More action needed to stop brain drain – ANZ NZ CEO

It will take years and investment to make NZ more productive, she says

More action needed to stop brain drain – ANZ NZ CEO


By Mina Martin

The government needs to step up its efforts to stop brain drain, according to ANZ’s New Zealand chief executive.

Speaking in Melbourne early this week, Antonia Watson said NZ businesses were "crying out" for staff.

“I totally understand that we want a more productive country, that will take years and investment,” Watson told 1news.

The ANZ NZ boss said she wanted to see government take more action to bring skilled workers into the country.

“You can't blame Kiwis for wanting to go overseas,” Watson told 1news. “That was a big part of what I did when I was young, and if they are going to go overseas, we need to replace that labour.”

According to Infometrics’ principal economist, Brad Olsen, New Zealand could lose an estimated 24,000 to 58,000 people in the next year, amid temptations of higher pay and lower living costs.

And while a recent survey found that one in four Australians are currently struggling to make ends meet, Watson doesn’t believe that’ll stop people from travelling to New Zealand.

“The cost of living, it is tough at the moment, but I don't see that as an impediment to travel and continuing a close economic relationship between the two countries,” she told 1news.

Speaking to media in Melbourne, NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said there is ongoing work towards boosting skilled worker shortages as borders opened.

Ardern also talked about an accredited employer process developed with Immigration Minister Michael Woods which makes it easier for businesses to access skilled workers that they need.

“It’s all a part of us encouraging those with the skills we need in New Zealand to come in as easily as possible,” she said.

Through the new accredited employer work visa, migrants offshore will be able to come to work in Aotearoa. This has had a large role in the latest developments to resolve shortages.

To brace for more tourists entering New Zealand, Ardern said “things like our working holiday visa actively promoting those and expanding the reach of those schemes to try and support those businesses,” 1news reported.

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