Home' Hospitality Business : HB AUG 2017 Contents Advocacy that campaigns for the best outcomes for the industry is
part of the RA’s mission for its members.
Forty five years ago the Restaurant Association was founded to give
the industry a voice and today our combined membership puts us in
a position where we are key influencers on the things that matter. We
work hard to make sure our members’ views and needs are at the
table when important decisions are made, by working with a range
of organisations – from government bodies to advisory groups. While
Immigration NZ, MPI and MBIE all consult with us, recently it’s been
particularly important for us to strongly represent the hospitality
industry’s viewpoint in light of a number of challenges to the way we
It is encouraging to see the results that our representation has in
affecting policy, no more so than the recent announcement of the
changes to Essential Skills visa policy. Immigration Minister Michael
Woodhouse recently confirmed immigration changes that indicate
a back flip from the Government’s earlier assertion that the policy
changes would go through more or less as proposed at the beginning
of the consultation process. This included the introduction of a
salary threshold of $49,859, below which certain restrictions would
be enforced. The Association’s submission, however, advocated
for a lower salary threshold to be set and we met with MBIE and
Immigration NZ on a number of occasions to provide this feedback on
behalf of the industry.
WE ARE HEARTENED THAT THE GOVERNMENT LISTENED.
The changes which will come into force on 28th August still utilise a
salary threshold to help determine skill levels, however the salary
threshold has been set at a far more realistic level; currently $41,538
/ year. By reducing the remuneration band Government have directly
addressed the issues that were raised in the consultation process.
The Association is committed to work on initiatives that fulfil
Government’s objectives around attracting more New Zealanders
to work in hospitality; however, migrant workers are currently an
important part of our workforce. Immigration policy should enable
the efficient functioning of the labour market and not disadvantage
hospitality businesses. Almost 20 per cent of the hospitality industry’s
employees hold work visas, so ultimately a temporary work policy
must not work against the needs of a flourishing industry, nor inhibit
business growth and competitiveness. The changes that will now
come in at the end of August represent a more reasonable system,
although the Association will continue to advocate for a sensible
approach to immigration policy, that encourages employment of New
Zealanders first and foremost, but which recognises the value of
utilising migrant workers to facilitate skill shortage needs.
Phase two of the review of the Essential Skills visa category will look
at, amongst other things, proposals to incentivise and reward good
employer behaviour and the Restaurant Association also welcomes
the opportunity to open this discussion with Government.
The Restaurant Association contributes to educating migrant and Kiwi
business owners to not only be compliant in their business, but to be
achieving best practice targets. Businesses that excel in all areas of
business management should receive recognition for this achievement.
There are a number of mechanisms already in place to measure
compliance with New Zealand law. In hospitality this includes
compliance with employment law, health and safety, food safety,
immigration law, the sale and supply of alcohol, financial obligations
and local Government regulations. However, the Restaurant
Association encourages the development of a programme that
recognises those businesses who want to do more than simply
be compliant; that want to set and reach best practice measures.
These businesses essentially save the Government money through
the limited involvement or intervention that will be required by
Government bodies to ensure they are “doing the right thing”.
The Restaurant Association welcomes the opportunity to work with
Government to develop and implement measures to recognise those
businesses who have adopted the highest levels of best business
practices. A programme such as that which we have recommended
will encourage and raise the bar for New Zealand business owners.
As a not-for-profit, owned by our members and dedicated to helping
business owners succeed, we are here to assist in any way that we
can. We’re passionate about our vibrant industry, and will continue to
advocate and lobby for change for the good of the industry.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Restaurant Association NZ
Marisa Bidois - Chief Executive
DOING THE RIGHT THING
Hospitality BUSINESS | August 2017 | 27
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