“Economic Development Minister Stuart Nash must have been away with the fairies when he insulted employers who take migrant workers, says ACT’s immigration spokesperson James McDowall.

“This morning, speaking on Newstalk ZB, Mr Nash said: “We just can’t keep relying on overseas workers without trying to attract Kiwis in any way shape or form.”

“Overwhelmingly, employers seek New Zealand residents first and take immigrant workers only when they can’t get a New Zealand resident. If Stuart Nash had any idea what employers go through to get workers through immigration, he would not have made his silly comments.

“Hiring an immigrant worker exposes the employer to the rigmarole of Immigration New Zealand processing, often a long and uncertain process

“In reality, New Zealand has a population of five million people, and 25 million Australians who by and large already have higher wages. Almost no business in the developed world tries to grow while restricted to a labour market of five million. The EU has 500 million, the US 330 million, most Asian countries tens if not hundreds of millions. New Zealand business needs to be able to attract skills from outside our borders.

“Stuart Nash went on to further insult business people by saying “A lot of the jobs where they can’t get Kiwis is because they pay really low wages and have poor conditions, so what we’re actually saying is if you want to attract Kiwis, how about paying them a decent wage and how about giving them decent working conditions, I think that’s pretty fair.”

“Most New Zealand businesses do their best by their employees. We have a minimum wage that has risen considerably under Labour. To say a lot have poor conditions is punishing the majority for the behaviour of a small few.

“At the boat show this weekend, we heard from boat builders who are losing orders because they cannot attract staff. One told us they could hire 30 people tomorrow, and need to if they’re going to fill their orders.

“Once again, this Government has shown how it pursues short term ideological goals with no understanding of the reality of business.”

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