Support 'vital' for new migrant dairy workers

COLLETTE DEVLIN
Last updated 05:00 05/02/2014

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DairyNZ has given its support to a Venture Southland alternative settlement support delivery model.

The alternative settlement support report was drafted by Venture Southland after Immigration New Zealand proposed a national restructuring that would see a fulltime, Southland-based settlement co-ordinator replaced with a national, basic face-to-face settlement information service, eight retention specialists throughout the country, and phone and email support.

Venture Southland wants Immigration NZ to consider a successful service delivery model such as a Regional Partnership Programme, with a fulltime person in the region.

A letter from DairyNZ senior policy adviser Dr Mike Mackay says he wanted to convey its support for the continuation of the face-to-face Settlement Support Service provided to new immigrants in Southland.

The service provides new immigrant dairy workers with a vital and independent source of local advice (including the provision of information on education opportunities, employment and health-related matters) and the rural community connections needed for a positive settlement experience, the letter says.

Worker retention was also a key positive outcome.

While DairyNZ supported the Government's focus on adapting and improving programme delivery, it shared Venture's concerns.

A lower level of face-to-face service provision would be disappointing, the letter says.

"DairyNZ would encourage Immigration New Zealand to review and consider trialling the alternative delivery model you [Venture] have developed in the Southland region."

The proposed Venture Southland model combined the best elements of the Government's change-package with pragmatic delivery mechanisms for rural regions.

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- The Southland Times

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