New Zealand’s Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme: An Object Lesson in Policy Making - But for Whom?

Since 2007 New Zealand’s Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Scheme has been a successful temporary migration programme allowing Pacific island residents to work for a season in New Zealand. This paper explores the interests, ideas and institutions behind its creation. The RSE represents a high point in the design of evidence-based policy which will be difficult to repeat because the building blocks are so rarely all present at the same time and place. The scheme solved the horticulture and viticulture sector’s labour shortages, brought income to the Islands and cemented New Zealand’s influence in the Pacific region.