ANZ CEO calls for more action to stop brain drain

ANZ’s New Zealand chief executive says the Government needs to do more to help stop the brain drain.

Speaking in Melbourne on Tuesday, Antonia Watson said New Zealand businesses were "crying out" for staff.

"I totally understand that we want a more productive country, that will take years and investment," she said.

Watson said she’d like to see the Government do more to bring skilled workers into the country.

"You can't blame Kiwis for wanting to go overseas," she said.

"That was a big part of what I did when I was young, and if they are going to go overseas we need to replace that labour."

Infometrics' principal economist Brad Olsen has previously estimated New Zealand could lose between 24,000 to 58,000 people in the next year, amid temptations of higher pay and lower living costs.

READ MORE: Brain drain: Kiwis heading overseas as living costs rise

While a recent survey said one in four Australians are currently struggling to make ends meet, Watson says she doesn’t think that’ll put people off travelling to New Zealand.

"The cost of living, it is tough at the moment, but I don't see that as an impediment to travel and continuing a close economic relationship between the two countries."

Speaking to media in Melbourne, Prime Minister Jacinda Adern said work towards boosting skilled worker shortages as borders opened was underway.

She says this week marks a milestone with Immigration Minister Michael Woods having developed an accredited employer process which makes it easier for businesses to access skilled workers that they need.

"It’s all a part of us encouraging those with the skills we need in New Zealand to come in as easily as possible."

READ MORE: New work visa applications open for offshore migrants

The new accredited employer work visa will allow migrants offshore to come work in Aotearoa and has had a large role in the latest developments to resolve shortages.

In preparation for more tourists coming into the country, Ardern says "things like our working holiday visa actively promoting those and expanding the reach of those schemes to try and support those businesses".