Boat skippers and deckhands will be added to the Government’s Green List in a move welcomed by beleaguered ferry operator Fullers, which has struggled to man its boats due to critical staff shortages.
The changes will bring direct and positive impacts to ferry operators across the country, says Fullers360 CEO, Mike Horne.
A spokesperson for the company had previously blamed immigration settings for a skills shortage, admitting it had been short of 60 skilled marine crew for over a year.
Meanwhile, frustration has been at an all-time high among ferry passengers and Waiheke businesses dealing with the fallout of repeat cancellations, delays and lengthy hours-long queues on the island’s vital transport route.
“Over the last 18 months Fullers360, alongside associated industry partners, have advocated for an improved residency pathway option for skilled maritime workers,” said Horne. “We are pleased that internationally qualified skippers and deckhands will soon be added to the transport sector agreement, which will help to address the critical labour shortage that has taken its toll on businesses across New Zealand.
“We look forward to seeing the final details of the agreement, with implementation expected to begin from late May.”
Horne says that while changes won’t happen overnight, there is no doubt they will help ensure maritime ferry operators are better equipped to deliver services during peak travel periods in the future. • Liza Hamilton
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