Have your say: Does New Zealand need to increase immigration to address labour shortages?

  • 07/07/2022

The Government is being told to make New Zealand's immigration settings more "flexible" to help resolve current worker shortages.

A number of sectors, including health, are crying out for more staff, and while the Government earlier this year unveiled its immigration rebelance with new pathways to residency, business leaders say more needs to be done.

That includes ANZ New Zealand chief executive Antonia Watson, who said at an event in Melbourne on Tuesday, that the system needed to be more "flexible".

"You can't blame Kiwis for wanting to go overseas," said Watson. "That was a big part of what I did when I was young and if they are going to go overseas then we need to replace that labour."

National's immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford said the Government must listen to those calls.

"In the past 24 hours, the CEOs of ANZ and Sealord have criticised the Government’s immigration policies and called on them to urgently address New Zealand’s critical worker shortages," she said.

"This follows news of tourism bosses needing to wash dishes instead of focusing on growing their businesses and smaller operators such as the Auckland barber who is closing his doors because he simply cannot recruit trained staff."

But Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern believes the settings are hitting the right balance.

"We have worked very hard to identify the skills gap that New Zealanders have, the issues businesses are facing and actually to ease the path for those businesses to bring in those skills that we need."

The Productivity Commission has also previously said governments "need to build the assets and infrastructure needed to support a growing population", warning an unwillingness to do that could mean pre-pandemic immigration rates are unsustainable.

Does New Zealand need to increase immigration to address labour shortages?

Disclaimer: This straw poll is not scientific and closes after 24 hours.