Immigration Minister ready for lively Timaru debate
South Cantabrians concerned over immigration, especially in rural employment, will get the chance to grill the Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway next week.
Lees-Galloway will be in Timaru on March 8 as part of a tour of the regions.
He will visit local businesses and farming representatives, and will speak at a meeting hosted by the South Canterbury Chamber of Commerce.
Lees-Galloway, who anticipates a lively conversation at the meeting, said the current one stop shop approach to immigration has not provided optimum outcomes.
‘‘We’re looking to take a more regional-based approach.
‘‘There are areas that are in need of more workers, while there are others where the need is less intense. We need to have a conversation about how we can do better,’’ he said.
In the run up to last year’s general election, the Labour Party promised cutting immigration to between 20,000 and 30,000 a year, from current levels of around 70,000.
In January, National Rangitata MP Andrew Falloon said the proposal would hit the region’s employers who were already relying on skilled and semi-skilled workers from abroad.
An aerial view of the Opihi River railway bridge.