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Chronic Skills Shortages Stunt NZ Growth

Media Statement

For Immediate Release

February 4, 2002

Chronic Skills Shortages Stunt NZ Growth

While all New Zealanders should be pleased with the high employment levels the country is enjoying, the EMA Central doubts Steve Maharey's assertion today that New Zealand is now "well placed" to respond to changes in the international economy.

EMA Central chief executive Paul Winter says as employment rates improve it is becoming harder and harder for employers to find suitably qualified skilled staff. In these cases, employers are certainly not well placed to respond to increased demand from overseas, or anywhere.

In some regions and in some industries the situation is chronic, and little has been done to alleviate the problem.

"Last year's campaign by Southland to promote itself and attract new blood to the region was a well-orchestrated plan to find new skilled workers desperately needed in the region.

"New Zealand as a whole needs to look at presenting itself to the world's skilled workers in the same way," Mr Winter says.

EMA members are continually pointing to skill shortages as being one of the number one concerns they have in their businesses.

"You can't grow a business without skilled staff, and you can't grow a country without skilled business," Mr Winter says.

ENDS

For further information contact Paul Winter, CEO, EMA Central, 04 473 7224.

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