Mr Apple claims Tongan employees face few problems, says most “working really well”

    The Labour Manager of one of New Zealand’s largest fruit growing companies said last week Tongan seasonal workers employed by his company faced very few problems.

    Mr Apple’s Labour Manager Alistair Jamieson told Kaniva News Tongans working under Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme visas at his Hawke’s Bay company earned good money and “most of them are working really well.”

    The Tongan media has regularly reported on problems faced by seasonal workers.

    In the past, mainstream media has also reported on problems, with  TVNZ current affairs show Close Up reporting on complaints by workers of poor accommodation.

    When asked whether or not the social problems regularly raised on local Tongan media had been an issue with his Tongan workers, he said: “Not at all” and claimed that if there were any problems, they were very low level.

    However, Jamieson, who was addressing a meeting in Auckland,  said he was aware of cases involving seasonal workers had been heard in court.

    This had not affected the value of the work done by the other employees.

    He said he had the power to send any workers home if they caused trouble.

    Jamieson said the 350 Tongans employed by the company were hard working people and “physical men.”

    He said the company’s Tongan workers were financially aware and knew how to calculate their pay and raise concerns if they were not satisfied.

    He said the average wage was NZ$1200/TP$1766 a week, which came to NZ$800/TP$1177 after taxes.

    Most of the money went to Tonga every week. He said he understood the workers’ families in the kingdom looked forward to receiving the money.

    Jamieson was speaking to Tongan media in Auckland before flying to the kingdom to recruit more workers.

    He said the regional workers visa scheme would remain open to Tongans and other Pacific islanders because New Zealand horticulture could not do without it. He said New Zealanders could not provide that many labourers needed by the horticultures.

    According to the Mr Apple website, the company is the largest “vertically integrated apple grower, packer, shipper and exporter in New Zealand” and sells 97% of its apples on the international market.

    “We control 25% of New Zealand’s total apple crop,” the website claims.

    “One out of every four apples exported from NZ is exported by Mr Apple.”

    Sefita Hao’uli, the RSE Tongan agent in Auckland, said they had 36 employers from Kerikeri to Christchurch who were working for growers producing lemons and oranges, strawberries, vegetables. Kiwifruit, apples, mixed fruit (pears, berries, and other pip fruit) and grapes (wine).

    Most of their workers were employed in the apple sector doing the harvest and packhouse work, followed by kiwifruit and then the rest.

    “Except for 2007 when we had only 600 workers, in the past eight years we have brought average of 1600 workers here each season,” Hao’uli said.

    “About 75 percent of our workers each year are rehires, i.e they return to the same employer and the remaining 30 percent are people who are hired to replace those who have decided to opt out of the scheme or who have been replaced by the employer for one reason or another.

    “We are required to distribute the opportunities for work throughout the kingdom and to those who do not have regular employment.”

    Most of the workers are from Tongatapu and, in descending order, from Vava’u, Eua and then Haapai and a group of about 20 or so from the two Niuas.

    The New Zealand government caps the number of RSE permits at 9000 for workers from the Pacific each season. Most are from Vanuatu, then Tonga (around 1800 or so this season) and then Samoa and smaller numbers from other island nations.

    The main points

    • The Labour Manager of one of New Zealand’s largest fruit growing companies said last week Tongan seasonal workers employed by his company faced very few problems.
    • Mr Apple’s Labour Manager told Kaniva News Tongans working under Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) scheme visas at his Hawke’s Bay company earned good money and “most of them are working really well.”
    • The Tongan media has regularly reported on problems faced by seasonal workers.
    • Alistair Jamieson was speaking to Tongan media in Auckland before flying to the kingdom to recruit more workers.

    1 COMMENT

    1. Na’e pehē ʻe he Pule ki he Kau Ngāue Leipa ʻo e taha ʻo e ngaahi kautaha ngoue fuaʻiʻakau lahi taha ʻi Nuʻu Silá he uike kuo ʻosí ʻoku siʻi pe ha palopalema ʻe fehangahangai mo e kau ngāue toli Tonga heʻene kautahá.

