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Immigration minister says more migrants needed to aid Christchurch rebuild

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse has spoken of the increasing need for migrant workers in the effort to rebuild Christchurch.

The rebuild process in Christchurch has steadily been picking up steam since the devastating earthquake in February, 2011 but Mr Woodhouse says more labour is needed from overseas to ensure the project can continue.

‘There is no doubt in my mind that the rebuild is going to require a significant number of migrant labour’, the minister told The Nation this week.

Mr Woodhouse said the project would need 35,000 workers when the rebuild was in full flow and there are only an estimated 18,000 workers in the country currently.

With such a huge investment in labour and infrastructure which has strengthened the NZ economy, some critics have argued that Kiwis should be first in line for jobs yet employers argue that with the immediacy of the labour shortages, training unskilled locals is unfeasible.

‘[Workers] need to be experienced’, said one employer. ‘They need to have an ability to hit the ground running.’

Another employer said industries in New Zealand could not afford to be ‘high jacked by a lack of labour’.

‘If we can’t get Kiwis in these roles, then we’ve got to make it easy to attract and retain good immigrant labour.


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