Regions need immigrants

The hospitality industry outside main centers is in desperate need of staff:

A serious shortage of kitchen staff has seen renowned Moeraki restaurateur Fleur Sullivan resort to washing the dishes herself.

“We’re going into summer with a skeleton staff. It’s terrifying at the moment.

“I’ve been doing the dishes flat out.” 

Sullivan, who is advertising for three chefs and also needs a dish washer and a kitchen hand, is desperate to bolster her team before the visitor peak hits bringing more than 200 diners a day. 

Restaurant Association chief executive Marisa Bidois said staff shortages were an issue throughout the country, but small towns and isolated areas were really struggling to recruit cafe, bar and restaurant workers.

In a recent survey 65 per cent of hospitality businesses reported extreme difficulty hiring chefs with positions advertised repeatedly to find suitable candidates. . . .

When employers have a vacancy they have to establish there are no local people who can do the work before they’re able to take on a worker from overseas.

The position has to be advertised and employers have to liaise with WINZ to ensure no-one who is registered as unemployed would be suitable.

The pool of local labour in a small place like Moeraki is very, very small.

Any locals who can and want to work will be working.

Yet employers like Fleur have to go through the process every time they need more staff. That can be within days or even hours of having completed the process if another staff member leaves.

The system needs to have a bit of flexibility to recognise  the difficulties employers in remote wares face and allow them to employ staff without going through the time consuming and expensive rigmarole every time they have a vacancy.

The Opposition keep saying there are too many immigrants. That’s certainly not the case in Moeraki and places like it where there are not nearly enough locals for the available work.


8 Responses to Regions need immigrants

  1. Bulaman says:

    The problem in Moeraki will be a lack of affordable places to stay. The motor camp (cabins) is probably the only place a kitchen hand could afford (unless she is paying the “living wage” (yeah right)).
    Disclosure: I used to have a crib in Moeraki.


  2. homepaddock says:

    Bulaman – Fleur has houses for her staff and she pays more than the minimum wage.

    But a restauranter in Wanaka told me his staff paid $250 a week to share a 6-bed room in a backpackers. He pays above the minimum wage and staff get tips but even so that would be a couple of days’ wages.


  3. Will says:

    Why can’t someone from Oamaru take the job? It’s only 30 minutes. Two members of my immediate family drive further than that for work. I don’t believe there is such a labour shortage down there that immigration is the only answer.


  4. homepaddock says:

    It’s nearer 40 minutes drive and people can and do drive that far and further for work.

    But when repeated advertisements don’t attract local people willing and able to do that for work, employers look to immigrants, many of whom will be young people on working holiday visas.


  5. Will says:

    That brings us to the real issue though. Have we made it too easy for lazy people to avoid the effort of getting and keeping a job, and is this really good for them in the long run? Are we actually harming our own people?

    A quick glance at trip adviser tells me the distance is 33 minutes but I’ll accept your word on it. Doesn’t change my opinion.


  6. Paranormal says:

    And what has happened to tertiary students looking for work over the holidays?


  7. Mr E says:

    I do believe that cheap immigrants does affect our market based system, and when this occurs we need to be very mindful.

    On the whole, I prefer that immigrants increase the GDP per capita.

    I’m not sure this is the case at Fleurs?

    It is with a high level of hypocrisy that I say this. I have all sorts of immigrant blood running through my veins and really have no idea if my ancestors increased the GDP per capita.

    Which is why I state it as a preference.


  8. homepaddock says:

    Mr E – Fleur’s business contributes to GDP and it can’t do so to its full potential with insufficient staff.


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