Can you boil an egg?
December 4 2017 by Scott Stevens
Immigration is always a hot topic in the Wakatipu. The need for workers to feed our thriving tourism industry seems to be endless. Inevitably, some of those workers take a particular shine to New Zealand and look to turn a working holiday into permanent residency. This is a story told over and over again in Queenstown. Local and national media have picked up on our new Clutha Southland Member of Parliament Hamish Walker’s crusade to help one Queenstown based family in their fight to stay in New Zealand. However, there are many more stories that do not get headlines, and most do not have a happy ending. It was like losing a family member when one of my friends also an employee was sent packing by Immigration NZ last month. And that decision was under the last National Government’s immigration policy. Our new Labour/NZ First/Green Government is promising a much tougher stance. That’s a scary thought for business people like myself who are already feeling the staffing pinch.
To rub salt into my wounds and others affected by seemingly heartless and mystifyingly inconsistent decisions by Immigration NZ, our new Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern makes light of Kiwi citizenship by joking that British singer Ed Sheeran would need to answer a couple of silly questions to establish his credentials for New Zealand citizenship - Do you like Pineapple Lumps? Are you willing to wear jandals in semi-inappropriate situations? (www.stuff.co.nz, 29 November). We love a good joke from those whose decisions and political policies can rip the heart out of communities like Queenstown. Hilarious.
The now Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters, when he stood in front of a packed crowd at the pre-election debate at the Queenstown Memorial Centre and argued for a cut in immigration numbers, claimed that many qualifying for visas now do not have the skills they say they have. Particularly chefs, who according to Peters “can’t even boil an egg”. My response to the Ardern/Peters comedy show, please ask Ed Sheeran this question: Can you boil an egg? Because in today’s Lakes Weekly and on Queenstown’s online job site www.jobfix.co.nz there are 150 new hospitality job vacancies listed in Queenstown, 46 of which are for cooks and chefs. This skills shortage three weeks away from Christmas and New Year when Queenstown will have over 50,000 visitors a day all looking for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
If PM Ardern insists on cracking jokes about immigration policy, at the very least she should be taking a leaf out of her deputy Winton Peters wise cracking joke book. Ed Sheeran, can you boil an egg? Have a look at the job requirements in the back half of the Lakes Weekly and ask the question, can you transport an egg, count an egg, lift an egg, wash an egg, boil an egg and serve an egg?