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Donkey Dick Duncan

Written By: - Date published: 11:34 am, October 9th, 2017 - 318 comments
Categories: accountability, capitalism, class, discrimination, economy, Economy, housing, im/migration, labour, monetary policy, Politics, Privatisation, racism - Tags: , ,

Duncan Garner has done a piece that basically channels NZ Labour immigration policy. Essentially, so the argument goes, NZ has too many people and not enough infra-structure and so must “take a breather” to get things in order.

So I’ll just point out the fucking obvious. Yes, New Zealand’s infra-structure is crap. And it’s crap because of the inaction of successive governments. It’s crap because that’s what happens when shit is sold to private entities that are geared to extract profit instead of providing for society. In short, it’s crap because of political incompetence.

It’s not crap because of immigration and it would be crap no matter the levels of past immigration.

Politicians, hardly paragons for accepting responsibility, of course are happy enough to deflect and then whitter on about how they only want the best for people migrating here and so, sadly, must put the boot into people migrating here – because people migrating here, and not their own incompetence nor slavish adherence to an anti-social economic ideology, is what lies behind the degradation of infra-structure in New Zealand.

If those who presume to manage New Zealand were serious about fixing up broken infra-structure or laying in new infra-structure (and by the way, we’ll be needing more than you could possibly shake a stick at in the coming few decades if ‘the incompetents’ suddenly and quite miraculously acknowledge the likely full impacts of global warming), then the lower skilled and poorer foreigners that current immigration policy proposals are geared against would be being encouraged and welcomed – not maligned and rejected.



318 comments on “Donkey Dick Duncan ”

  1. Carolyn_nth 1

    And, of course, Kmart is responsible for its own checkout arrangements. If there are quesues around the store, then they probably have too few checkouts, not enough spent on the equipment and staff required.

    T’is the commercial imperative – extracting as much profit as possible from the general population, with as little spending on resources and staffing as possible.

    • David C 1.1

      to use your example KMart would too responsible for letting to many shoppers in thru the doors and overwhelming their infrastructure.
      Chicken and the egg… do you get the shoppers to get the income then build the infrastructure… or borrow and build then hope?

      • tracey 1.1.1

        If those who champion market forces were genuine they would not ely on immigration to keep wages low. They would increase wages when few are available for jobs. EG seasonal work. If it is not economic to do so, the market says that business folds.

        • David C

          Hard to talk about market forces unless you compare apples with apples.
          Remove all social welfare payments to NZers and see how many want to pick those apples then.
          Too many unemployed here in Hawkes Bay drive past fields where Fijians are working and sending money home.

          • WILD KATIPO

            That’s ok if they send cash home because their exchange rates are way different , aren’t they !

            Islanders have always sent money home. We know that.

            But Kiwis are NOT going to make that a long term career choice by and large because THE WAGES ARE TOO FOOKEN LOW !!!

            Just like far too many other fooken bloody jobs in Bill Englishs prized bullshit low wage economy.

            I think the bastard should be shot with a ball of his own shit bolloxing on about a ‘strong economy ‘ while such a thing as a low wage economy exists .

            The guys a total exploitative wanker.

            Give the bugger a bullwhip , send him back in time 150 years and stick him on a cotton plantation in the Deep South of America. He would fit right in there.

            The guys a complete arsehole.

            • David C


              Interesting rant.

              you are obviously happy for Kiwis to make the long term career choice of the dole or dpb and leave the Fijians to the mere $800/wk job.

              • Kevin

                Lets just hope that non of these companies are based in HB then…


                I am guessing this is just the tip of the iceberg as it is only bought to MBIE’s attention if someone makes a complaint.

              • Yes , glad you found it interesting .

                And if they are earning $800.00 per week BEFORE tax good for them. How many mouths do they feed, what kind of housing do they live in ? And are those jobs not SEASONAL ? Are you trying to say Kiwis should all aspire to work in seasonal work and forgo long term better paid careers instead?

                As for Kiwis on the dole?

                Are you not being a subversive to your beloved neo liberal National party that says we have growth , that unemployment is down , and that we all live in paradise with our low wage economy ?

                Your implication of Kiwis being on the dole certainly doesn’t seem to line up with what National are always banging on about , does it.

