Whilst the hospitality industry itself is leading the long-term work that will make the sector more resilient, the Restaurant Association is also aware of ongoing skill shortages, increased costs of doing business and the ever-changing regulatory environment only adding to the pressures experienced over the past three years.
“Increased investment in training to address the national skills shortage is one of our top priorities, so we would like to see investment in work-based training initiatives, to both fill the immediate skill gaps that we are facing and upskill New Zealanders at the same time,” said Marisa Bidois, CEO of the Restaurant Association.
“This means investing in hospitality apprenticeships and other on-the-job training schemes. This would help to alleviate the immediate pressures on our industry, and assist us to prepare for the future.”
Alongside training, the Restaurant Association would like to see an increase in investment in supporting hospitality as an industry. Bidois added that the regulatory environment for the industry is constantly changing and with so many small businesses making up our industry, it’s more important than ever that Government understands the impact of these changes on business owners.
“For that reason, we’re renewing our calls for the establishment of a ministerial portfolio for Hospitality, with a business unit within MBIE that is dedicated to our industry. Ensuring the regulatory environment is conducive to productivity and business growth while still prioritising the well-being of employees and consumers remains a top priority,” noted Bidois.
The promotion of New Zealand to the world as a place to work, as well as study and travel, is something that Bidois is keen to see investment in. As tourist numbers finally start to reach (and even exceed) pre-pandemic levels, hospitality businesses are being left without the staff numbers to remain open and meet the demands of the influx of holiday-makers.
“The Restaurant Association are glad that infrastructure development is a priority for this Budget. Ensuring that businesses and communities are resilient in the face of future natural disasters is of the utmost importance."
“There are other areas that we would like investment in for example community policing to keep our cities and communities, staff and businesses safe, or lowering GST (and removing it from food items altogether) which will benefit both the food services industry and the public at a time when the cost of living is skyrocketing,” said Bidois.
“While we won’t know exactly which initiatives will be funded until the Budget is announced, we remain hopeful that the Government’s investment in skills, science and infrastructure is a good sign for our sector, through the priorities that we’ve identified in our 2023 election manifesto.”