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Immigrants Wanted and welcome

Wanted and welcome: Immigrants with skills to help New Zealand grow

Winston Peters should be talking to business representatives before making provocative anti-immigrant speeches says the chief executive of the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern), Alasdair Thompson.

"New Zealand business welcomes skilled immigrants whose English language is good," Mr Thompson said.

"Any other approach is like voting for a lower standard of living.

"The fact Mr Peters ignores is that New Zealand needs more immigrants with the skills needed to lift our rate of economic growth and New Zealand back into the top 10 of OECD nations.

"The Labour Department survey in August found 42 per cent of small and medium enterprises say their major constraint to growth is skills related. 39 per cent of businesses find it hard to secure skilled labour.

"New Zealand's business won't be able enough revenues to deliver better education, health, welfare or care for the environment without an immigration policy that welcomes more people here.

"We have an urgent need to recruit younger immigrants also to ensure our ageing population does not become an excessive burden on the economy.

"New Zealand's immigration policy should largely be employer driven. That is, if an enterprise needs a certain skill and cannot obtain it here, a suitably skilled immigrant should be permitted entry. Those skilled in one of the vocations or trades are likely to top the list.

"While our first priority must be to educate and train our own young people, the skills base of immigrants must be tapped to the full."

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