Truck company owner says Kiwis won't work

The owner of a Northland trucking firm says part of his fleet is parked up because he can't find suitable Kiwi drivers - and he can't bring in overseas workers.

The Government on Wednesday made changes to immigration policy, but that's already been dismissed as tinkering.

Stan Semenoff owns a fleet of trucks but 28 of them are off the road, because he can't find people to employ as drivers.

Newshub tracked him down after the Prime Minister started using an unnamed Northland business owner as a poster-boy for the need for record immigration.

And yes - Mr Semenoff has 28 good jobs he can't give away.

In Northland, which has the highest unemployment in the country, several young men were filmed in Kaikohe last week, telling Newshub more jobs were needed.

But Mr Semenoff says there simply aren't people with the right skills to drive a truck.

"This economy is the best I've ever had - it's sad, I can't get a skill base to fulfill my contracts," he said.

And there's another problem - drugs.

He says there's 75 potential drivers in Northland who have failed drug tests, and believes many do it deliberately.

"It's plainly deliberate. If they fail them, they can go back and apply for some welfare assistance."

Mr Semenoff wants immigrants to do the job, but says immigration won't let him have them because drivers aren't a skill shortage.

"You hop in one of these trucks and drive it into a cattleyard at 2am - it's a skill base," he said.

The Government is making some immigration changes - a migrant earning less than $49,000 will only be allowed a temporary three-year work visa.

If they earn more than $49,000 for a job in an area that has a skills shortage, they get a Skilled Migrant Visa and a possible pathway to residency.

If they earn more than $73,200, they get a Skilled Migrant Visa regardless of the job, and a pathway to residency.

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse effectively admitted it won't change much and the Opposition demanded immigration be cut.

But Mr Semenoff has a warning.

"If they want to see the economy slow down and choke and come to a standstill..." he said.

Wednesday's changes are only tinkering. The Government is addicted to immigration and like any addiction, it loves the good bits, and doesn't know where to start when it comes to dealing with the bad bits.