New Zealand employers are targeting Australians to help fill thousands of job vacancies as their economy cranks up.

They’re also trying to coax Kiwis to return home as the mining investment boom slows down in Australia.

Queensland is a prime target, being home to 40 per cent of the 600,000 plus Kiwis living in Australia, and having suffered job losses in construction and mining across the state, organisers of the New Zealand Jobs Expo say.

Thirty Kiwi employers involved with the expo are aiming at recruiting 1,500 skilled workers for jobs in construction, trades, manufacturing and services during the two-day event in Brisbane at the weekend.

The expo has already visited Sydney and Perth and is bound for Melbourne next month.

New Zealand Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce says more than 50,000 skilled workers are needed across New Zealand amid strong economic growth.

“Across a range of sectors we are seeing a boom in activity over the last couple of years,” Mr Joyce said.

“It started with food and beverage, particularly driven by demand from China and the Asian markets, but it has spread to other sectors, including high-tech manufacturing and construction.”

He said Kiwi businesses were targeting skilled expats to return home and to entice Australians to come across the Tasman Sea.

“We are seeing unemployment dropping. We have a much higher labour market participation so we are going to hit the buffers shortly in terms of available skilled workers,” he said.

“There are significant job opportunities here and of course the Christchurch rebuild is part of it.”

Mr Joyce said New Zealand had to face the issue of diversifying its economy earlier than Australia after the global financial crisis hit in 2008 because it did not have commodities like iron ore to fall back on.

“We have been helped by the dairy and agricultural commodities boom,” he added.

Cook Brothers Construction Canterbury regional manager Grant Harris said his company was looking at offering season passes to New Zealand’s ski fields as an inducement.

“The Christchurch rebuild is a big driver but Auckland has also entered a large wave of residential construction,” he said.

“We’re looking for a range of skills from project managers to site managers and carpenters.”


By Petrina Berry