Chch rebuild companies will have to find skilled workers - English

Companies that expect to be involved in rebuilding Christchurch will be responsible for ensuring they have the skilled workers they need, Finance Minister Bill English said.

He was questioned in Parliament yesterday about figures showing carpenters, plumbers and other building trade professionals left for Australia last month at a rate of 20 a day.

Labour's finance spokesman, David Cunliffe, wanted to know how companies were going to cope with that sort of exodus.

"Of course it will be tight, because they are competing with very, very large salaries, particularly those in Western Australia where something like $250 billion worth of capital projects are in the pipeline," Mr English said.

"In the first place, it is the responsibility of the companies that expect to rebuild Christchurch to ensure that they have the skills."

The latest migration statistics, released yesterday, showed a net outflow of 3300 migrants to Australia last month, up from 1700 in May 2010 and higher than the previous May record of 2900 in 1979.

Mr Cunliffe said "the real truth" was that Kiwis were fed up with the Government's rhetoric and were voting with their feet.

"The National Government has done nothing to help create jobs and continues to do little about closing the wage gap (with Australia) which now stands at 30 percent," he said.

ACT MP John Boscawen asked Mr English whether the gap had narrowed or widened since National came to power.

Mr English said he couldn't give precise figures.

"In any given year or two the gap might move one way or the other," he said.

"In the last quarter it has probably moved in favour of New Zealand."

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