Government backtracks on Kiwibuild policy

Drive 27/06/2018

The Government has announced major changes to bring in thousands of builders and construction workers to fill a desperate skills shortage, making it easier for companies wanting to hire overseas workers. 

New Zealand is experiencing a shortage of 30,000 such workers, particularly plumbers, electricians, engineers, builders and project managers.

A Kiwibuild Skill Shortage list will mean a shorter overseas recruitment process for construction firms that are struggling to recruit locally.

It's a big shift from the Government's original Kiwibuild Visa plans but not unprecedented - it's the same way workers were brought in to rebuild Christchurch.

There is also a change of the policy that apprentices need to be hired for every foreign worker. That will no longer be the case.

Warwick Quinn, CEO of the Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation told RadioLIVE: “We can’t afford to turn down the immigration tap until such time that we can turn on the internal tap and make the internal pipeline of workers faster and more efficient.”

Mr Quinn says it’s important people understand it is a short term measure.

“You can’t do this without looking at the wider skills and construction issues that we face before the immigration one down.

But Mr Quinn told RadioLIVE Drive that the industry needs to look at the long term issues.

“And if we don’t try and tackle them now we’re just referring this problem to another day.”

Listen to the full interview with Warwick Quinn above.

Drive with Ryan Bridge and Lisa Owen, 3pm - 6pm Weekdays and streaming live on 'rova' channel 9 - available on Android and iPhone.