New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is stepping up his attack on the iwi which own public transport operator Go Bus, over claims it’s looking offshore for new workers instead of employing jobless locals.
Mr Peters says the company has asked for help from Immigration New Zealand to bring foreign workers into the country from Samoa and the Philippines.
It’s owned by Ngai Tahu and Waikato Tainui and operates buses in Christchurch, Tauranga, Hamilton, and a number of other regional cities.
“It’s advertising offshore for drivers. It’s not training and recruiting young Māori, no. It’s going offshore and getting people from the Philippines and elsewhere, including the Pacific,” says Mr Peters.
His source for this is a woman who popped into an office and said she’d heard it from someone. No, seriously.
The allegations are being rubbished by Go Bus managing director Calum Haslop, who says Winston Peters has the wrong end of the stick.
“Go Bus is not recruiting offshore at the moment. We’ve not advertised for any positions in the islands, we don’t have a policy to recruit from the islands, and we don’t have any intention of recruiting from the islands at this stage,” he says.
Mr Haslop has confirmed there were conversations with Immigration New Zealand about foreign recruitment but they never gained any traction due to a huge demand from jobless locals.
“We had a chat with Immigration New Zealand very early on in the piece for our Auckland recruitment and just looked at [foreign recruitment] as an option should we need it if we had a problem with local recruitment.
“But we’ve been delighted with the response to our local recruitment and haven’t needed to take it any further and don’t intend to,” he says.
Immigration New Zealand says there haven’t been any recent interactions with the company and there are no visa applications underway.
Wouldn’t it be nice if media asked for proof of his claims, before reporting them. Once there is a categorical denial from the company and Immigration NZ, then his claims should not be reported on unless he can provide proof.