The Immigration Minister’s comments that employers across the tourism sector are struggling to hire staff because of low wages and insecure working conditions are unhelpful, insulting to business owners and an attempt to distract from the Government’s immigration failures, National’s Immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford says.
“Through no fault of their own, businesses across New Zealand have battled through two years of closed borders, taken on debt, endured a prolonged lockdown in Auckland which has now been deemed unnecessary, and are now staring down the barrel of critical labour shortages.
“Hotels are having to ask customers to clean their own sheets, restaurants are closing their kitchens early, and cafes are shutting down for a couple of days a week because they just don’t have the staff.
“Immigration Minister Michael Wood’s comments that ‘employers in sectors that continue to pay low wages with insecure working conditions also need to consider what changes they will make’ are an attempt to distract from his Government’s failure to deliver the workforce we need.
“We have just under five per cent of the working holiday makers that would typically be here pre-Covid, we barely have any international students, and the essential skills category doesn’t open to applications until tomorrow.
“Instead of blaming businesses, the Immigration Minister should consider what steps he could take to make New Zealand a more attractive place to migrants by changing the immigration settings to help deliver the workers this country desperately need.”
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