Friday, 10 September 2021 11:00

One-way quarantine-free travel for RSE workers starts in October

Written by  Staff Reporters
From October, quarantine-free travel for RSE workers from Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu will begin. From October, quarantine-free travel for RSE workers from Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu will begin.

The first stage of one-way quarantine-free travel with Samoa, Tonga and Vanuatu will begin in October, initially for RSE workers, Covid-19 Response Minister and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor have announced.

“We want to provide certainty to the horticulture industry that we are moving forward with safe quarantine-free travel for RSE workers in time for the upcoming picking season,” O’Connor says.

Hipkins says there are several reasons why the programme will begin solely with RSE workers.

“RSE workers come to New Zealand in a cohort, and stay in employer-arranged accommodation. This helps mitigate any additional risk from Covid-19 by ensuring they go into self-isolation in a pre-organised place immediately upon arrival,” he says.

To minimise the risk of Covid-19 transmission, Hipkins says, additional health measures have been put in place, including requirements that workers be vaccinated, complete a period of self-isolation on arrival in New Zealand and return negative Covid-19 tests at Day 0 and Day 5.

O’Connor says the decision reflects the important benefits that flow from the RSE scheme for New Zealand, Pacific partner countries, workers, and their families and communities.

Up to 14,400 RSE workers typically enter New Zealand each year, with approximately 10,500 in the country at peak harvesting times pre-Covid.

“Substantial planning has been under way both in New Zealand’s horticulture and viticulture sectors and in our partner countries for the arrival of these workers, with some incoming flights deferred in August and September because of New Zealand’s Alert Level 4 settings,” says O’Connor.

“We will be closely monitoring this first stage of one-way quarantine-free travel. Our intention remains to broaden eligibility for quarantine-free entry into New Zealand from these countries and Tokelau when we can be sure it is safe to do so. In the meantime, other people entering New Zealand from these countries will need to meet existing MIQ requirements.”

“I’d also like to thank the horticulture and viticulture sector leaders for working so constructively with us in reaching this announcement,” says O’Connor.

Officials in New Zealand are working with partner Pacific countries and the industry on the final measures that need to be in place, with exact flight dates in October to be confirmed.

More like this

PFG shows farmers and customers the love

At this year's National Fieldays, the Power Group (PFG) set out to thank farmers and contractors for their efforts in keeping the country going through Covid in 2020 with a 'We Love Farmers' theme.

Who?

OPINION: The refusal of both Damien O'Connor and PM Jacinda Ardern to release some of the correspondence they received about Groundswell begs a question or two.

National

Labour pains hurt grower

Despite struggling to find workers, fresh produce grower and trader T&G is still forging ahead with growth plans.

Machinery & Products

Making lamb marking easy

Designed by a sheep and beef farmer, Vetmarkers are made in New Zealand and sold around the world.

A big tractor needed

German cultivation and seeding manufacturer Amazone has launched a new semimounted plough range, suitable for tractors in the 400hp class.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Murky waters

OPINION: Your canine crusader knows there is a great deal of unease - especially in rural NZ - about the…

Who?

OPINION: The refusal of both Damien O'Connor and PM Jacinda Ardern to release some of the correspondence they received about…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter