The Labour Party’s latest proposal to place a tax on employers to make sure that businesses are doing more job training rather than hiring migrants is doomed to fail.
This proposal implies that businesses are not pulling their weight, which is not the case. New Zealand has one of the lowest employment rates in the world at just below five percent. This proposal has not been thought through.
Let me cite the example of an ethnic restaurant with Chinese or Indian chefs.
The restaurant-owner would be expected to employ a young New Zealander at the same time as a Chinese or Indian chef so that they can have the time to train the New Zealander. To have an existing staff member undertake the training would place a huge burden on the employer already experiencing a skill shortage.
This would involve two lots of wages being paid for one job. It would take longer than six months to train such a chef. The same issues would apply to the construction and IT industries.
What happens when the New Zealander is fully trained? Surely, the owner would need to sack the migrant who has provided the training. You would not get a migrant to come to New Zealand to be a trainer. Plus, this practice would undermine the role of training institutions.
Work and Benefit
I suggest that the current practice of unemployment benefit should be accompanied by some work requirement.
Labour recently stated that work would be available in conservation and tourism. Why is this employment not being offered now when the unemployed are all receiving a benefit?
June Ranson is Chair of the New Zealand Association for Migration and Investment (NZAMI), a professional association for immigration specialists. The organisation is made up of lawyers and licensed immigration advisers who must uphold professional standards and comply with the Association’s strict Code of Ethics.