Coming Home: If we want returning New Zealanders to stay, we need a plan

In the final part of Coming Home, hosts Duncan Greive and Jane Yee ask what can be done to keep returning New Zealanders on our shores post-pandemic.

Over the first four episodes of Coming Home we’ve heard about what’s been pushing New Zealanders to live and work overseas for decades, and what pulled so many of them back home in 2020. In the final episode of the series, it’s time to ask: how do we keep all the talent here now that it’s back?

“There will be a lot of buggering off,” warns demographer Paul Spoonley, if we don’t start doing a lot more to keep highly skilled New Zealanders in the coming months and years. While a re-exodus is inevitable to some extent once the current pandemic dies down overseas, there’s still plenty more we could be doing to make the most of this opportunity.

Play our cards right and we could fill labour shortages, innovate our industries and put New Zealand on the world stage. But to do this will require some thinking outside the box from both employers and the government. This is one situation where playing it safe could do more harm than good.

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