Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Mike Hosking: Our international border closure risks NZ being left behind


Do you think our government has thought about immigration lately? Do you think they have a plan to get international students back? And if they do, when? 

What about the chronic labour shortages? Do you think there is a plan that could be unleashed tomorrow to ramp returns up when the border opens? By the way, when do you think the border is opening? 

Australia has announced 200,000 visas. Australia also has its border open. So a quick question, for starters, would be how is it that Australia can open its borders and we can't? How is it they're inviting hundreds of thousands into the country to fire up the economy and we haven't? 

Fear will cripple our economy. International education here was worth $5 billion a year. We've all seen the damage to various industries as people who once arrived to do the work haven't, and so the work hasn’t been done. 

There is the ideological battle between business and government over labour and its shortage. 

The theory, and this is the stuff you pick up when you spend half your life in university, but the theory is that if you pay more, locals who didn’t want to do the work previously would suddenly do it. 

That’s not true and the people who grow the apples, pears, and stone-fruit found that out last season. 

By the time you boost the minimum wage, boost the benefits through debt, and then expect employers to boost it even further through wages that aren't supported by the productivity and output required, you find yourself in real trouble. 

That's before you get to the fact you’ve got full employment due to the fact you’ve shrunk the economy to the point where the only people out of work can't, or don’t want to, do the work. 

I used to get a hard time when I talked of the New South Wales approach to Covid. And yet weeks in, its back open, restrictions gone, health system intact, economy being pumped as shoppers go nuts. There's not so many critics now. 

For Victoria and New South Wales, at least the planes arriving will soon be full of students and workers, and we are still working out how the traffic lights work. 

Mike Hosking is a New Zealand television and radio broadcaster. He currently hosts The Mike Hosking Breakfast show on NewstalkZB on weekday mornings.

1 comment:

DeeM said...

This government is very risk averse when it comes to Covid - it's flagship policy!
Typical left-wing, nanny-state that promises to make your lunch and wipe your nose for you...then runs out of workers to pick the salad and doesn't order enough tissues from China.
They think being last is best when it comes to Covid - and I'm beginning to think that a fair chunk of the NZ population agree with them.