      Naʻe fakahā ʻe he Pule ki he Kau Ngāue Leipa ʻa e kautaha Mr Apple, Alister Jamieson ki he Ongoongo ʻa e Kanivá ʻoku maʻu sēniti lelei mo mātuʻaki ngāue lelei ʻa e tokolahi ʻo kinautolu kau ngāue tolí ʻi heʻene kautaha ʻi Hawke’s Bay.

      Kuo faʻa līpooti ʻe he mītia Tongá e ngaahi palopalema ne fehangahangai mo e kau ngāue toli fakafaʻahi taʻú ni.

      ʻI he kuohilí ne līpooti ʻe he ngaahi mītia lalahí ʻa e ʻū palopalema kau ai ʻa e polokalama Close Up ʻa e TVNZ ʻi hano lipooti e lāunga ʻa e kau tolí fekauʻaki mo ʻenau taʻe fiemālie he kovi ʻa e ngaahi nofoʻangá.

      ʻI hano ʻeke ange pe ʻoku uesia ia mo ‘ene kautah.a ʻe he ngaahi palopalema fakasōsiale ʻoku toutou ʻohake ʻi he ngaahi mītia Tongá naʻá ne pehē ʻoku halaʻatā peá ka ʻi ai ha ngaahi palopalema ʻoku siʻi ʻaupito.

      Neongo iá ne lave ʻa Jamieson ʻa ia ne ne fakamatala ʻi ha fakataha ʻi ʻAokalani o ne pehe ne mahino pe ki ai ha ngaahi keisi ne a’u ki he fakamaau’anga ne kau ai ‘a e kau ngāue toli.

      Ka kuo ʻikai uesia ʻe he ngaahi meʻá ko ia ʻa e mahuʻinga ʻo e ngāue ʻa e toenga ‘o e kau ngaué.

      Ne ne pehē foki ‘oku ʻiate ia e mafai ke fakafoki ha taha ki Tonga kapau ʻoku nau fakatupu ha faingataʻa.

      Pehē foki ʻe Jamieson ko e kau Tonga ʻe toko 350 ʻoku ngāue heʻene kautahá ko e kakai ngāue mālohi mo ivi lahi.

      Ne ne pehē foki ko e kau ngāue Tonga heʻene kautahá ʻoku mahino pe kia kinautolu ‘enau me’a fakapaʻangá mo e anga hono fikaʻi pea ʻoku nau lea ka ʻoku ʻi ai ha meʻa ʻoku ʻikai ke nau fiemālie ki ai fekau’aki mo ‘enau vahe.

      Ne ne pehē foki ko e ʻavalisi ʻo e vahé ʻi he uiké ki he tamasiʻi takitaha ko e paʻanga Nuʻu Sila ʻe $800 pe paʻanga Tonga ʻe $1,177 hili hono toʻo ʻo e tukuhaú.

      Ne ne pehē foki ko e lahi taha ʻo e paʻanga ko ʻeni ʻoku ʻalu pe ki Tonga he uike kotoa. Naʻá ne pehē naʻe mahino pe ki ai ʻoku nofo ʻamanaki fakauike mai pe ʻa e ngaahi fāmili ʻo e kau tolí ki hano taaʻi ange e sēnití.

      Ko e lea ʻeni ʻa Jamieson ki he mitia Tongá ʻi ʻAokalani ki muʻa peá ne folau atu ki Tonga fakataha mo e fakafofonga Tonga ʻokú ne fakafofonga maʻa e puleʻangá Tevita Niulata ke toe uki mai ha kau ngāue.

