Seasonal worker opportunities for PNG

PNG will need to work up alternative approaches if we want efficiency and speed in our systems and processes.

This is so that Papua New Guineans do not lose out in seasonal worker opportunities.

Minister for National Planning Richard Maru stated this after meeting with East Pack Limited, under New Zealand’s Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Scheme, to see how best it can expand the number of PNG seasonal workers in New Zealand.

Minister Maru highlighted some key issues regarding the seasonal workers scheme stating that compared to other Pacific Island countries that have more than a thousand seasonal workers, PNG has only 30 to 40 and this is due to the way we manage our own seasonal employees.

“Some of the behaviour of some of the previous workers who have gone to New Zealand had issues of discipline and drinking, which really has been a big setback for us.”

He said another key issue is the untimely manner that we have in organising for passports due to the lack of money in paying for fees.

Maru added that this alternative should be to outsource the administration of the entire RSE scheme so that we improve the efficiencies, the requirements and eliminate any possible corruption that may be occurring in the processing of workers.

“In other countries, the service to administer the process is outsourced to the private sector. No public servants are involved with the process and this is a big area that we have been missing out on,” said the Minister.

“This is also an area that we would like to understand better and we can improve to get more of our seasonal workers down to New Zealand.”

He adds that all of this has resulted in New Zealand’s capping of seasonal workers hence, limiting the number of Papua New Guineans that can participate in the scheme.

He said PNG intends to extend dialogue with the Government of New Zealand to see how best numbers can be expanded for PNG seasonal workers to go down to New Zealand to work.

(Minister Maru with RSE PNG workers)

Annette Kora