Booze woes hurt Tonga's RSE standing

The return to Tonga of two workers who left their Recognised Seasonal Employer jobs in New Zealand has again highlighted issues surrounding alcohol.

Radio Tonga reported that Sitiveni Uasi and Atonio Kulitapa were sent home for disappearing with a company vehicle.

The men disappeared from the Hastings farm where they were working last Monday and were found hundreds of kilometres away in Auckland a few days later.

Mr Kulitapa told the Kaniva website they regretted their actions, saying there was no reason for leaving but they were drunk at the time.

In February eight workers were ordered home after they broke their contracts by consuming alcohol and misbehaving.

Earlier this month the Prime Minister 'Akilisi Pohiva visited the RSE farm due to the number of Tongans absconding.

Community leaders have called for a review of the scheme.

RSE Liaison Officer Sefita Hao'uli said the Prime Minister promised a review but the government could only respond to difficulties as they find them.

He said single under-25-year-old males were in high demand for employers but there was also a need for them to be responsible.