8th Annual Conference for New Zealand Recognised Seasonal Employment in Samoa

16th July 2015
Prime Minister Tuilaepa with Minister of Immigration and RSE Hon Woodhouse
The High Commissioner attended the 8th New Zealand-RSE Employers Conference which was held in Apia from 9-11 July 2015. The first time the annual meeting has been hosted outside of New Zealand. Opening the conference with a well-received address by Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sailele Malielegaoi who had extended the hosting invitation to the RSE Employers during last year's Conference in Wellington. Prime Minister Tuilaepa shared in his address that RSE Scheme will continue to provide a solid foundation for continuous development of a strong and productive relationship between the labour receiving countries and their respective horticultural industries, and the Pacific island sending countries and Government agencies. The Prime Minister also spoke of Samoa's experiences with the RSE Scheme. "With this Conference taking place in Samoa, this will provide you and the New Zealand Government the opportunity to view tangible examples of how our seasonal workers utilize their hard-earned income, to improve their lives and their communities through improved infrastructure such as schools and church facilities. From Samoa's perspective, the Scheme is an answer to the ills of labour shortage for your industries, while at the same time enabling Pacific workers to enter, work and earn in New Zealand." New Zealand's Minister of Immigration, Michael Woodhouse, also addressed the conference and touched on the financial gains of the workers as a result of the employment programme. Forty-five million from RSE Workers have made it back home to the islands. Other Important developments in the last year include an increase from 8000 to 9000 for the cap on workers as well as the landmark inclusion of Fiji following democratic elections. The invaluable role by countries such as Samoa to the continued success of the employment programme is important to note, Mr Woodhouse also noted that there are greater numbers of workers returning to New Zealand each season, and highlighted an Employers Survey that showed almost all RSE Employers believed that the benefits of the Scheme far outweighed the costs. The NZ-RSE Employers Conference, attended by close to 200 participants, was held at the TATTE Convention Centre at Sogi, with the programme including a special day dedicated to visiting rural communities in Aleipata, Falealili, Lefaga and communities in Savaii.