The Influencers: Leeann Watson

Migrant workers needed

After a bumpy few months for the Canterbury Business Community, a return to normality is finally on the horizon.

With confidence levels at an all time low, and with many Cantabrians isolating at home, it has certainly been challenging for business.

By and large our economy has performed well, with the notable exception of the hospitality and events sector which has borne the brunt of restrictive measures. Fortunately, the light at the end of tunnel is becoming more visible.

The recent eradication of vaccine passes, easing capacity limits and removing them altogether for outside gatherings has immediately had a positive impact throughout the city. The buzz from the Women’s Cricket World Cup was palpable. With Hagley Park near capacity for the final match, Cantabrians and

Christchurch did us proud on the world stage with an international audience of over 180 million.

We are eager to see a shift down to the orange traffic light setting as soon as possible. Public health evidence suggests we have passed the peak of Covid-19 infections, so removing the burdensome restrictions that have in many cases placed a handbrake on business is the right thing to do.

As the borders reopen, we expect to hear more about what this will mean for immigration. The critical worker shortage remains the single largest barrier to business in New Zealand at present.

Combine that shortage with the current brain drain and the urgent need for a pragmatic immigration policy becomes even more abundantly clear.

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