Purpose: Temporary labour mobility programmes (TLMPs) are initiated by high-income nations to fill their labour demands by offering temporary work opportunities to migrants from low-income nations. TLMPs also seek to contribute to economic development in workers' home countries. This paper aims to assess the accountability of New Zealand's Recognised Seasonal Employer (RSE) Scheme and Australia's Seasonal Worker Programme (SWP) in reaching their economic development objectives in one sending nation, Samoa. Design/methodology/approach: A qualitative study with RSE and SWP workers and key informants (collectively stakeholders) in Samoa was undertaken to assess the contributions of these schemes to economic development. An interdisciplinary research approach was taken using the Pacific methodology of talanoa. Talanoa was used to “operationalise engagement” and empower local stakeholder accounts. Findings: Talanoa supported the elicitation of accounts that contributed nuanced insights into the accountability of TLMPs. Specifically, stakeholder accounts revealed limitations in the ability of the RSE Scheme and SWP to meet their economic development objectives for Samoan communities and workers. Adjustments are necessary to meet Pacific nations' economic development objectives. Practical implications: This study responds to calls for on-the-ground accounts of stakeholders involved in TLMPs. It provides insights that may contribute to the development of more effective TLMPs, particularly regarding economic development in workers' home countries. Originality/value: Drawing on dialogic accounting literature, which calls for engagement with the marginalised, a talanoa approach has been engaged to assess TLMPs via on-the-ground participant accounts in a specific context. This paper introduces talanoa to the critical and social accounting literature, to move beyond a typical accounting qualitative interview process and encourage greater engagement and collaboration with Pacific scholars and partners.