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Need a plumber? Dial 00 61

Hon Dr Lockwood Smith MP
National Party Immigration Spokesman

19 February 2008

Need a plumber? Dial 00 61

New Zealand is losing valuable tradespeople at a rate that cannot be sustained, says National's Immigration spokesman, Lockwood Smith.

"Migration statistics for the year ended 2007 are out and it's all bad news.

"For the first time since 2001, more trades people, plant and machine operators, and managers are leaving than coming here.

"In 2007, we had a net loss of 700 tradespeople, 800 plant and machine operators, and 800 managers.

"The balance of skilled people entering or leaving New Zealand has deteriorated significantly since 2003, from a net gain of almost 10,000 to a net loss of over 3,000.

"Everyone knows it is becoming increasingly difficult to get a tradesperson to work on their homes, and to lose hundreds overseas in one year is genuine cause for concern.

"We all know the economy is in desperate need of tradespeople. This situation is evidence that the Labour Government's policies are out of kilter with New Zealand's needs.

"As long as Labour refuses to address this imbalance and make New Zealand a more attractive place to live, the near-record exodus of Kiwis in the past 12 months will continue."

ENDS

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