Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


Government Must Ease Border Blockage For Critical Workers

A chokepoint at the border is blocking entry of critical workers and suffocating the economy, according to a new paper from The New Zealand Initiative.

New Zealand’s small size means both the public and private sectors often need international experts with niche skills. Without them, economic activity across the economy risks grinding to a halt, said author and Initiative chairman Roger Partridge.

Capacity constraints on managed isolation facilities means exemptions to enter the country from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) for overseas workers are hard to come by.

To qualify for a border exemption, businesses must show their need for an offshore worker falls within one of five specified criteria. The criteria are heavily weighted towards Government-approved projects or events. For projects not on the Government’s list, officials decide which overseas worker applications are “critical” and which are not.

But Partridge said a recent survey of Initiative members revealed serious shortcomings with MBIE’s system.

“Many of New Zealand’s major businesses say the process is overly bureaucratic, inflexible and lacks transparency,” Partridge said.

“By restricting businesses from bringing in critical offshore workers, the border chokehold risks strangling the life out of the economy.”

The feedback he has received from New Zealand’s largest businesses is “sobering.”

“Major projects will stagnate, costs will overrun and critical overseas staff will be lost. As a result, both the economy and employment levels will suffer,” he said.

Partridge said the Initiative outlined how managed isolation and quarantine capacity could be upscaled in the think tank’s July research note, Safe Arrivals.

With businesses willing to meet the cost, existing budget constraints for Government-provided managed isolation could be significantly relaxed. This would increase the range of available facilities.

In the meantime, Partridge said MBIE must ditch its application-based approach to granting border exemptions. Government officials have no way of knowing which critical workers are most critical to the economy.

“To solve this knowledge deficit, border exemptions allocated to business should be auctioned in the same way MBIE auctions scarce radio frequencies. That way the Government could be sure the economy gets the best return for its scarce entry permits,” Partridge said.

But the bigger concern is fixing the capacity constraints. To avoid stifling the economic recovery, this must become the Government’s priority.

Read more:
Roger Partridge's paper Extra quarantine capacity for ‘critical workers’ is critical is available here

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Whether This Election Is Already A Foregone Conclusion

Currently, this election looks like being a no contest. The weekend’s Newshub poll has the centre left enjoying a roughly 57-36% lead over the centre right. Labour is on 50.1% and the Greens 6.5%, while National remains in the dreaded 20s at 29.6% and the Act Party is on 6.3%. Conditions continue to look terminal for New Zealand First. Despite being a stubborn brake on government tax policy and winning a few policy gains of its own, NZF is registering only a 1.9% level of support... More>>


Economy: Business Leaders’ Confidence Tanks As Top Kiwi CEOs Vent Their Frustrations

The New Zealand Herald’s Mood of the Boardroom 2020 Election Survey has been released with top business leaders saying New Zealand’s Covid-19 recovery is in peril – and they want a decisive role with Government in the country’s future. The annual ... More>>


Poll: Newshub-Reid Research Poll Shows National Rising But Labour Still Governing Alone

With less than three weeks to go, Labour remains in a position where it could govern alone in the latest Newshub-Reid Research poll* on 50.1% - down 10.8 percentage points. National has risen slightly to 29.6% (up 4.5 percentage points), but even with the ... More>>


Winston Peters Speech: The Gathering Storm Clouds: Ihumatao

Frequently around New Zealand you hear people say that politicians are all the same. It’s a convenient way to dismiss any careful investigation of the truth of that statement. New Zealand First since its inception has been committed to ‘one law ... More>>


National Agriculture Policy: Will Restore Farmer Confidence And Pride

A National Government will reduce regulatory burden and give farmers confidence for the future. Leader of the National Party Judith Collins and Agriculture spokesperson David Bennett announced National’s Agriculture policy in Gisborne today. “Agriculture ... More>>


Government: Taking Action To Reduce Waste And Plastics

Phase out single use and hard to recycle plastics by 2025 Create a $50m Plastics Innovation Fund to develop alternatives Standardise kerbside recycling The Labour Party is taking the next step in removing plastic rubbish from our oceans and environment ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Last Night’s Leaders Debate

Do political debates change voter intentions, and cause voters to switch sides? According to a 2019 Harvard Business School study conducted across 61 elections in nine countries involving 172,000 respondents, the answer would seem to be a resounding ... More>>


Dunne Speaks: The Election Campaign Just Grinds Slowly On And On

With just over three weeks until the General Election, the release of the first major pre-election opinion poll this week confirmed what was already being reported about this year’s campaign. Although the gap between Labour and National has narrowed ... More>>

Electoral Commission: Candidate And Party Lists Released

17 registered political parties and 677 candidates will be contesting the 2020 General Election Nominations have now closed and the Electoral Commission has released the electorate and party list candidates for 2020 online at vote.nz . Advance voting ... More>>

National: Plan To Restore NZ’s Prosperity

National’s Economic and Fiscal Plan carefully balances the need to invest in infrastructure and core public services while also reducing tax pressure on Kiwi families and businesses. National Leader Judith Collins and Finance spokesperson Paul Goldsmith unveiled National’s ... More>>






InfoPages News Channels