PM on RSE scheme

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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Arden during an interview in Suva. Picture: RAMA

New Zealand is not looking to expand the scope of its Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme any time soon, says New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

In an interview with The Fiji Times yesterday, she said any view to expand the program would have to be done cautiously.

Ms Ardern said the Pacific was experiencing a rapid reopening and scaling up of tourism – a key sector for all island nations.

“And as the result of that, one of the concerns I’ve heard from the region is — unless we ensure we get the settings of our RSE program right, we run the risk of taking skills and labour out of the region at a critical time.”

She said the RSE scheme was designed to be beneficial to Fiji and New Zealand.

Ms Ardern said with Fiji rapidly scaling up tourism, it was important New Zealand did not “exacerbate any skills shortage that might exist So at the moment we are not looking to change numbers, we just want to make sure that we get that right, and that we do no harm through a program that’s designed to do good”.

When asked if New Zealand would consider opening up the program to sectors beyond horticulture, Ms Ardern said there were other avenues for skilled Fijians who were unable to land jobs.

“Where of course if there are qualified individuals in Fiji who are seeking work where we are seeking those skills, then it is easier to enter New Zealand now than it has been before.”

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