Commissioner-Labou- Murielle-Meltenoven

The offence committed by a Ni-Vanuatu seasonal worker in New Zealand is very serious and could damage Vanuatu’s reputation in the Labour Mobility Program, a disappointed Commissioner of Labour said.

Commissioner of Labour, Murielle Meltenoven confirmed her office was notified of the incident on the 3rd of January. The vineyard worker was charged with indecent act on a 12-year-old girl Blenheim on January 2.

She stressed that Vanuatu has the largest numbers of workers registered under the Labour Mobility Program which includes the RSE in New Zealand and Seasonal Workers Program in Australia, but such behaviours could easily destroy Vanuatu’s reputation.

Meltenoven confirmed she recently learnt that the worker concerned was warned over a similar offence while he was working at Hawke’s Bay in 2013.

“It is sad. He was lucky to have been part of the program for many seasons since 2013. He was a returnee. He knew what he was getting himself into. He has destroyed for himself a golden opportunity,” Commissioner Meltenoven stated.

The Labour boss re-emphasised her office’s stand on such behaviours as the Department has done its part to provide information to the workers prior to departing at the airport.

“The workers received advice, instructions and all required information during pre-departure briefing, days or even hours before the workers depart for Australia and New Zealand,” she said.

“We encourage them not to get themselves involved in activities that could have them in the hands of the police.

“We encourage our workers to respect the laws of Australia and New Zealand and focus on their purpose of their going to the two foreign countries.”

The Ni-Vanuatu worker was employed by Seasonal Solution in Marlborough and he has a limited visa which will expire on April 30, 2020.

At this stage, the Department of Labour will leave the matter to the authorities in New Zealand to deal with the situation. She confirmed the worker would be definitely blacklisted in the Labour Mobility program.