Govt urged to move on 'stifling' immigration settings amid high inflation

Employers can help themselves amid high inflation

Govt urged to move on 'stifling' immigration settings amid high inflation

The Auckland Business Chamber on Thursday called on the government to "move on" on what it described are "stifling" immigration settings so employers can help themselves amid inflation.

"Government needs to move on the stifling immigration settings so employers can bring in the skills to meet demand and build productivity and competitiveness," said Michael Barnett, the chamber's chief executive, in a statement.

According to the chief executive, there are things that employers can do to help themselves in mitigating the annual inflation rate of 6.9%.

"Individual businesses can help themselves, reassess their cost settings to bridge the flow on pressures from hikes in minimum wages to inputs from transport to fertilizers to keep their offerings affordable and sustainable," said Barnett.

He added that the latest inflation figures are a "wake up call" for businesses and a reminder for them to review cost structures.

He made the remarks as the latest Consumer Price Index (CPI) released by Stats NZ showed a 1.8% increase in prices over the March quarter, taking the annual inflation rate to a 30-year high of 6.9%.

'No silver bullets'

The government attributed the CPI figures to the global economic challenges, which they said New Zealand is also not "immune" of.

"These are challenging times for the global economy with significant increases in food and fuel prices hitting all nations. Inflation is at a 40-year-high of 8.5% in the United States and a 30-year high of seven per cent in the United Kingdom. Chinese ports have been shut for long periods, adding to supply chain disruptions," said Finance Minister Grant Robertson in a statement.

"New Zealand cannot be immune to these challenges and the government can't control the price of food or petrol."

Read more: Auckland Business Chamber slams 'unfairness' between big firms, SMEs

According to the minister, they will keep a "careful" and "balanced" approach to future spending, stressing that there is no quick solution to the problem.

"There are no silver bullets for dealing with a situation like this. The Reserve Bank has the job of managing inflation in our system, and they are using their tools to try to bring it back into the target range of one to three per cent over the medium term. Most economists are now forecasting for inflation to peak in the second quarter of the year and then start coming back down," he said.

"We are continuing to keep a careful, balanced approach to our future spending. There are always more calls for spending than we have the money to be able to meet," he added. "So, we are keeping our focus on meeting the core needs in health, education, housing, and investing in the skills, infrastructure, and industries we need to grow higher-paying jobs."

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