New Zealand's budget likely to result in further skilled engineer shortages

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According to Dr. Andrew Cleland, Chief Executive of the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (IPENZ), New Zealand's budget for 2007 will create a greater shortage of professional engineers in the country.

"Budget announcements on research and development tax incentives as well as the extra investment in infrastructure, public transport and energy programs will significantly increase the demand for development engineers in a range of companies," said Cleland.

"Government cannot rely on private enterprise alone. Investing in Government scholarships which are set at market prices will encourage professional engineers into Masterates and PhDs. This will create the pool of talent that will be required by industry."

IPENZ states that New Zealand's intent to reduce CO2 emissions will be unmanageable without attracting skilled migrant engineers from around the globe to assist in research and development.

New Zealand is currently engaged in a number of cutting-edge environmental and ecological programs. The government sees the long-term survival of New Zealand as dependent upon reduced energy needs and more efficient and sustainable agriculture. The country has a proud history of being a world leader in developing and implementing sustainable lifestyles.

"IPENZ is generally supportive of many of the Budget proposals," Cleland said "but is concerned that until the role of engineering in economic and environmental transformation is better recognized, New Zealand is unlikely to make major gains."

He may have some good news for attracting more skilled migrants in engineering. In a recent speech to the government, Immigration Minister David Cunliffe outlined a plan to attract more migrants to the country.

"Our future depends in part on our getting the best we can as a nation from the talents and cultures that migrants bring. But there are policy and operational challenges," Cunliffe said.

"New Zealand needs immigration. It has never been clearer that immigration is more important to New Zealand's economic future today than it has ever been."

Professional engineers have been on New Zealand's Long Term Skill Shortage List, a listing of occupations that New Zealand looks for in potential migrants.


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