Publication:

Katikati Advertiser - 2021-07-22

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Country needs debate over changes

Your Community Voice

There is an urgent need to have a national debate about the decisions that the Government is making across a range of sectors, many of which were not signalled at the election. Labour needs to front up and explain to the country what they intend to do with the recommendations from the He Puapua report and their plans to take water services away from local councils. New Zealanders deserve to be a part of these conversations. Moreover, we still don’t know how the country will reconnect with the world once the vaccine has been rolled out. The Government is receiving advice about the possible scenarios. They should share this information with Kiwis so we can start to plan with an aspect of certainty. This secrecy is all the more disappointing when you consider the severe labour shortages we are facing as a country. Cancelling 50,000 immigrant applications doesn’t help matters. Business owners and operators in the Western Bay of Plenty are telling me that the inability to recruit staff is their biggest challenge. I’ve even heard from some in Katikati that they are actually downsizing their business because they can’t get staff. In a perfect world, these jobs would be filled by New Zealanders, but the reality is we need skilled migrants to keep our economy afloat. For months there have been spare rooms in MIQ which could have been allocated to these people. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be any desire to adjust the current settings, so it’s likely that struggles of businesses and industries will continue.

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