20 Jul 2012

Chinese labourers in Vanuatu irk unemployed locals

1:30 pm on 20 July 2012

A Vanuatu journalist says Chinese labourers and retail workers are coming into the country under a government scheme to attract investors but are taking labouring jobs that could be done by Ni-Vanuatu.

Bob Makin says it's not a healthy way for Vanuatu to go and he says the burning down of Chinatown in Honiara and riot damage in Nuku'alofa are evidence of what can happen when people suddenly become aware of what Chinese immigration can mean.

He says there are many unemployed locals from outer islands living in Port Vila looking for work and they feel it's unfair when they see Chinese labourers coming straight into jobs.

"I photographed the labourers on a lorry, there must have been about 20 or 30 people sitting on boxes on the back. These are not investors no matter how one looks at it, an investor is not what you would call somebody who pushes a wheelbarrow full of cement up a plank to the top floor a of a building, is it? Not really. It's hard to justify."

Vanuatu journalist, Bob Makin.