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this month, I spoke to Matt McLean on the TVNZ Breakfast show about migration.
The Australian Government had recently announced a proposal to force new
migrants to settle in regional areas in a bid to ease pressure on Sydney,
Melbourne and Brisbane. The proposal suggested the Australian Government could
introduce visa conditions limiting where some migrants live for up to five
years, citing that it would not only ease congestion on the major cities, but also
more rapidly grow the smaller states and regions.
Matt about such a proposal, I commented on how we in Ashburton are working to
attract and retain migrants and other newcomers in our district through
initiatives such as the Welcoming Communities pilot programme. This programme
is all about helping newcomers feel part of their new community, through making
connections and being made to feel valued and welcomed.
vitally important because while also contributing to a district that is rich in
cultures, migrants play a key part in meeting our labour demands, which helps
to boost our local economy. Thousands of
people have left their home countries to put down new roots in our area in
recent years, helping to fill our skills shortage, but there are still
businesses and employers in our community trying to fill jobs.
understood that this was a big issue for our district, and commissioned a plan
to assess Ashburton’s labour force and address the labour shortage. The Council
received this Labour Force Plan at our meeting yesterday (Tuesday 30 October).
A key point
from the plan was that while we are the 6th most desired district
for business, we are also the 12th most desired for living. While
these are excellent outcomes on their own, they also imply that Ashburton is
viewed more favourably as a place to do business than as a place to live and
this could help explain why we don’t have enough people to fill job vacancies.
Attracting people to live in our district is therefore essential.
shortage has real impacts on our district. The plan reported that it actually
costs Ashburton $16 million per year in terms of lost output, and if left
unchecked, this could rise to over $100 million by 2030.
forward, implementing this plan will be a crucial part of ensuring that our
district continues to grow and proposer for years to come. That is why the
Labour Force Plan has been referred to the Council’s Chief Executive, Hamish
Riach, to be implemented as appropriate. You can read the full Ashburton Labour
Force Plan on the Council website www.ashburtondc.govt.nz