Environment Canterbury has welcomed the announcement of an upcoming sector agreement for bus drivers by Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern and the Minister of Immigration, Michael Wood.
Chair of the regional council, Peter Scott said the bus driver shortage had impacted services across the country, including in Canterbury.
The Government today announced bus and truck drivers will have a time limited residence pathway through a sector agreement, with Cabinet agreeing in principle to develop a sector agreement to support workforce needs.
Minister Wood said Government officials will consult with transport sector representatives in the development of the agreement.
Mr Scott said the announcement was another step towards providing consistent and reliable services.
“Public transport is an essential public service and our ability to deliver the quality of service we would like for our community has been hampered by the nationwide bus driver shortage. We’re very happy with this announcement, which will support other measures already implemented, such as funding to lift wages for drivers,” he said.
“In September, we wrote to the Minister together with Greater Wellington Regional Council and Auckland Transport, asking for immigration settings to be reviewed to allow us to recruit the drivers that we need to meet demand and to deliver truly sustainable public transport services across New Zealand.”
The change affecting potential bus drivers was among several immigration changes announced by the Minister.
Bus and truck drivers will have a time-limited residence pathway through a sector agreement, with officials to consult transport sector representatives to develop the agreement.
“Our sector agreements are in place across the construction, seafood, aged care, meat processing, seasonal snow, and adventure tourism sectors,” Minister Wood said.
“Today we have agreed to extend the scheme to bus and truck drivers with a time limited, two-year residence pathway. The agreement will support our work underway to improve better wages and conditions for bus drivers and local workforce development. This will help relieve the national driver shortage, helping Kiwis and goods get to where they need to go.”