Hospitality the 'forgotten industry' as horticulture gains access to offshore workers

The AM Show 03/08/2021

Hospitality NZ CEO Julia White says that the hospitality industry feels as though they're the 'forgotten industry', after the government announced a one-way quarrantine free travel policy to help support horticulture shortages.

"I'd love to know who Horticulture (NZ, industry lobby group) spoke to, because we've certainly been in dialogue with the Government," White told The AM Show.

"At the end of the day, this is offensive. We have been advocating for such a long time. We've been at the brunt of the COVID impact since February last year. "

"All we're asking for is access to some skilled labour so we can actually literally open our doors. It's gotten so bad that our members are having to actually close their doors. Some are actually hibernating, and they can't come out of hibernation until they actually get access to these skilled staff."

"What's another kick in the guts is Canada is now targeting New Zealand. Canada has already opened its doors up to any hospitality worker. Not only are we struggling to get staff here, we're going to have to compete with other countries." 

"The Government has told us to train more and pay more," said White. "We have absolutely done that. We are stepping up as an industry. But don't forget you can't wake up overnight and become a chef - it takes years to develop this skill."