Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Immigration not a cure-all for Queenstown

David Parker MP for Otago

7 February 2005

Immigration not a cure-all for Queenstown labour shortage

A living wage and affordable housing for kiwi workers must be key priorities for employers, local and central government when grappling with the problem of Queenstown’s labour shortage, says Otago MP David Parker.

Freeing up immigration rules and enabling overseas visitors to get work permits to fill lower paid jobs is not the answer, except during seasonal peaks, Mr Parker said today. Mr Parker said seasonal peaks requiring overseas labour must be carefully defined and stuck to. “There are serious underlying core workforce issues in Queenstown and Wanaka,” Mr Parker said today. “Accommodation costs and other living costs are very high. The price of housing in Queenstown is the highest in New Zealand.

“There is very little older, cheaper housing available,” he said. “Hotels offer less accommodation for workers than in the past. Low wages and irregular income make some of these jobs unsustainable for workers.” Mr Parker said some employers were already doing more to attract staff by helping them find accommodation. Competition for workers had also seen some employers respond by guaranteeing regular hours and higher wages to attract the staff they need. These pressures were shifting the New Zealand tourism industry toward the higher priced end of the market, rather than the higher volume, lower value end of the market. Mr Parker said he supported this trend but was concerned with the ongoing issue of affordable accommodation and low wages.

“As local MP I have encouraged the government through Housing New Zealand to contribute to the cost of an affordable housing project which is being coordinated by the council. But more progress is needed. The Queenstown Lakes District Council can stimulate affordable housing by encouraging intensive subdivision and apartment complexes (with appropriate green space) and reinstating planning rules requiring hotels to provide worker accommodation. This will also help limit urban sprawl, he said.

“Some Queenstown businesses have suggested that the government fix the problem by building state houses in the area. I disagree. Queenstown and Wanaka are two of the wealthiest areas in the country. The rate of population growth is the highest in New Zealand, perhaps even in Australasia.

“If workers can’t afford to live their on their wages in these areas, then employers need to compete for workers by improving terms and conditions.” Mr Parker said all care must be taken not to undermine the ability of local workers to earn a living wage. “The key to this is to define seasonal peaks, issue short term work permits but make sure they remain short term and do not extend beyond the peak period.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>

ALSO:

Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>

ALSO:

Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>

ALSO:

With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>

ALSO:

Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news