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Close on the heels of $152 million in Government funding announced for this region, Gisborne’s situations vacant are up 40 percent from the same time last year.

Figures released by the New Zealand Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) show the Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay region had a 29.2 percent hike in jobs advertised online for the September quarter — the biggest increase in the country.

The nationwide average was a 1.9 percent increase.

The hike in online jobs is echoed in the situations vacant section in The Gisborne Herald. The number of jobs advertised in the paper was 40 percent higher in October, compared with October last year.

Activate Tairawhiti general manager Steve Breen said the increase reflected the continuing good performance of main employment sectors like forestry, horticultural, engineering, transport and logistics.

They were all supporting increased investment and were further boosted by the recent Provincial Growth Fund announcements totalling $152m, he said.

“Our tourism sector is showing strong growth and the recent Straker Translation decision to open a regional office here, initially at the Launch! coworking space, shows that our tech sector is also growing, with further interest being shown in this region.”

Gisborne District Council had a large number of vacancies in a range of areas, including communications, finance and regulatory roles, with new opportunities emerging on a regular basis.

GDC director of internal partnerships James Baty said recent government investments in the region presented a number of new opportunities on the East Coast.

“We have also seen an increase in highly-qualified applicants from larger cities, with many of them looking to find improved work-life balance and the lifestyle that Gisborne offers.

“This has allowed us to create internal roles and reduce reliance on consultants from outside the region.

Mr Baty said the increase in qualified and experienced people coming back to the region had created a buzz and growth in the local economy.

TradeMe Jobs on trademe.co.nz had 121 full-time jobs advertised in the Gisborne area.

They ranged from opportunities at the port, in forestry, arborists, people in healthcare, to cooking Kentucky Fried Chicken or sewing socks at Columbine.

Seek.co.nz had similar listings and 95 jobs available.

MBIE figures showed the increase in job ads was led by the healthcare and medical industry, which posted an increase of 32.9 percent during the quarter compared with the same quarter last year.

Hauora Tairawhiti communications manager Fraser Hopkins said national and international applications were received for jobs at Gisborne Hospital.

The increase in jobs could be attributed to the increased effort to offer care closer to home and a commitment to safe staffing levels for clinical staff.

“Employing locally-based specialists means we rely less on travelling locums from other hospitals.

'Hard to find people prepared to work'Mr Hopkins said an example of this trend was the employment of our first locally-based cardiologist Dr Gerry Devlin, who arrived in October from Waikato District Health Board.

Dr Devlin is a leading cardiologist and also the medical director of the Heart Foundation.

Mr Hopkins said Dr Devlin’s arrival also demonstrated this was becoming an even more attractive place to live and work.

Hikurangi Forest Farms (HFF) manager Ian Brown said the money poured into Gisborne was fuelling employment.

They could employ 30 people tomorrow, he said.

With more wood coming to market, they needed more harvesting people on the ground and truck drivers to carry the loads to port.

But filling these roles was not always easy, despite the region’s unemployment rate of 4.7 percent, he said.

New Zealand’s unemployment rate was 3.9 percent — the lowest it had been in a decade.

Mr Brown said HFF had to stop some of their normal operations because they could not find the labour — and that had been going on for about two years.

“Drugs are an issue, but it is more about trying to find the people who are prepared to work.

“We try to employ young people in manual work and they last one day or two, and then they like to lie on the couch at home.

“That’s the reality.”

Mr Brown said that was forcing them to look offshore for labour.

“We have high unemployment in Gisborne.

“You think they would be prepared to work — but they are not.

“It’s generational too.”

The MBIE figures were for the third quarter ended September 2018 and were compared with September 2017.

MBIE measures jobs advertised online through four websites used by employers — SEEK, Trade Me Jobs, the Education Gazette and Kiwi Health Jobs.

Jobs available - and look at that view!