Im­mi­gra­tion Min­is­ter ready for lively Ti­maru de­bate

The Timaru Herald - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

PHOTO: JOHN BISSET/STUFF

An aerial view of the Opihi River rail­way bridge.

Iain Lees-Gal­loway

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