Wednesday 25 Nov 2020 | 02:45 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 25 Nov 2020 | 02:45 | SYDNEY

Learning from New Zealand


Jenny Hayward-Jones


19 February 2008 09:07

Recent statements by Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs Duncan Kerr and Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance Bob McMullan suggest the Rudd Government is moving closer to the introduction of a labour mobility program that would allow Pacific Islanders to work in Australia. Strong lobbying by Solomon Islands Prime Minister Derek Sikua and Vanuatu Foreign Minister George Wells in Canberra, and no doubt the governments of Kiribati, Samoa and Tonga during the visit of Rudd Goverment parliamentary secretaries in recent weeks, have obviously had an impact. But given the strong leadership role Australia has long assumed and advocated in the region, it is interesting to note Australian Government representatives emphasising the need to draw lessons from the New Zealand Recognised Seasonal Employer Work Visa before making a decision about an Australian scheme. Maybe Helen Clark has as much to teach us about regional policy as the All Blacks do about winning rugby matches.