Foreign chefs needed in New Zealand

A comment made by the leader of New Zealand’s opposition Labour party earlier this week that there are too many foreign chefs working in New Zealand restaurants has been strenuously denied by the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA).

Speaking earlier this week, Labour leader Andrew Little said regarding chefs: “Let’s just turn the tap down a bit. Let’s just moderate the flow then when things are sorted out then let’s open the gates again.” However, the TIA say that any ban on overseas chefs working in New Zealand would have disastrous consequences for the tourism industry and the economy.

“There is a massive chef shortage in New Zealand. It’s the single biggest skills shortage facing the tourism and hospitality industry,” said TIA Chief Executive Chris Roberts. “If you are a New Zealander and you have a chef qualification you can walk into a job tomorrow. Unfortunately, there is no pool of local chefs sitting around waiting for a call.”

Mr Roberts says TIA commissioned research last year into the future labour market needs of the tourism industry. This research identified that New Zealand needs to expand the total tourism workforce by 38 per cent in the next decade if the industry is to meet its ambitious Tourism 2025 goal of growing total tourism revenue to $41 billion a year.

“New Zealand needs many more people working in tourism – including an additional 6,200 chefs,” Roberts continued. “We need to train thousands more New Zealanders as chefs and for the foreseeable future we need to bring in qualified overseas workers to work in the kitchens of our restaurants and cafes.

“Those isolated cases where a restaurant is exploiting its imported labour should be cracked down on, but we must not ban overseas chefs – that would be a disaster for the tourism sector and the economy.”

Article by David Fuller