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Immigration Changes Welcome

Local Government New Zealand President Basil Morrison is delighted with the changes to immigration policy announced today. “Attracting and keeping business and skilled migrants is a vital ingredient in economic development”, he said.

Migration is one of the keys to successful local economic development initiatives. “Being able to get the right people, in the right place at the right time, with the right skills and drive is fundamental to the success of local economic development.”

“Both Local Government New Zealand and the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs had been very concerned that past migration policy simply didn’t deliver what we needed. Today’s announcement and the establishment of specific targets for business and skilled migrants is an important step in the right direction.”

Dunedin Mayor and member of the Mayors Taskforce for Jobs, Sukhi Turner, also endorsed the change. “We are keen to see migrants who bring with them capital, and entrepreneurial skills, particularly if they can be attracted to the regions of New Zealand”.

Mrs Turner also welcomed a greater partnership role by Government in supporting migrants as they settle into New Zealand society. The recent announcement of funding support for migrant resource centres is clear evidence that successful partnerships between local government and central government can deliver better outcomes. “Fully integrated economic development programmes conducted in partnership across all levels of Government will be far more successful than any one agency going it alone.”

Mr Morrison announced that Local Government New Zealand would be pursuing the potential for more joint local initiatives with the New Zealand Immigration Service. In particular, he hopes that Local Authorities will work closely with the Immigration Service to ensure that skill requirements were identified and prospective migrants could be matched to communities that would value their contribution.

Stronger links between the New Zealand Immigration Service, the NZQA and labour market were also praised. “It’s no good attracting highly skilled migrants whose qualifications and experience will not be recognised here.”

“I commend the Government for these changes and I’m sure that the business community will do so to,” concluded Mr Morrison.

Peter Winder, Chief Executive Local Government New Zealand (04) 470 - 0022

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