              • Steve

                Not so many fruit pickers would make $800 per week.Specially once the fruit pickers weekly pays are then averaged out over the whole season.Bin contract rates are usually set at a minimum rate, so that most people are just able to earn enough to survive.Its more worthwhile for some folk.Specially as tourist’s and Island folk seasonally picking fruit are mainly looking for easy ways to supplement their cash.These are also reasons why fruit producers do like having plenty of these type seasonal workers on board.Helps keep the bin rates down.No real great trouble sending some away,whenever it suits, and then they can always hire others.The trick is to make sure,via government policy, there are always plenty made freely available.Having done a number of full fruit picking season myself before i happen to understand a few of the tricks.

                Yes if you train up for it, and then care to really apply yourself to the “max” physically,and practice hard-out over a few season,working hard out applying yourself like an all black day in day out. Then you can make more than $800.In the same way that our sheep shearing contractors also can too

                But when you get old, that’s then when the health starts catching up.And there no use complaining about fruit-thinning’s carelessly spread out under the trees,sometimes, that can be dangerously like wearing roller skates while lugging around (on your back) bags of 30 to 40 kg of fruit.These days they’ll still have miles of people who’s gleefully lining up to make that little bit of extra cash.In reality,for them folk, its only like part of their holiday?

              • KJT

                %800 a week for immigrant pickers. What fantasy world do you live in?

          • simonm

            Fiji has a minimum wage – it’s $NZ 2.50/hour. Therefore it’s a great deal for Fijians to come and pick apples in NZ and send money home; even if they are being ruthlessly exploited by gangmasters (modern-day slavers) and the religious organisations that own the orchards they’re harvesting.


            That being said the minimum NZ wage (or much less as we all know plenty of exploitative employers are paying in NZ), just isn’t enough for Kiwis to survive on given NZ’s extremely high living costs, made even worse by Jonkey and Bungles raising the GST to pay for a tax cut for themselves and their mates.

            • Once was Tim

              Actually @simonm, not 2 or so months ago I transported 2 such Fijians to the workhouse after they’d missed a bus because it was full.
              We went there via the absolute shithole they were calling home and were having to pay for.
              In short, it was actually COSTING them to be here in Nirvana Nu Zull.

              Not quite as bad though as the dawn raids (except they weren’t at dawn) being conducted by joint NZPolice and INZ around the area.
              But then, just more confirmation that INZ and Police time is better spent on easy pickings rather than being a bit smarter.

              • simonm

                I certainly wasn’t implying that RSE workers have it too good Tim. I know they don’t. As I said above, they’re ruthlessly exploited by their recruiters, gangmasters and plantation owners (oops sorry, I mean orchadists!) Plus they are expected to be eternally grateful for the honour of being granted this amazing opportunity.

                The point I was trying to make is that despite all the whinging from employers that they can’t get New Zealanders to do this kind of work, they never seem to think of paying liveable wages that might make it worthwhile for some of the locals to give it a go. It’s always much easier (and cheaper) to import foreign labour with little to no employment rights to do this stuff.

                • Steve

                  When i used to regularly do full fruits seasons.I would watch the way that very few fruit pickers would ever care to return back to the same orchard again, year after year (like the way shearing contractors will).I noticed how often there were rooky fruit pickers involved in ruining fruit (through bruising fruit,or wrong color or fruit size picking selection).I tried to discuss this issue with fruit producers.Recommended they might consider adding an incentive for fruit pickers who might care to make seasonal picking their choice of regular income.So than pickers that returned to each orchard season after season, and had also,by then, become specialist in this job, might be rewarded a little more for it.

                  Fruit producers didn’t want to know about it.Their attitude (i felt) was like, what “i imagined”, perhaps the African slave drivers attitude might also be like too.All they could seem to see, is that they felt i was only demanding to be payed more.The idea that they might then need to employ “less supervisors” (quality control), to watch fruit quality, seem to go above their heads, as well too. Due to anger?.

                  They rather bitch and moan about bruising.Get angry about they way people got wreck-less and sometimes wouldn’t pick well, due to hangovers from their holiday fun-times partying hard the night before.Discuss how hard it was to get people interested in being involved in fruit picking

                  I tried so hard to reason with them, and suggest how fruit picking, could perhaps be run more similar to how sheep shearing is

                  But then,perhaps if it were, then what the hell would they be able to moan about then?

    • Bill 1.2

      Two (related) questions.

      Am I to believe that Duncan Garner went to K-Mart to buy his underwear? Not saying he didn’t. But am I to believe he did?

