Worker shortage 'alternative facts' - Winston Peters

Winston Peters has rubbished claims New Zealand needs another 200,000 workers in the service industry as "alternative facts".

A report earlier this week commissioned by At Your Service Aotearoa and presented to Parliament claimed there would be a shortage of 200,000 workers by 2020 - especially with changes to New Zealand's immigration rules.

Immigration is at a record high of more than 70,000 net per year, which Labour has promised to slash by up to 50,000.

Mr Peters, leader of New Zealand First, wants to go even further, cutting it to 10,000.

"We'd bring people here that we need, not who need us," he told The Nation on Saturday.

"People of top quality experience, skills, the type of which we have got gaps in our economy. But we will not bring here massive numbers of unskilled people."

He says the claims by At Your Service Aotearoa are "out of leftfield".

"Why would I believe them? … I'm not going to get done over by you people with misinformation and alternative facts.

"Let me tell you this - 10,000 is a very high figure against what every other first world economy is doing. It's not low, it's high."

If there is a shortage, Mr Peters says it can be filled by the 92,000 young people not in education, training or employment, and the 130,000 currently unemployed.

"We're going to look to all those people first. If we can't place them, we'll look to your cheap shot alternative - we'll get people in from overseas."

Mr Peters also plans to stop letting international students from working while they're here - which he says was the original plan.

"Our export education wasn't working, so instead of improving our export education quality product, we decided to have inducements on the side.

"Either you're coming here to be educated and to go home… or you're coming here [to work]."