New Zealand plans to reopen its border due to a labor shortage


New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is expected to announce plans to reopen the country’s borders this week, under pressure from businesses and government sectors experiencing a labor shortage that authorities fear could fuel inflation.
Ardern won international acclaim for using an elimination approach to stop local Covid-19 transmission, implementing strict lockdowns, and closing New Zealand’s international border in March 2020.
However, this strategy strains an economy heavily reliant on immigrants, resulting in higher costs and poorer production. Dairy, horticulture, housing, services, health, and the more significant public sector have all reported severe staff shortages, and the government has been urged to increase border barriers.
The strains were evident on Monday (Aug 9) when over 1,500 hospital midwives walked off the job, citing “serious shortages” as the reason for their strike. For the second time since June, more than 30,000 nurses are set to go on strike later this month, seeking improved pay and working conditions in the face of personnel shortages.
Ardern this week approved one-way quarantine-free travel for seasonal workers from Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu to address labor shortages in the horticulture industry, all of which have no active Covid-19 cases.


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