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March 2015

Sustainable Workforce Solutions Sought For Queenstown

Published: Tuesday 10 March 2015

The New Zealand government is continuing to discuss ways to best fill worker shortages in the popular tourist resort of Queenstown. Streamlined immigration rules were announced last month as a short term solution to help employers in Queenstown through this period of high demand. However, government representatives are keen to ensure that overseas workers don’t fill jobs at the expense of local workers, and that the employment market in the region remains sustainable.

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse says the temporary changes to immigration rules have been designed to relieve the immediate pressures over the peak visitor season in Queenstown and expire in June. “Our goal is to help employers help themselves, by facilitating industry action and removing blockages,” he explained. “First and foremost we will ensure New Zealanders are at the front of the queue in regard to both jobs and training. Where a New Zealander isn’t available, immigration will continue to be an option to attract higher skilled workers industry needs to maintain growth”. 

Associate Tourism Minister Paula Bennett also expressed pleasure at the way the employment situation in Queenstown is being handled. “The Government is making it a priority to work with the tourism industry to address workforce issues. I was really impressed with the work that the Queenstown tourism industry is doing to train, recruit, and retain New Zealand workers,” she said. “The tourism sector is a vibrant, growing industry committed to providing visitors with a fantastic New Zealand experience. Today we committed to working together to ensure that Queenstown has the workforce it needs not just today but in the future”.