Grim snapshot of economy on public display
A snapshot of the parlous state of the New Zealand economy will be on show in Auckland this weekend as nearly 6000 work-hungry Kiwis are expected to flock to the Oz Jobs Expo.
And contrary to what some politicians and pundits might think, New Zealand is likely to be the poorer for their departure.
Expo spokesman Jason Clayton says most of the 32 companies represented at the job fest at the SkyCity Convention Centre are looking for “educated, experienced and focused people who are in the mid-20 to mid-40 age group”.
“There are no jobs going for bus drivers so they needn’t bother coming along,” he joked to NBR ONLINE.
“But if you’re either a welder, boilermaker, electrician or a doctor, nurse, teacher, engineer, geologist, then there are plenty of employers looking for you.”
Driving the demand for such people is, of course, Australia’s seemingly endless mining and resources boom.
Which explains why the line-up of exhibitors at the expo include BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, New Hope Group, Newmont Mining, the Commonwealth Bank and Westpac Banking.
Between them they are dangling a large carrot which many New Zealanders find irresistible: around $95,000 a year for nurses, $500,000 for general practitioners, $250,000 for engineers and $140,000 for skilled mine workers.
Even someone shifting boxes in a warehouse can expect to earn just under $70,000 a year.
The downside is that many of the jobs are in remote corners of the Lucky Country, far removed from the trappings of civilisation as we know it.
The Northern Territory, in particular, is on the lookout for qualified Kiwis to work in its burgeoning resources sector.
Over the next few years it plans on recruiting about 20,000 people for jobs paying from $128,000 to $250,000 a year.
“They’ve got major offshore oil and gas projects happening over the next decade,” says Jason Clayton, “and Darwin will be a major facility for that.”
“The population could, in fact, grow by up to 60,000 as they will need people for auxiliary jobs created by the resources boom.”
For New Zealanders struggling to make ends meet in a sluggish economy the jobs on offer at the Oz Expo probably seem too good to be true and may be they are.
But it didn’t stop 53,000 Kiwis packing their bags last year for a new life among the crocodiles and kangaroos of the Northern Territory or wherever, and seeing what was on offer.
After this weekend there could be another 6000 joining them.