Seasonal Worker Pilot Next Year

The pilot programme of recognised seasonal worker scheme will kick off from 2015 says New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully to the Fiji Sun yesterday. This was after a historic
23 Aug 2014 17:50
Seasonal Worker Pilot Next Year
Mont-de-Marsan winger, Wame Natuvi.

The pilot programme of recognised seasonal worker scheme will kick off from 2015 says New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully to the Fiji Sun yesterday. This was after a historic meeting with his Fijian counterpart Ratu Inoke Kubuabola.

“We have had very positive and very constructive talks this afternoon. The significance of this occasion should not be underestimated. In our last bilateral meeting we set ourselves the target of resuming normal foreign policy discussions between our two countries before the elections of both countries and I am very pleased that we have been able to do so,” Mr McCully said.

“This sets a new chapter between Fiji and New Zealand, one that sets us up well for normal business to be resumed immediately after the elections in both countries.

“There were a range of discussions we have had today and in previous meetings. Some of them are under the development co-operation area, where New Zealand has the opportunity to share some skills in areas like agriculture, but there are other areas where we have been able to get to the point of focusing on Fiji rejoining programmes like the recognised seasonal employers scheme. We have our officials working on that.

“We are planning for Fiji to come into this scheme next year with a pilot programme. This is not something that you can turn on overnight.

“What’s important is that on one side there is good preparations made for those who would be introduced into the scheme and on the other hand, the employers who drive the scheme need to be introduced to the opportunities and given confidence about their ability to deliver.

“We want very good pilots to take place in 2015 and we see Fiji’s role expanding after that. New Zealand recently announced that we have increased the number of places in the scheme and Fiji could come in together with other Pacific Island countries.

“While this is the first formal discussions I have had with my Fijian counterpart for some time, we have had a lot to do with each other over recent years and the relationship has always been very professional and very respectful. When there have been disagreements, I think we have tried to manage those respectfully and professionally. I am very pleased to see the progress Fiji has made towards elections. We wish the people of Fiji well.”

Mr McCully said discussions took place because the progress Fiji has been making towards September 17.

“We have skin in the game as they say as we have had senior people from our elections office in New Zealand involved in supporting your programme here; it’s a contribution that we have been very pleased to make,” he said.

“We are supporting programmes in terms of rebuilding capacity in Parliament after the elections, so we are obviously interested in hearing about the progress and we are looking at ways in which we can fine tune the contribution to ensure things move well here.

“I am very pleased with the reports that we have been receiving and we look forward to elections here on September 17. We, of course, have elections three days later.”

Mr McCully said New Zealand’s decision not to be very much involved in the multi-national observer group on their mission to Fiji was because of its own general elections coming up.

“I have said from the outset that New Zealand will have a limited role in this process, having proximity of elections in our own country but we are pleased to have been represented in that process,” he said.

“We are happy to be part of the process led by other countries.”

Mr McCully flies out of Fiji today.


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