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'Acting for change’

19 July 2022

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National

LETTERS: ‘NZ stealing our workers’

Tuesday 19 April 2022 | Written by Supplied | Published in Opinion

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LETTERS: ‘NZ stealing our workers’

Dear Editor, Jacinda Ardern and her Government really have something to answer for over the way they have robbed Cook Islands businesses of most of their Filipino workers and also a lot of their Fijian workers.

The time and effort and money that goes into employing these workers by Cook Islands businesses was ignored because of what the NZ Government perceived as NZ’s more urgent need for these workers.

NZ changed their Immigration laws to allow these workers a fast track to gain NZ permanent residency ... this is like the holy grail to most of these workers so they took up this opportunity with both hands, and I can’t blame them. They left the Cook Islands in large numbers resulting in chaos for the Cook Islands businesses who were losing these workers.

The problem was compounded by a Cook Island recruitment man who came up here and advertised for workers for NZ based on the fuzzy logic that he was doing this “to help Cook Islanders”. Really? Perhaps he should talk to Elena Tavioni who had to temporarily close down the manufacturing side of her business because of the mass exodus at short notice of her factory staff. This is just one example of the many businesses that were also similarly affected.

Most of these workers that left were reasonably well paid and well treated certainly as far as the agreed terms of their contracts were concerned and this was acknowledged by most of the workers that were leaving but the offer of a fast track to NZ residency was too good to miss out on.

The NZ Government was made clearly aware of the chaos they were creating to Cook Islands businesses but they continued down this track and still continue down this track.

Why didn’t NZ business owners do the same as us and go to the Philippines and Fiji to employ their own workers instead of stealing our staff.

Our workers were offered to NZ businesses on a plate. They were all double vaccinated at our expense, all the Health and Police checks were completed meaning that with very little delay these workers could jump on a plane and fly down to their new jobs at a very much reduced airfare for their new employers.

This all happened regardless of the contracts that these workers had originally signed with their Cook Islands employers. These contracts now meant nothing because of “human rights”.

Imagine the uproar that would be created if Cook Islands business owners gave their expat workers a month’s notice that they were being replaced by cheaper labour from another country and this was being promoted by a recruitment officer who was doing it “for the benefit if Cook Islands employers”.

I don’t blame the workers who have taken up this offer but I do blame the Ardern Government for the reasons outlined above.

Don Carlaw


Covid answers

Covid-19 specialist, Dr. PM Mark Brown, I need answers!  

As the ad hoc Minister of Health, you are due for another media release to clear up confusion. My family and I and all my neighbours were told by your Ministry of Health staff that according to TMO protocol, if I’m infected with Covid, I cannot get reinfected until 3 - 6 months have passed. 

Is it 3 or 6 months? In your professional medical opinion, tell us with some certainty, is it 3 or 6 months when you can get reinfected. I have places to go, people to see, things to do so hurry up with your release already.

Iriti Maoate


Reply – With regard to the letter from Iriti Maoate; I’m afraid I don’t have a crystal ball, and neither does anyone else I know – to be able to assist with travel plans.

What I can say is that according to the credible scientific research around Covid-19 infections – while it is possible to be reinfected at any time – it is unusual for it to happen in under three months; but it does happen.

Research carried out in Denmark by the Statens Serum Institute showed that of about two million people recently infected, many of them by the highly transmissable BA.2 sub variant, 187 were reinfected between 20 and 60 days; 47 of them were originally infected by the BA.1 variant. Most of those cases were young unvaccinated people who experienced mild symptoms.

The research studied infections reported between 21 November last year and 22 February this year; and focussed on patients who tested positive twice between 20 and 60 days apart.

Conclusion: There is evidence that Omicron can reinfect people, but it is safer to say that there is no definite time frame that you are safe from reinfection. It might depend on your vaccination status and your health.

Dr Yin Yin May

Te Marae Ora