Immigration New Zealand admits changes needed after slavery scandal

Newstalk ZB ,
Publish Date
Monday, 17 December 2018, 5:36p.m.
A 64-year-old Samoan New Zealander has been charged with human trafficking and slavery. (Photo / File)

Immigration New Zealand admits we need to look at our systems, if we want to crack down on exploitation.

A Samoan national has been charged with 18 counts of human trafficking and slavery in Hawke's Bay/

64-year-old Viliamu Samu, known locally as Joe Matamata, is alleged to have brought Samoans to New Zealand to work illegally in the horticultural industry since the early 1990s.

He appeared in the Hastings District Court this morning and didn't enter any pleas.

Samu was remanded on bail and will reappear in court in January.

Immigration New Zealand assistant general manager Peter Devoy says the man's treatment of individuals and how he brought them here are the basis of his concerns.

He says that they travelled here on visitor's visas, and then became unlawful in New Zealand. 

Their limited comprehension of the English language added to their suffering. 

"It's a component of exploitation we're seeing more often."

The people are usually left vulnerable by taking their passports away from them.

Devoy told Larry Williams it's a new low and we need to ensure this never happens again.

"When people coming in on a visitor's visa, there is no policing what they do. When they don't leave, trying to find them in New Zealand can be difficult."

He says they will be "putting things in place" to try and ensure this does not happen.



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