      Or am I to believe he imagined his target audience would shop there and so reckoned he’d make a punt at portraying himself as “one of them”?

      I’m leaning more one way than the other.

      • Carolyn_nth 1.2.1

        In Auckland queues at my local Kmart are horrendous. In the past dropping in there for an odd item or 2 was a quick thing – now there are long queues snaking around the store.

        I don’t remember being aware of the ethnicity of people in the queue.

        It rang true to me that he had experienced the queue. However, I guess someone could have recounted their experience to him. But, why wouldn’t he go to see for himself first?

        • Bill

          Well sure. He may well have gone there to witness the queues. He may even have gone as a matter of course to buy underwear.

          It’s just something about that income and getting underwear from K-Mart….

          Anyway. Maybe I’m just projecting my own deep loathing of the place, that runs to such a depth that I’m fucked if I’ll willingly set foot in the place. Probably been there once in something like the past 10 years…and I remember the occasion as being a desperate last resort.

          My therapist was nonplussed btw. Nah. Only kidding. They understood perfectly well and offered me genuine, heart felt empathy and sympathy . 🙂

          • Carolyn_nth

            Well, for me, there are a limited number of shops to got to for certain clothes or basic essentials

            But, If a journalist wanted to write about the groaning infrastructure in Auckland, the place to go is the public transport system. So, I can believe Garner does occasionally shop at Kmart more often than he goes on buses or trains.

            On my regular bus route on buses that travel the length of Dominion Road and beyond, the inadequate infrastructure is glaring. Those buses come every 5-15 minutes, and are usually pretty full every day and beyond peak times: weekend mornings – sometimes standing room only.

            Getting on the buses in the city, there’s a steady stream of people arriving to board, and often the driver has difficulty leaving on time. Just when it seems there’s a break in people boarding, the driver closes the doors, only to have another stream of people arrive and start knocking on the door to be let in.

            The passengers appear to be from diverse ethnicities, but I have no idea how long any people have been in the country. There are many people who look European on the buses, plus many who look to be from south east Asian and/or the Indian subcontinent backgrounds. But I also know some Aucklanders whose Chinese forebears have been in NZ since the late 19th century.

            And, on another bus route last weekend, there were a group of people who I may have thought were from South Asian backgrounds by their appearance. But they were speaking what sounded to me like Spanish. Who knows which hemisphere they are from, their residential status, or who long they have been in NZ.

            Ethnicity, or immigrant or tourist status is not really the issue. But, what is clear is that our transport infrastructure is totally inadequate for the amount of people here.

            • Bill

              Op shop trawling or hand-me-downs for me 🙂

              Public transport in NZ is atrocious. Hell, there aren’t even any trains in the S. Island now (not south of Christchurch).

              I’ve gotten kind of used to power cuts over the years here, but never really experienced them in the UK bar during strike action.

              Drains don’t necessarily carry rainwater away in downpours (not fit for purpose?).

              When slips block roads it can take days to weeks or even months for them to be cleared (and I’m talking about within Dunedin city limits)

              Housing is utterly inadequate and killing people.

              Services such as health often have a ‘third world’ feel to them if you can even access them. (I’ve commented before about NZs poor being somewhat unique as per marked out by their lack of teeth.)

              Then there’s the quality of drinking water in many areas…

              Any need to go on?

              What really gets me is that governments have only had to govern for a population equivalent of a middle sized city…and with access to resources undreamed of by any city council anywhere in the world. And yet here we are. It’s almost as though generations of politicians have bent themselves to the task of fucking everything up. I mean, you’d have to try to make things this crap given the various resources to hand, no?

              • David Mac

                Love to help you out with your pipes Bill but this week we’ve got the fireworks display and the launch of the America’s Cup Defence,

                yours sincerely,

                Every Elected Official Ever.

  2. weka 2

    Third point to this triangle is the natural limits of growth.

    Immigration – Infrastructure – Natural limits of Growth.

    We can focus on fixing infrastructure but that won’t solve the other elephant in the living room which is that our whole economy and society is based in unsustainable growth.

    There are only so many rivers to dam or plains to covert to industrial dairying or aquifers to contaminate or forests to cut down or parts of nature to build cities on.

