7 Jul 2016

NZ RSE extension only includes Kiribati and Tuvalu

12:46 pm on 7 July 2016

New Zealand is not likely to be calling on more Pacific island countries to provide labour for its fishing fleet, other than Tuvalu and Kiribati.

RSE worker offloads apples into a crate in a Hawke's Bay orchard.

RSE worker offloads apples into a crate in a Hawke's Bay orchard. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades

A pilot project extending the Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme recruits trained fishermen from Tuvalu and Kiribati to work on New Zealand's fishing boats.

New Zealand's Economic Ambassador to the region Shane Jones said graduates were being recruited from the Kiribati Maritime College.

Mr Jones said, despite wider interest, the project was not likely to be extended to other countries.

"The moment that many of the other Pacific leaders heard about the pilot, they immediately put their hands up as well. But I have pointed out to them, the focus is on dealing with the graduates of these maritime colleges which do consume an important part of our international aid budget," Shane Jones said.

One of the countries that says it is keen to contribute to New Zealand's fisheries sector is Vanuatu.

Its Director of Fisheries Kalo Paloa, said his government was planning to establish a training programme to help workers meet the requirements for recruitment into the sector.

"The government would like to open up employment opportunities to assist with the increasing unemployment in our young population. So in the next one and half years we are thinking of having all our systems in place to start producing qualified seafarers," Kalo Pakoa said.

A man from Vanuatu works in a Hawke's Bay orchard under the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme.

A man from Vanuatu works in a Hawke's Bay orchard under the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme. Photo: RNZI / Johnny Blades