3 Apr 2017

More NZ concerns over drunk Tonga RSE workers

1:52 pm on 3 April 2017

The owner of Gala Berry Farm in Warkworth in New Zealand's north is looking at ways to overcome heavy drinking among some of the farm's Tongan seasonal workers.

The Ministerium Forum on Alcohol Marketing and Sponsorship is due to report back on 1 October.


The strawberry farm each year employs about 90 Tongan workers under New Zealand's Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme.

Lynda Ashby was in Nuku'alofa last week and said the majority of the Tongans were hard working but a few are damaging the country's reputation due to their heavy consumption of alcohol.

Radio Tonga quoted her saying the alcohol use had led to brawls.

Ms Ashby said if the problem was not solved the farm might look for another country in the Pacific to supply its workers.

The Tonga government's official policy is that Tongans are not to drink during their spells as seasonal workers.

In February, the Tonga government ordered eight workers to return home after they had contravened their contracts, including by consuming alcohol.

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