Tonga

Pandemic presents big challenges for Pacific seasonal workers

New Zealand has a new one-way travel bubble with Pacific island countries such as Samoa, Vanuatu and Tonga.

Vaccinated RSE workers from these countries can come to New Zealand without self-isolating or taking Covid-19 tests on arrival, after the one-way quarantine-free travel took effect last week.

Up to 5,000 workers are needed across the horticulture and viticulture industries during peak summer season in December and January.

The usual supply of backpackers to New Zealand's recognised seasonal workers scheme remains cut off due to Covid-19 border restrictions.

Calls for a crackdown on labour hire companies 'poaching' Pacific workers

In the last 18 months, around 12,000 workers have come into Australia from countries such as Vanuatu and Samoa.

But how many have stayed in the jobs, they were contracted to do?

ABC Rural has been told more than 1,000 of these workers have absconded, with many poached by labour hire companies that are not licensed to do so.

What's going wrong?

Speaking to RN, Richard Shannon from Growcom said across Australia, farmers were reporting seasonal workers suddenly leaving their jobs.

Farrell tests positive for Covid

The RFU said Farrell would miss Saturday's training after returning a positive PCR test and would remain in isolation and would be lateral flow and PCR tested again on Saturday. All other player and staff PCR test results received were negative.

Farrell had been due to start at flyhalf but his likely absence means a probable start for Marcus Smith, who was named among the replacements after missing parts of training this week with a leg injury.

Bookings trickle in for quarantine-free flights from Samoa, Tonga, Tokelau, Vanuatu

One-way travel with low-risk Pacific countries resumes on November 8 from the three islands and Tokelau, Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins announced last week.

Travellers from those nations will be able to bypass spending 14 days at a managed isolation and quarantine facility.

All travellers, New Zealand citizens, and NZ resident or visa critical purpose visa holders, would need to have stayed 14 days in their countries before departure and aren’t required to provide a pre-departure test.

They must be fully vaccinated, unless they are New Zealand citizens.

Sending money home to the Pacific more often

In July 2021, ANZ customers in Australia and New Zealand sent 11,668 International Money Transfers to family and friends in the Pacific, worth AUD$ $13.1m (US$9.6 million), a 21 percent increase in volume when compared to the same period last year.

“In the Pacific, international money transfers - also known as remittances - are about more than money: they are about family, safety, culture, and community,” ANZ Regional Executive, Pacific, Tessa Price said.

Ardern announces RSE workers allowed one-way quarantine-free travel

In a post-Cabinet media briefing Monday afternoon, Ardern announced Cabinet had made the decision to allow Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) workers from those countries to travel one way, without using MIQ.

The countries this would apply to reflected the fact all three nations had experienced very few cases of Covid-19, she said. Tonga had seen zero Covid-91 cases, Samoa just one, and Vanuatu had four - all those cases having been at the border with no community transmission.

Tokyo 2020 Day Three: Pacific Athletes - Who to watch and when

Rugby Sevens (Men's)

Fiji v Canada- 8:00pm

Sailing

Men's Radial Laser event, 3:05pm (PNG and Samoa)

Teariki Numa of Papua New Guinea and Eroni Leilua of Samoa join sailors from around the world taking to the waters for the third and fourth races of the Sailing - Men's Radial Laser event.

It's been 28 years since PNG have been seen sailing at the Olympics - a record held by Te Ariki Numa's father, Graham Numa, who represented the nation in windsurfing at Seoul in 1988 and Barcelona in 1992.

UK and WHO deliver essential medical equipment across the Pacific

The World Health Organization’s Division of Pacific Technical Support based in Suva, Fiji, and the WHO Country Liaison Office in Tonga are working to meet these varied needs alongside partners like the government of the United Kingdom (UK).

Pacific Island Food Revolution TV show increases people’s uptake of healthy food

The programme commissioned the Busara Center for Behavioral Economics to do the assessment in Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu, and Samoa.

The report found that watching and engaging with the show was responsible for an 'an excess improvement' on average of 33 per cent in Fiji, 38 per cent in Vanuatu, 146 per cent in Samoa, and 262 per cent in Tonga.

Simona Achitei the Grants and Program Manager for the show said the programme was trying a new development model to address the increasing rates of NCD’s.

Division over NZ's RSE worker boost, Pacific reacts

New Zealand's Government announced this month about 2400 more migrant workers will be allowed into the country for seasonal horticultural work, many from the Pacific Islands.

Pacific governments remain keen to get as many of their workers into New Zealand's Recognised Seasonal Employer, or RSE, scheme, as possible

But Unions and economists say fruit and vegetable pickers from the Pacific Islands suffer high costs and poor pay and are often left with almost no money to send home.