Locals lured with $110K pa

By Mike Barrington

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A recruitment company on the hunt for Northland men to work in Australia's booming mining industry says jobs paying at least $110,000 a year are on offer.

A seminar to lure tradesmen and other skilled workers to jobs in the Western Australia mining, oil and gas industries is expected to pack a Ruakaka hall on Friday.

A similar meeting will be held in Kaikohe on Thursday.

Thousands of New Zealanders are looking for new jobs and new lives in Australia. About 6000 people last weekend attended the Oz Jobs Expo in Auckland, at which Australian companies were headhunting Kiwi skills and experience.

A record 53,000 people moved to Australia in the year to February. In that 12 months, Statistics NZ says 1020 people from the Far North, 1438 from Whangarei district and 242 from Kaipara left New Zealand intending to stay overseas for a year or more.

The seminar at the Bream Bay Community Support Trust hall in Takutai Place, Ruakaka, from 7-8.30pm on Friday will be run by Douglas Foster, 57, formerly of Kaitaia.

Mr Foster is a director of the Reciprocus Pty Ltd recruitment company he set up in Perth with Edward Rihari, about 45, formerly of Whangarei, and David Whangapirita, 47, formerly of Gisborne.

The trio wanted to recruit tradesmen, skilled labourers and heavy machinery operators initially, with jobs for truck drivers and labourers expected to arise later. Camps being built at work sites around Western Australia were also producing jobs for chefs, cleaners and other occupations.

Mr Whangapirita said labourers assisting tradesmen could be looking at a $40 basic hourly rate which would be boosted to about $55 by loadings such as overtime and living away from home allowances.

"I have clients who gross about $4500 and take home about $3500 for working 10 hour days for six or seven days before they have time off," he said.

"Earnings here start around $110,000 and upwards."

Reciprocus wanted to recruit men for "fly-in, fly-out" rosters where they would work five weeks in Western Australia and return to New Zealand for a fortnight with their families before repeating the cycle.

"We don't want to uproot families from New Zealand. There's not enough housing in Western Australia. There's a 1 per cent vacancy rate for rental homes in Perth and when one becomes available about 50 families could bid for it," Mr Whangapirita said.

People wanting to attend the Ruakaka seminar should contact Phil Pikea on 021 121 0763.

Mr Pikea, who is Mr Rihari's uncle, said he expected "standing room only" at the seminar.

There was wide interest in it among people wanting to earn more money and an opportunity to improve prospects for their families, he said.

Winz had planned to send a vanload of people from Kaikohe to the Ruakaka seminar, but Reciprocus had decided to hold a similar meeting at the Kaikohe War Memorial Hall at 6pm on Thursday, Mr Pikea said.

- NORTHERN ADVOCATE

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