    Every time we talk about improving infrastructure we seem to forget that if that is for growth reasons it means pillaging the environment and the environment is ruled by the laws of physics and ecology. NZ is already butting up hard against this, and while we could do so much better if we adopted green tech, there are still natural limits to growth.

    • Bill 2.1

      Allowing infra-structure to slide, often into a parlous state, entails having discussions about the whys and wherefores of that coming to pass.

      Immigration and limits of growth are not part of any necessary triangle to those discussions.

      Had there been zero immigration or even zero population growth, the ideological fetters that drive political decision making in this country would likely still have seen infrastructure deteriorate and degenerate.

      • weka 2.1.1

        Sure. With zero immigration we wouldn’t be having an ongoing public conversation that conflated immigration, racism, and infrastructure but we’d still be having a conversation about infrastructure and the limits of growth.

        Put immigration back in the picture and it becomes a triangle again. Put immigration back in the picture where infrastructure is well managed and there are still issues of the limits of growth.

        All that aside, NZ has a problem with immigration policy, with racism, with infrastructure management and with ignoring the limits of growth. If we are going to talk about any of those, I think we need to talk about them all. Much of the debate on twitter in the past few days has focused on the immigration/infrastructure dichotomy. I think it’s a false one.

        I think you are saying that there is no inherent problem with immigration (you can correct me if I’ve misunderstood). I disagree, because I think that open borders create problems. Therefore for me the conversation becomes about what is appropriate immigration policy in the context of ecology and physics. We also need to address racism alongside that.

        • David C

          Why do you throw racism into the pot?
          How is immigration a race issue?

          • DoublePlusGood

            You can’t think about this for 30 seconds and answer that question for yourself?

          • weka

            Duncan Garner’s article was based on racist rhetoric. That’s why the left spent the better part of the weekend talking about race. If that doesn’t get pushed back against then it means we accept the framing. Most (not all) lefties I know won’t allow that. Unfortunately because of the racist framing it’s very hard to talk about immigration generally and almost impossible to talk about specific issues to do with how NZ law and policy preferences specific nationalities. Afaik the only way to address that is to confront the racism head on.

            • David C

              When talking about immigration control then yes you need to talk about the countries that immigration is coming from that you can actually control.
              NZ cannot control NZers coming home or Aussies or (most) English coming here and while NZ has a strong economy NZers are not leaving home like they were in the 2000’s.

              • Stuart Munro

                It’s more that the world economy is weak – trade volumes are down since the GFC and the oil price slump. NZ doesn’t have a strong economy – that’s just Bill spinning.

                • David C

                  So NZ isnt doing well but we are just doing better than everyone else?

                  • Stuart Munro

                    We are not doing well. 0.9% real growth (ex immigration and Chch) puts us in the lower quartile.

                    But we used to be able to flee the failconomy to Oz, Korea, the Gulf. Much harder to do that now – those economies are contracting too.

                  • WOULD DAVIDC WORK FOR $15.00 per hour ?

                    Of course not. Another far right wing hypocrite.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      His accounting skills certainly aren’t much cop if he buys Bill’s crap about growth. Right up there with Garner and the other repeaters.

                    • David C

                      I have worked minimum wage back as a second job when i needed to do that.
                      10.30 pm to 6.30 am and then go home to a new born and screaming Wife . ahhhh the joys 🙂

                    • Bully for you bucko – and sad for you at the same time.

                      Weve all done that.

                      And prior to Douglas and his neo liberal shit I was a twenty something earning around $18- 19.00 per hour leaning on a shovel.

                      Get it ?

                      PRE 1984 ?????

                      As recently as last year I was getting $15.00 per hour . And all through the 1990s it was aound 8 , then for years it was 10 , then it crept up to 12 and then the grand total of $15.00 / hour.

                      Whoop de [email protected] shit !!!

                      WOW ! hooray for neo liberalism , eh ?

                      Tell me , ‘ DAVID C’ ,…. just how much has the cost of living risen over the last 33 years and WHY did I earn far more pre 1984 than I did in the year 2017 ???

                      THIRTY THREE YEARS LATER !

                      Enough of your disgusting bloody bullshit !

                      Take your neo liberal crap and shove it , bro.

                      And btw , – the same issue for me is the same issue for all these immigrants who find themselves working for bullshit wages.

                      The way National likes it.

                      A peasant class.

                      Well fuck you too , mate.

              • weka

                Why can’t NZ control immigration from wherever it wants?

