7 Mar 2005

NZ priest says Solomon Islanders should be used for NZ fruit harvest

8:41 am on 7 March 2005

A New Zealand Catholic priest says New Zealand could help the peace process in Solomon Islands by offering unemployed youth there seasonal work opportunities in this country.

Father John Craddock, a Marist priest who taught at high school level in the Solomons for ten years, says the school leavers there are English speakers and quick learners who work well in groups.

He says New Zealand doesn't need to go further afield to find seasonal labour and could fly in Solomon Islands youth for the fruit harvest.

Father Craddock says it would have a number of benefits, not least helping the restoration of peace.

"While RAMSI has been very positive and successful in establishing order, I think there's a requirement for other expressions of help and I thought our need is there - it's not as if we are creating a need for them - the need is there in our industries and therefore we could assist that way."