forum countries to see how we can make it work for both the island of origin and for New Zealand. And, in doing that, make arrangements that have integrity and do work. We've had some classic examples in recent times - best evidenced by the Tongan rugby team who came and no-one left."

Mr Peters says he hopes that progress will have been made on the issue by the time the Pacific Island Forum is held in October.