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An application by Weta Digital to the Immigration Department for approval to hire 369 foreign workers could see many Kiwi production crew left to play bit parts in their own industry, Labour’s Immigration and Labour spokesperson, Darien Fenton, says.
“It raises serious questions about the government’s commitment to ensuring New Zealand workers benefit from investment in the film production industry.
“John Key and his National Party colleagues bent over backwards to give special treatment to the film industry, changing employment laws and watering down immigration rules at the behest of a major US conglomerate.
“The Prime Minister justified those changes by saying they were needed to protect and grow Kiwi jobs and skills,” Darien Fenton said.
“Unfortunately he missed out the bit about the need to train New Zealanders, so companies like Weta don’t have to rely on the ‘expertise’ of overseas workers.
“While we all celebrate the success of our film industry, it would be so much better if we were also able to celebrate the growth of home-grown, highly-skilled technical jobs as well.
“We want to see Kiwi camera operators, Kiwi software developers, Kiwi technicians, not just Kiwi ‘extras’.
"These are the kind of highly skilled, well-paying jobs that our economy needs, and we owe it to New Zealanders to do everything we can to ensure they have the first opportunity to take up these roles,” said Darien Fenton.