5 Jun 2009

New Zealand opposition spots exploitation in RSE change

5:30 pm on 5 June 2009

An MP in the New Zealand opposition Labour Party says allowing deductions from the minimum wages paid to the Pacific workers under the Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme is shocking.

The government now requires employers to deduct health insurance from the wages of the RSE workers and for the first time is allowing deductions from the minimum wage rate of 12 dollars 50 New Zealand dollars.

The government says the move allows for greater transparency.

But MP, Darien Fenton, says the move exploits vulnerable workers.

"These workers are very vulnerable. They are brought in from the Pacific. It is an opportunity for them and their families. They come here they have English as a second language. They don't know the rules and regulations. They don't know their rights. They don't have any opportunity to negotiate with the employer and they don't have any choice who they are going to work for. That's why Labour brought in the protections that were there and if we are going to be paying them less than the minimum wage I just think that is outrageous, and it also impacts on the local economy and local workers' wages as well."

Darien Fenton