      Ne ne pehē foki ko e faingamālie ko ʻeni ki ha visa toli fuaʻi ʻakaú ʻe kei ava pe ki he kakai Tongá mo e ngaahi fonua Pasifiki kehé he taumaiā ʻe lava ʻe Nuʻu Sila ke fai ʻa e ngāue ko ʻeni taʻe ʻi ai ha kau toli. Ne ne pehē ʻoku ʻikai lava ʻe he kau Nuʻu Silá ia ke fakaai ʻa e tokolahi ʻo e kau leipa ko ʻeni ʻoku fiemaʻu ki he ngaahi ngoueʻanga fuaʻiʻakaú.

      Fakatatau foki ki he uepisaiti ʻa e Mr Apple ko e kautaha lahi taha ʻeni ʻoku nau fakatahatahaʻi ʻa e kau tō ʻāpelé, kau faʻó mo hono hū atu ki tuʻapuleʻangá ʻi Nuʻu Sila ʻo fakatau atu ʻa e pēseti ʻe 97 ʻo e ʻāpelé ki he māketi fakavahaʻa puleʻangá.

      ʻOku nau puleʻi ʻe kinautolu ʻa e pēseti ʻe 25 ʻo e ngoue ʻapele kotoa ʻi Nuʻu Silá ni.

      Pehē foki ʻe Sēfita Haoʻuli ko e fakafofonga Tonga ia ʻi Nuʻu Sila maʻa e polokalamá ni ʻoku feʻunga mo e ngāueʻanga ʻe 36 ʻoku nau fengāueʻaki mei Kerikeri ki Christchurch ʻa ia ʻoku nau tō ʻa e lēmanim, moli, situloapeli, vesitapolo, fuaʻi kiuī, ʻāpele, fuaʻi ʻakau ʻosi ngaohi ʻo tuifio pe mixed fruit (pears, berries, and other pip fruit) mo e kālepi (wine).

      Ko e lahi taha ʻo e kau ngāué naʻe fakangāueʻi ʻi he ngāueʻanga ʻāpelé i hono toli mo faʻo pea hoko atu ai ki he fuaʻi kiuī mo e toengá.

      Tuku kehe pe ʻa e 2007 ʻa ia ko e toko 600 pe ne fakangāueʻí ka ʻi he taʻu ʻe valu kuo osí kuo mau ʻomai ha toko 1600 he faʻahi taʻu toli takitaha, ko e fakamatala ia ʻa Sefitá.

      Ko e pēseti ʻe 75 ʻetau kau ngāué ʻoku toe fakafoki mai pe kinautolu ke ngāue ʻi he ngaahi ngāueʻanga tatau ne nau ʻosi ngāue ai pea ko e toenga leva ʻo e pēseti ʻe 25 ko e kakai foʻou ia ʻoku haea mai ke fetongi ʻa e niʻihi kuo nau fili ke ʻoua toe kau mai pe ko hano fetongi pe kinautolu ʻe he ngāueʻangá ʻi ha faʻahinga ʻuhinga.

      Ne ne pehē ʻoku fiemaʻu ke nau tufotufa ʻa e ngaahi faingamālié ki he kau ngāue ʻi Tonga mo kinautolu ʻoku ʻikai haʻanau ngāue paú.

      Ko e tokolahi ʻo e kau ngāué mei Tongatapu pea ʻi hono fakahokohoko hifo ʻoku hoko ai ʻa Vavaʻu, Eua pea toki Haapai pea ʻoku ʻi ai mo e kulupu mei he ongo Niuá ʻoku ʻi he toko 20.

      Kuo fakangatangata ʻe he puleʻanga Nuʻu Silá ʻa e ngofua hū mai ki he polokalama tolí ki he kau ngāue pe ʻe toko 9000 mei he Pasifikí ʻa ia ko e tokolahi tahá mei Vanuatu pea hoko ai ʻa Tonga ʻa ia ko e toko 1800 pe lahi ange ki he faʻahi taʻu ko ʻenípea hoko ai ʻa Haʻamoa mo e ngaahi ʻotu motu kehé.

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