Construction industry wants to fund its own Covid-19 quarantine centre for highly skilled workers

The construction industry wants more highly skilled workers allowed into New Zealand, and it has a plan of its own to quarantine them.

Your playlist will load after this ad

Businesses have laid out their demands to whoever is the next finance minister, with allowing more highly skilled workers into the country at the top of the wishlist. Source: 1 NEWS

1 NEWS can today reveal the sector would like the Government to let it fund its own quarantine centre for those workers.

In Auckland, specialised tunnelling and mining workers who can construct the $4.4 billion City Rail Link are desperately needed.

Some believe the waiting game could become expensive for the sector.

Sean Sweeney of the City Rail Link says the costs are adding up. 

“We're talking about a small number of days and a small number of millions but it's growing,” he says.

Businesses say it needs to be easier to bring the workers in.

Talks underway for user pays managed isolation hotels for skilled workers

“Just last week we got 92 approved that we'd been waiting up to six weeks for, so that's great, but we've still got to get another 160 over the next year in,” says Sweeney.

He says the industry-run quarantine facility would adhere to Government guidelines, "just so the industry has a bit more certainty about placing people into quarantine."

New Zealand businesses have also today laid out their demands to whoever is the next finance minister during a conference today. 

Both National's Paul Goldsmith, and Labour's Grant Robertson spoke during the event.

Robertson reminded the audience Labour had committed to making sure 10 per cent of places in isolation facilities are available for businesses to bring in their essential workers - should it be reelected. 

While Goldsmith said this year had been a year of "intense pressure", but his party's alternative was a "very clear" one.

National has promised to "inject some steel" into New Zealand's border defence against Covid-19 including creating an agency to oversee border management and requiring all people returning to New Zealand to test negative before entering the country.

The party also wants to introduce a tech visa to let in highly skilled overseas workers and entrepreneurs.