A Tongan Seasonal Worker has died in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand, it has been confirmed to Kaniva News this morning.
No further details were provided.
The death comes about nine month after New Zealand authorities said they were concerned about the well being of Pacific Island workers still unable to return home and says Tongan authorities must help out.
At the time, it was reported that some 487 workers from Tonga and 763 from Vanuatu were registered as requiring urgent repatriation.
Johnny Appleseed director Paul Paynter reportedly said it was not acceptable that young vulnerable men had been left in New Zealand. He said the Tongan government needed to be more pro-active.
- Gov’t says it cannot prioritise RSE workers on flights home as New Zealand lays down new rules on 2021 seasonal worker intake
- RSE workers stranded in NZ: ‘Tonga needs to look after its own citizens’ – employer
- Change in rules will make it easier for RSE workers stuck in New Zealand to change jobs
- Doctors, civil servants, RSE workers and patients priority on first flight from Auckland
As we reported in August last year, about 7000 Tongans became stuck overseas because of the border closures.
CEO Dr Fotu Fisi’iahi of the Ministry of Internal Affairs told Kaniva News at the time the government could not just prioritise RSE workers.
He said the number of rooms in the quarantine facilities and the number of front line workers at the isolation facilities were also a significant issue.
Meanwhile, two repatriation flights are planned for June from Auckland, New Zealand, and Brisbane, Australia.
Tongan authorities said a plan has now been in place for repatriated passengers to start paying for their quarantine starting on 28 July.
Each passenger is expected to pay TOP$4,000 for their quarantine.