MIA Immigration Minister risking food production

At a time when supply chains are already frayed, the Government’s inaction on border class exceptions for time-critical workers could have an impact on food production and distribution in New Zealand, National Leader Christopher Luxon says.

 

“Workers for the grain harvest are needed here in February, but because of Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi’s inaction they’re unlikely to get here on time which could mean late and limited supply of essential food, like bread.

“Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor announced on 12 December last year that he had created new border exceptions for 200 mobile machinery operators, 40 shearers and 50 wool handlers.

“The Immigration Minister should have sprung to action to enable these workers to get visas, but he sat on his hands for six weeks and didn’t sign off instructions allowing the workers to apply for their visas until 21 January.

“This lack of action and urgency from a consistently disorganised Minister has resulted in over 190 mobile machinery operators, who had expressed interest in working in New Zealand, giving up on the process and leaving just 40 applicants still in the mix.

“These critical workers are desperately needed to harvest crops to ensure that everyday food items like bread and flour make it to our shelves. Without these workers, the likely result is that supply will be late and limited, and that will push prices up.

“This is an entirely avoidable situation, and a real indictment on the Government’s poor execution and total inability to get things done.

“National would ensure that any border exception classes for critical workers would have MIQ spots linked to them.”