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Dennis Rockell

Doctor of Philosophy, (Development studies)
Study Completed: 2015
College of Humanities & Social Sciences


Thesis Title
Pacific Island Labour Programmes in New Zealand: an aid to Pacific Island Development ? A critical Lens on the Recognised Seasonal Employer-Policy

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

The Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) programme allows limited numbers of Pacific Islanders to work in the New Zealand horticulture and viticulture sector on a seasonal basis. Mr Rockell investigated the effects on island development and conditions of work from a rights-based perspective within an historical comparative framework. Field work was carried out in provincial New Zealand and rural Vanuatu. While improvements in work conditions can be found in this century compared with similar work programmes which came earlier, emphasis on border control and the prevention of overstaying, links current programmes with past unfree labour practices. The experiences of individual workers vary widely and access to the programme tends to favour those communities which are already on a modernising pathway. The programme contributes to island economies in fiscal terms, although at much lower levels than tourism. Further research is needed, particularly on the long term remuneration effects within the horticultural sector.

Dr Maria Borovnik
Professor Regina Scheyvens
Mr Cluny MacPherson