There is no doubt in this age of New Zealand, employers will tell us there just aren't enough Kiwi's who are trained in the areas we need, or willing to take on some of the roles we need them to do in order to progress at the speed we are requiring to fulfil the promises of those in power. The promises that have been made to house the needy, improve the roads, and develop New Zealand for a brighter future.
We also know that our rival across the Tasman can and is offering the same opportunities to skilled migrants- the same positions, the same educational opportunities and in many cases offering better packages than we are to go with them.
So why New Zealand? Why should people choose to relocate here, bring their family, uproot their life instead of going elsewhere?
Most would say because of the lifestyle. The people I have spoken to believe New Zealand to be a safe, beautiful country full of hope for their children and their future. So what is the reality of life when they get here? In many cases it is far from the picturesque 'hobbit' land they have viewed on the big screen or seen in all the promotional material on the Tourism Guides For New Zealand.
Where is the lifestyle that they dream of, when so many people can barely afford a roof over their heads and food in their bellies? When the so called rich are borrowing at great rates for school fees and yearly holidays from group funding platforms to fulfil the dream of the magnificent lifestyle? When the transport the system affects the commute in major cities to make work life balance unmanageable? When the health sector is in turmoil, the education system under review and the mental health statistics in this country are off the charts and under catered for? The real New Zealand is somewhat different to the pictures. Real life is not necessarily what one had imagined.
Employers have an obligation therefore if they are going to employ from overseas to fill the jobs we require to change how we are providing for them and their family. They need to start living up to the dream that is promised and value those people they need to do the jobs required. They need to give support to the migrant community, their family both in the workplace and at home and and they need to work together to understand each others values, and beliefs so as not to be fearful of the unknown, but appreciative of the differences each one brings to our country.
This is the only way we will achieve our 'new' New Zealand. By working together to develop 'cultural intelligence' within each one of us, we will get to know our own core values as 'New Zealanders' and appreciate others. We will not change everyone's attitudes, but we may be able to change behaviours- within the workplace, within our schools and within our communities. We may not all agree on every topic, but it is because of the diversity of thought we will develop richer ideas and be able to compete in a global market. We may not communicate in the same way, but if we learn how to communicate effectively we will achieve new goals.
Thank goodness for the initiatives such as the 'Welcoming Communities' project. The smaller centres that are embracing new arrivals to their regions and developing plans to support them. Watch those communities flourish. Watch them become the cities of choice for new migrant families. Watch them become the 'multitude of cultures', that while they 'salute our flag', 'follow our laws' and 'honour our institutions'(Winston Peters, 2016) will also remain true to their cultural core, which lies within each one of us .