Heather du Plessis-Allan: Govt keeping the borders shut will end in tears

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Thu, 8 Jul 2021, 6:34PM

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Govt keeping the borders shut will end in tears

Author
Heather du Plessis-Allan,
Publish Date
Thu, 8 Jul 2021, 6:34PM

I think it’s becoming more and more obvious that we are drawing ever closer to some sort of crunch point with a worker shortage in this country.  

ASB this week warned that labour turnover has surged in the last three months, suggesting bosses are just desperately poaching staff off each other.

ANZ today pointed out we are very close to full employment, which is to say everyone who wants to work is working - and yet we still have employers crying out for workers.

We are, as Brad Olsen says, playing musical chairs, but we just have more chairs than people.

I think it’s also becoming more and more obvious that Covid isn’t the only reason workers can’t get in.

As immigration lawyer Alastair McClymont said to Mike Hosking Breakfast this morning, this is deliberate. The government is cutting off the foreign worker supply to try to force up wages.

It’s not going to work; it’s going to end in tears.

There’s an example of this in history that explains how this is probably going to play out. 

Back at the end of 1964, the Kennedy Government stopped Mexican workers from being able to cross the border for seasonal work on farms.

Again, they thought these workers were driving down wage rates and stealing jobs off Americans.

The end of result of that was that farms that relied on these workers couldn’t’ hire Americans, so they did exactly exactly what our government wants our bosses to do and they invested in equipment.

They pulled up their crops, bought equipment, and turned to farming things that were more easily done by machines than people.

And you know what happened to wages? Nothing, they stayed the same. 

So this giant experiment with trying to push up wages is probably not going to work, but will happen is that businesses will fall over while this experiment continues.

So this will end in tears and we’re nearly at the crunch point.