In the first of a series of blogs outlining Key Findings From The Impact Study Of New Zealand's Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Scheme, Charlotte Bedford, Heather Nunns and Richard Bedford talked about this study, that involved more than 480 research participants. Essentially, it examined some of the RSE scheme's social and economic impacts in six New Zealand communities and five participating Pacific countries.
The study was completed in early 2020 and provides a pre-Covid perspective on impacts of RSE participation. In the year ended June 30, 2019, more than 12,500 seasonal workers, mainly from the Pacific, entered New Zealand under the RSE scheme to harvest, prune and pack horticultural crops.
The RSE policy contributes to the productivity of New Zealand's horticulture and viticulture industries with the dual aims of providing a sustainable supply of temporary seasonal labour and contributing to the economic development of participating Pacific countries through RSE workers' remittances and savings.
Every year thousands of Pacific workers spend up to seven months (or up to nine months in the case of I-Kiribati and Tuvaluans) in New Zealand as seasonal workers. RSE employers are able to identify the workers they want to return in subsequent seasons and, with an annual return rate of around 70 per cent, many workers spend more time living in New Zealand in successive years than they spend at home. The positive impacts of RSE participation for employers are well documented in the annual RSE employer survey.