26 Jun 2009

RSE scheme may contribute to urban drift in Pacific

9:35 am on 26 June 2009

New Zealand's Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme may be contributing to a drift from the villages to the cities in some Pacific countries.

The issue was raised at a conference on the vulnerability and resilience of small island states that's just been held in Port Vila.

Henry Vira, from the Vanuatu NGO-umbrella group VANGO says from his observation about 80 to 90 percent of people from rural communities who go to work in New Zealand under the scheme remain in Port Vila when they return.

He says that's a big loss to the villages

"A lot of communities are very small and as it is at the moment even without that scheme in place when you around in a lot of rural communities you find old men and old women and children. The big strong people are not there. That adds to the burden of having to manage a family without those strong enough to be around to help out."

Henry Vira says people do send remittances to their families but the money does not appear to last long.