                • David C

                  How do you propose to stop Kiwis coming home to live?
                  or Aussies coming here to live?

                  • weka

                    I’m not proposing either of those things, I’m asking you why the NZ govt can’t set its immigration policy any way it wants.

                    • David C

                      NZ govt can set immigration policy any way it wants within bounds of existing agreements.

                      But according to you that is racist.

                      [I haven’t said that is racist. Produce evidence that I have or retract your statement or get moderated for making shit up about an authors views. – weka]

                  • weka

                    see moderation note above.

                    • David C

                      You described Garners discussion of the above as being based on racist rhetoric and you blithely ignore the reality of immigration choosing to ask inane questions “I’m asking you why the NZ govt can’t set its immigration policy any way it wants.” Also. You are not the Author here, unless you are infact, Bill.

                      [I am however an author here and reserve the right to not have shit made up about my views. You said “NZ govt can set immigration policy any way it wants within bounds of existing agreements. But according to you that is racist.” I haven’t said any such thing.

                      Take the rest of the day off, read the Policy about wasting moderator time, and I’d suggest learning how things work here. There’s some clues in this moderation exchange. Basically I”m saying up your game in terms of the debate culture here and learn to engage with what people are saying now what you think – weka]

                • CLEANGREEN

                  Great blog Wild Katipo, wow.

                  WEKA you are so right as there must be “balance” used in any social planning, and national have always used this analogy of “balance” when proposing their ‘economic’ plans.

                  So In truth all these infrastructure’ problems have been caused because National Government has chosen to have done all their funding of infrastructure “on the cheap” it is that simple.

                • Unicus

                  For some background as to why Labour had to come up with faux justification for its immigration policy see the following



                  Mike Williams.imigrations role in coalition negotiations-NZHerald

        • Bill

          Why hasn’t infra-structure been well managed? Why hasn’t 19th C technology been upgraded or replaced? Why has ‘everything’ been allowed to ‘go to seed’?

          Why for example, when it rains heavily, does “half of Auckland” lose power? Why haven’t layers of redundancy been built into various systems/networks? Or to put it another way, why are we riding through the 21st C with (sometimes) superceded 19th C technologies?

          Beyond offering up convenient excuses (and possibly muddying the waters), I don’t see how primary appeals to immigration or growth adequately addresses those fairly fundamental or obvious questions.

          • weka

            If the answer is to those questions is, let’s shorthand this, neoliberalism, then looking at any of those things individually and out of context doesn’t address the fundamental problem.

            We could have a neoliberal govt that manages infrastructure better. We could have a social democracy that limits immigration to match whatever infrastructure we have. But if both those fail to address the limits of growth then it’s a bit moot. Climate change being the obvious example. We can shift various people around the globe and use all the resources we have at our disposal to make that as fair and functional as possible and still have climate change or the myriad of other problems that come with perpetual growth.

            In other words, I’m guessing you want to point to the underlying political/economic systems as the base problem, not immigration. Whereas I’m agreeing that’s a problem and saying that has to be understood in the context of ecology as well.

            • Bill

              Oh. I could and often enough do point the finger at capitalism. It absolutely does not help being tied to an economic system that’s loaded up with perverse incentives. (That covers off social democracy and liberalism/neo-liberalism as well as the idiocy of endless growth)

              I wouldn’t point to immigration though. Incompetence that has resulted in “us all” not having adequate physical infra-structure has nothing to do with immigration.

              Systemic drivers aside then (ie – putting capitalism to one side), I’d say our basic problem is a lack of imagination and intelligence. And I’d say we’ll get that for as long as we insist on putting big arsed baboons in charge of our societies and lives – ie, we’ll continue to fall prey to institutional dullness and inertia.

              • weka

                Can’t disagree with that, although I’m not sure it’s possible to put the major drivers of capitalism or growth economics aside 😉

                • weka

                  Because I think it leads to the argument that stop talking about immigration and instead talk about infrastructure planning, and then someone like me will come along as point out you can’t talk about infrastructure planning without taking sustainability, and you can’t talk sustainability without talking about population.

                  • Bill

                    Seeing that the point of the post (despite the comments) is about infrastructure and how throwing immigration bullshit at it is a dirty red herring….

