COMMENT:

Quick question, how does the closure of the Madam Woo restaurant in Dunedin help our economy?

It doesn't.

Why did it close? Because of a lack of skilled people to work in it. What's driving this is the government's inability to see the obvious and act on it?

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The number of skilled migrants coming to this country has halved. Why? Because we make it too hard for them.

Industry after industry is going to the government and the appropriate department, and arguing their case to get their labour and the skills required onto the shortage list.

If it's not on the shortage list, you have to hire locals. What if you can't hire locals? Well, you go bust. How is this good business? How is this any way to run the economy? How many businesses have to go bust because they simply couldn't get hands on deck before someone in charge realises that getting labour shouldn't be an issue?

And if it is, it should be fixed.

Trees that don't get planted, $400 a day, $2000 a week, $8000 a month, $100,000 a year. Can they get anyone locally? No, they cannot. Now, that fact we can't, it's a scandal. And it puts a lie to that tired, old union-based argument that wages aren't high enough.

$100,000 is twice the median wage in this country, and it's well above the urban average in the major cites of about $75,000.

But as big a scandal as lazy locals might be, the bigger issue for now is the damage being done to our economic base by simply refusing to do the obvious, and open the doors to those who want to work, and for those want to hire them.

And when, and if, one day a long queue of locked out locals forms, and they argue they can't get a job because all the foreigners have taken them, then let's have a look at our immigration settings. But you know what? We'll be waiting more than a lifetime for that queue to form.

Because there is now too much proof, from too many industries, involving too many jobs, and too many skills to continue to argue migration is bad, or that migration takes work from locals, because it doesn't.

Ask Madam Woo's owners. Ask anyone in hospitality, trucking, building, or any trade. They're all desperate, and they're all banging their collective heads against a government department wall who simply have not been instructed by this government to act on the bleeding obvious, and put out the hiring now sign.