Calls for workers are being echoed throughout the automotive industry in New Zealand as it continues to experience labour shortages while the Government does little to help, says the Motor Trade Association (MTA).
Earlier in October, the Government announced it will re-open the Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) visa from mid-November but the MTA claims it won’t be enough to meet the skills in demand.
“We know the labour shortage is the number one issue keeping member businesses up at night,” MTA Advocacy Manager Brian Anderton says.
“We simply do not have the labour market supply to meet the skills in demand. We have raised this with immigration officials, and recently with Minister Michael Wood.
“Many automotive businesses are at least one staff member short and in a lot of cases, several members short.”
While the MTA wants the Government to do more, it’s doing everything it can to source local talent by offering the best wages and conditions possible.
But although young Kiwis are entering the industry, there just aren’t enough of them doing so.
A recent report from Newstalk ZB exemplified the hardships some workshops are going through. One such shop was Steve Nuich Panelbeaters in Auckland which had to shut down after four decades due to a lack of available workers.
“Automotive workers need to be recognised as skilled, and valued as important,” Anderton added.
In 2021, the automotive industry contributed $3.5 billion to the New Zealand economy which the MTA says needs to be factored into future immigration decisions.