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Lure Skilled Global Workers To NZ Urges CEO

Lure Skilled Global Workers To New Zealand Urges Chamber CEO

Auckland – 23 October, 2008 - Kiwis should fight to bring the world’s most skilled workers to New Zealand – and now is a better time than ever, says Michael Barnett, Chief Executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce.

In London this month at the Jobs New Zealand Expo, one of the most significant events on the UK recruitment calendar, Barnett says the present economic situation was clearly top of mind.

“The papers here are full of stories of job losses and impending gloom. Over 1.7 million jobs have been lost already and there are more to come. Most of the losses so far seem to be in the 20 – 30 age group,” states Barnett.

Barnett believes now is the time for New Zealand to recruit the talent it needs to balance out the aging population bulge and to help meet the skill shortage to which these same demographics have led.

Although some predictions expect New Zealand’s tight labour market to soften with the credit crunch fall out, Barnett cautions that taking an over protectionist approach against immigration and off-shore recruitment would be both shortsighted and economically foolhardy for New Zealand.

“These people will not compete with New Zealanders looking for employment. If they have better skills, we should fight to get them. If their skills cannot compete, they will not come here. NZ needs this attitude to compete with the rest of the world,” says Barnett.

“Skilled workers have choices – they have the skills and attitudes that many countries in the world are prepared to chase, and that’s where they will go – somewhere that it is easy to do business with and where they are welcoming in there approach to people with skills.”

Barnett has enjoyed speaking to hundreds of people at the Expo, where participation has been a joint venture between the Auckland Chamber of Commerce and Auckland Plus.

“I was excited to hear young people talk passionately about their time in New Zealand. They now want to return and use their skills.

There were young families who just want to leave the UK and pursue a better quality of life for themselves and their children – they’re prepared to come and give it their best shot,” Barnett reports.

Barnett urges New Zealand to take note and to invest in good skills.

"New Zealand must develop an attitude that will see it participate and be rewarded. If we don’t we will be left behind the rest of the world."


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