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Howard's End: Why Not Train NZ Tradepeople?

The Government's new 'skilled migrant' policy will tackle skill shortages and should be a major improvement according to Business New Zealand. Is this policy nothing more than a subsidy to New Zealand business too lousy to spend a dollar training and up-skilling good honest New Zealander's. Maree Howard writes.

The best of all business is politics. For a subsidy, grant, tax exemption or loan is worth more than the Kimberly or Comstock load.

Business New Zealand says some businesses throughout the economy are so desperately in need of particular skills that it applauds Government's radical alteration to our immigration policy.

" Clearly there has been a mismatch for too long between what businesses have been searching for, and what the immigration process has been providing," says Business New Zealand Chief Executive Simon Carlaw.

Equally clear is the obligation on Business New Zealand and the Government to tell the job-seeking public exactly what skills are so desperately needed and why New Zealanders cannot fill them?

C'mon front up! Otherwise it's nothing more than sophistry and yet another attack on ordinary New Zealanders desperately trying to do better for themselves and their country.

I can tell you now that I know of plenty of New Zealanders working, and not working, who would love the chance for a job or to up-skill if employers, including the Government, weren't so lousy to spend a dollar investing in them and their training.

It sure seems a pretty easy and cost effective option for business to have the Government establish a new 'skilled migrant' policy to make up for the shortfalls and deficiencies in its own inadequate or lack of training.

Sure, it's not right that we enticed qualified professionals to this country and they ended up driving taxis. But whose fault is that?

I've been told by those very same taxi drivers that they were conned by authorities in New Zealand embassies and consulates in their home country when they were told that New Zealand had everything going for it and jobs were plentiful.

They came, and they were disappointed. They were conned.

And I'll lay dollars to dough-nuts that many, if not most, of the ten to twenty thousand people already here and are now to be told that we no longer want them and to go home, fall into that category.

Then there's New Zealanders who simply cannot get a job even though they are well skilled. Their problem? Their age.

What many employers want today is young 20-something dolly birds with big boobs or guys who look like Tom Cruise. It's the Corporate image, you see.

And yet I know great 50 year-old's who have stable employment records, have marvellous experience and skills in good positions, including management, get on well with people, present well and could value-add to any business in numerous ways - and they can't get a job.

Why? Age!!!!

OK Minister and Mr Carlaw, watcha gonna do for them? Do they form part of your desperate need for particular skills?

Do New Zealanders a favour. I'm sure our Scoop editors will be more than happy to publish a list of desparately needed skills Business New Zealand and the Government has identified - I'm sure all of our readers will look forward to reading it - real soon.

Who knows, Mr Carlaw, we at Scoop just might be able to fill some of those gaps.


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