Seasonal work scheme having some negative effects in Tonga

Tonga's liaison officer to New Zealand's Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme is calling for a study of the scheme's impacts on Tonga.

Tonga is the second largest contributor of RSE labour with more than 1600 workers participating in the scheme in the past year.

Sefita Hao'uli said Tonga would like to continue to grow seasonal worker numbers and see the scheme expand to other sectors such as hospitality, fisheries and old age care.

But he said research needs to be done into the social and economic impacts of the scheme on the home labour market and Tongan society in general.

"The cost of labour in countries participating in RSE has either trebled or in some cases quadrupled because again the productive workers are now used to earning $19 an hour in New Zealand," Mr Hao'uli said.

"Who would like to go back and do $2.70 Tongan Pa'anga?"