15 August 2018
Alliance Group’s plan to recruit 100 overseas workers is a necessary move and representative of Southland’s increasing labour-force shortages, Southland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Sheree Carey says.
As Alliance has indicated, its preference is to employ New Zealanders but significant shortages of skilled and unskilled candidates at processing plants in recent years have forced it to look further afield for staff, she said.
Alliance was a global business with stringent quality, processing and production standards, with obligations to its farmer owners and customers around the world, she said.
“It’s unfortunate that some potential local candidates do not meet Alliance’s criteria.”
Southland is a highly productive region, with 2.2 per cent of the population contributing about 14 per cent of New Zealand’s tradable exports.
About 70 per cent of the region’s GDP was derived from exports and any disruption to a major exporter would have a significant flow-on effect to the wider economy, Carey said.
Southland has the lowest unemployment rate of any region, at just 3 per cent.
“This recruitment is necessary in the current climate, and what we as a region and business community should now be focusing on is welcoming and supporting the new people to our region.”
Southland workplaces were becoming increasingly diverse with increased migration to the region, she said.
The Alliance plan and other migrant recruitment underway would be necessary for the region to achieve the Southland Regional Development Strategy goal of 10,000 more people by 2025, she said.
Southland’s growing economy was presenting a range of other excellent employment opportunities across primary and manufacturing industries, and significant numbers of construction staff were likely to be needed in Southland in the near future, Carey said.