5 Aug 2009

New Zealand to provide education courses for Pacific RSE workers

3:23 pm on 5 August 2009

The New Zealand Prime Minister, John Key, has signalled his Government is to trial education courses for workers brought to New Zealand under the Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme.

The widely praised labour mobility scheme is now bringing more than five thousand workers into the country for up to nine months at a time, with substantial economic benefits for the island countries.

Mr Key says New Zealand wants to play a greater role and will set up special education courses on a trial basis.

"Literacy and numeracy courses and financial management courses. It will cost New Zealand about half a million dollars to trial that for about 300 people in the Hawke's Bay, but it's our desire, if that trial is successful, and we are very hopeful it will be, to expand that programme so that those people that come from the Pacific to work in New Zealand, not only get money but actually get improved education standards."

Mr Key says there are no immediate plans to extend the RSE beyond horticulture at this point, despite a request for such a move made at the meeting of the region's small island states on Tuesday.