More Top Stories

Crime
Sports
Court

Alleged rapist in remand

27 April 2024

National
Rugby league

Moana target 2025 World Cup

11 November 2022

Samoa PM looks to ‘raise the quality’ of RSE programme

Thursday 16 June 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in Regional, Samoa

Share

Samoa PM looks to ‘raise the quality’ of RSE programme
Samoa's Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa at an address to horticulture industry leaders in Hawke's Bay today. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

The Prime Minister of Samoa has confirmed her government is looking at halting the open recruitment process for RSE workers.

In her address to horticulture industry leaders in Hawke's Bay on Thursday, Fiame Naomi Mata'afa made it clear that Samoa's government wants to strengthen the RSE scheme, not stop it.

She said this is why there is a review into the recruitment process.

Having arrangements with villages or organisations may be the way to go, Fiame said.

"When groups travel and they come from the same village there is a greater level of success because there are built in controls and support systems," Fiame said.

Fiame said that is just an example of how the government is looking at how to, "improve engagement on both sides".

She also highlighted concerns around labour mobility at the function.

Mr Apple labour manager Alistair Jamieson was there, he said he will support the changes if they go ahead.

His team, along with many other orchards have had the likes of teachers, police and even medical professionals from Samoa participating in the RSE Scheme.

Jamieson said the RSE scheme was always supposed to be focused on participants from Samoa's rural sector, not workers trained in other professions.

"We are not in the game of taking away their highly skilled people. We believe the economy of Samoa needs these people back in Samoa and we don't want to be seen as cutting across that," he said.

Samoa's Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa at an address to horticulture industry leaders in Hawke's Bay on 16 June 2022.
Samoa's Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa at an address to horticulture industry leaders in Hawke's Bay today. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

Fiame said arrangements with villages or organisations could be the way to go.

"Samoa is a small country and labor mobility is important in terms of us having access to work here but we also have to keep the balance so that the workforce is also in a good place back at home", Fiame said.

The Samoan government is reviewing recruitment processes and has not finalised any changes just yet.

Samoa's Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Labour chief executive Pulotu Lyndon Chu Ling, speaking from Samoa said, "the review has started and the public will be notified when it has been completed".

"There was one flight to New Zealand last month and there will be one flight this month to New Zealand and one to Australia. So it is still progressing, not stopping but slowing down to one flight a month," he said.

He said the issues cropping up in Australia and New Zealand were the same, including drinking alcohol.

"It's the same situation, same problems, same benefits, there will always be challenges especially when people leave home for the very first time, but not all of them. They come home to build up their communities," he said.

Samoa's Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa at an address to horticulture industry leaders in Hawke's Bay on 16 June 2022.
Samoa's Prime Minister Fiame Naomi Mata'afa at an address to horticulture industry leaders in Hawke's Bay today. Photo: RNZ / Angus Dreaver

Fiame has thanked New Zealand's employers for supporting workers throughout Covid-19 and acknowledged the tough time Samoan RSE workers have had throughout the pandemic.

"I'd like to take the opportunity to thank you as employers. I appreciate the efforts that have been made for repatriation," Fiame said.

"I'd like to assure you that our new administration is keen to raise the quality of the programme, to meet our respective needs" she said.