                    Take a city’s sewerage and water system and it might be both inadequate and crumbling (or in perfect nick) but somewhat predictably on the cusp of being “unfit for purpose”- and all for reasons that have nothing to do with population. Take a rail line. It’s location might be dubious for reasons that have nothing to do with population. Same for pubic buildings or building codes for houses and a large part of whatever else.

                    And insofar as there are sustainability questions around any or all of that, again, population obviously isn’t necessarily a factor.

                    • weka

                      I agree, not necessarily a factor. e.g. McFlock’s example of the power lines in Dunedin. But if we look at say the pressures on a limited space like Milford Sound from tourism numbers, that’s a very blatant example of the relationship between numbers of people and the inability of the infrastructure to cope.

                      The argument that the issue is infrastructure management not population leads to better infrastructure, both in quality (stuff not falling apart) and quantity (there are enough car parks).

                      But if the population size relative to the physical size of the place isn’t taken into account, and the system is dependent upon growth, then there is still a problem. At the moment it manifests as decreasing quality of experience as the push is to get as many people in there as possible (stock units with $ return) without collapsing the system (people stop wanting to go because there are too many people, or there simply is no more physical space to build any more carparks so it’s a shitty experience being there).

                      In that sense, yes we can talk about infrastructure being separate from population but it seems kind of abstract. I agree there is plenty of infrastructure in NZ that is a problem that has nothing to do with population and everything to do with a useful govt and with neoliberal values. But there are also some infrastructure issues that are obviously related. Housing being one of them. If shopping mall populations are too, then apparently the solution there is to build more shopping malls. That’s a shitty approach to planning from a sustainability perspective, but talking about immigration in that context is also ridiculous (esp the way Garner did it).

    • Which is peculiar because the other day I stood at the Scenic Drive lookout in Auckland and the CBD looked like the pimple on the pimple on the arse of the Universe and utterly small and insignificant . So also did the ‘biggest land mass city in the southern hemisphere’ …

      When you looked towards the horizon and miles and miles of farmland and forests to the north then looked back at this pathetically small ‘ city’…. it was contemptible. So also was the fact that this pimple was the staging point for the nations wealth to be shipped offshore by the free market thieves and pirates.

      All that shit going on whilst standing in the middle of nature.

      We dont need any more mass immigration. We never did. And if there ever was a reason its because 600,000 New Zealanders now live in Australia. Why ? Because of the same sort of wankers who even now rape and pillage this country : neo liberals.

      THEY are your ‘ incompetent’ ‘useless’ ‘inactive’ governments. Them.

      So we need three things:

      Massive cutting back of an out of control immigration setting , an actual government that does what its paid to do – take responsibility for the country , and a much larger refugee quota. Then we’ll start on the road to solving these urgent issues. And not until.

      • tracey 2.2.1

        The shit will hit the fan. I know this because the Auckland sewer system is over 100 years old.

        • WILD KATIPO

          Yes indeed, and then we will all be in the poo.

          And that’s no joke ! 🙂

        • David C

          I would be surprised if >1% of Auckland sewer network is 100 years old.

          • tracey

            Are you saying that all the pipes in and around central Auckland, travelling in and out of houses are newer than 100 years?


            • David C

              as i said, less than 1% of Auckland.

              Earthernwork (red clay) pipework just does not last that long. It has all been replaced and upsized. Infrastructure (disposal) has been upgraded and changed multiple times.

              A 4 foot diameter pipe going out into the harbour just isnt the way to dispose of turds anymore 🙂

              • With a bit of luck ,… Winston Peters will be flushing a few turds out of the political system this Thursday…

                • David C

                  Winston is a turd.
                  Serial liar, thief and trougher.
                  Happily supported and defended by the Clark Govt 2005 – 2008.

                  • Really ?… I thought the common consensus here is that Bill English is the liar and the trougher.

                    $32,000.00 in housing allowances that he wasn’t entitled to and PAID FOR BY THE TAX PAYER ring a bell , buddy?

                    Interesting that we see Peters talking about changing how this country is run both economically and socially today.

                    You far right wing fanatics must be shitting broken glass right about now , eh mate?

      • weka 2.2.2

        Well here I will side with Bill. It’s not immigration per se that’s the problem there. Imo it’s that we design around perpetual growth. Bill argues that infrastructure issues are ones of mismanagement, I argue they’re deeper than that. Most NZers want a growth economy. We get a stupid, greedy neoliberal govt and they willa just immigration policy to pillage, but even if we had a social democracy that limited immigration and managed infrastructure to keep pace with that, we’d still be growing. Afaik, the birth rate in NZ is still increasing, and NZers still want an increasing standard of living. Cutting immigration to zero doesn’t change that.

