Southland dairy industry booming, needs 18,000 skilled workers

- Posted in New Zealand by Visa Bureauon 02 September 2008

The Mayor, Tim Shadbolt, told reporters Southland employers are set to launch a raiding party to lure Auckland’s workers in the north of the country to their region. 

At next month’s New Zealand Herald's Your Career Expo, Shadbolt said he will be setting up a village rather than a stall in a desperate attempt to entice thousands of skilled workers to Southland.

"We're desperate. We have a booming dairy industry with 100 farms waiting for conversion, we've got dairy factories opening in Invercargill and Gore, and the Fonterra factory is being doubled in size."

Scott O'Donnell, Managing Director of the Richardson Group, said his company needs 30 workers and is paying wages that compete well with Auckland’s.  He told the news provider this will benefit workers greatly, as the cost of living in Southland is considerably less than in Auckland.

Recent figures show that Southland has the nation’s fastest growing economy, with 3.4 per cent annual growth in the year to March (Auckland’s economy grew by 1.7 per cent, which is below the national average).  It was also the only region in which the number of car registrations increased, and has the second-highest retail spending in the country.

"If Southland was a country it would be near the top of the OECD for economic growth," Shadbolt says. "Why wouldn't you want to live here?"

"While every other region in New Zealand is suffering from a decrease in housing values, ours went up 8 per cent over the past year, which has helped stabilise our economy," he added.

The Government is campaigning world-wide for international students and skilled workers to move to New Zealand so that shortages in the skilled workforce can be filled.  This month, Government officials are running an information seminar in India to entice more foreign students to work and study in the country on New Zealand student visas.

The New Zealand Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people emigrate to New Zealand.

Article by Jessica Bird, New Zealand Visa Bureau.