        I support limiting immigration to NZ, and I want to see that based on a steady state economy. I also want immigration policy to be fair to immigrants.

        Agreed on increasing the refugee quota, which neatly lands us back at neoliberalism because immigrants are seen as net $ contributors whereas refugees are seen as charity. That needs a radical rethink but it won’t be possible while NZ is still voting in neoliberal govts. I guess what I am getting at is that yes National are evil and useless, but I think NZ is getting the immigration policy it deserves currently.

        • WILD KATIPO

          Yeah pretty much . But it wouldn’t take much to raise the refugee quota- they are that low as they are. And raising it sure wouldn’t equate to the massive immigration we have currently. And one thing about most refugees, – they actually appreciate being given the chance to live in a place that isn’t ripped apart by constant warfare.

          We should be grabbing those people and their family’s out of those hellholes. And turning the tap right back on wanton willy nilly immigration.

          ‘hellholes’ … Peters used that term, and its quite apt.

        • tracey

          Except student immigrants who are seen as upfront investors in their education for a profit or to subsidise domestic students BUT many are completing low skill or unneeded skill Degrees… and are getting PR and becoming low wage or unemployed.

          • weka

            are you talking about people who come here short term to study, or people that come here to study and stay on living here?

            • tracey

              I am talking about the student category which allows students to study and then get an automatic 2 year work visa upon completion. That Qual, plus work experience, plus their age is usually sufficient to get PR. Jobs can be “set up” with employers in a field that fits with the qualification. Money can change hands between student agent/PTE and employers. They are usually on minimum wage. When the 2 years is up and they have PR they are no longer employed and with a low skill qual find themselves on minimum wage or unemployed while the employer moves on tot he next graduate.

              NOT all employers taking on students, and not all PTE’s. BUT wow, there are a lot.

          • WILD KATIPO

            Indeed , we have become a nation of certificate holders. Well qualified ditch diggers ( though not really – some are good value ! 🙂 ).

            So it serves the fly by night rackateers who run these ‘institutes of learning’ in tandem with offshore head hunters to cram even more of the same hapless characters seeking a back door entry into NZ. Just a back door rort.

            All this goes to show is the bullshit neo liberal ideology at work – ie : always heading towards the lowest common denominator. And ALWAYS with negative side effects. Always.

        • Steve

          “Most NZers want a growth economy. We get a stupid, greedy neoliberal govt and they willa just immigration policy to pillage, but even if we had a social democracy that limited immigration and managed infrastructure to keep pace with that, we’d still be growing.”

          Perhaps if enough tax loop holes remain wide open for abuse.While plenty of money may get made,via creative accountancy, in the long run, it’s still showing-up as loss in the end anyway.So bugger all tax is then paid, if “any” sometimes even.Cash is sucked out of the system, in any “ways” “legally” possible.Meanwhile immigration then gets used as a kind of cover-up economy “sweetener”-deal?.And through all this NZ general citizen are also having the wool pulled over their eyes (sheeple like manner) being conned into thinking, “well hey, don’t this all seem to be looking pretty good now.Perhaps we’ll be needing some more of this”

          Done deal. But bloody hard to put the infrastructure together

    • tracey 2.3

      Immigration is also a tool to keep wages low.

    • CLEANGREEN 2.4

      100% WEKA

      This Government is guilty of running down our infrastructure since 2008 while re-sending those funds to other ‘Pork belly policies’ like ‘The holiday highways’ to the rich set so yes you are correct to say Government “in their own incompetence nor slavish adherence to an anti-social economic ideology, is what lies behind the degradation of infra-structure in New Zealand.”

      Another example is how national have almost destroyed our regional railways as they should be building them up for our increasing population should we not?

      Here is my letter to Bill English on this as he goes to Winston for help and I don’t see National actually helping us there either.

      Mr Bill English,
      We are advising your National Party that our HB/Gisborne regional communities are demanding our East Coast Regional rail services now be restored after the five years we have suffered after the National party closed our rail without any community consultation which we repeatedly asked for and was denied by your former PM John Key administration.

      We are placing our demand for your support for our rail to be now restored to service again for freight and passenger services to reduce the “truck gridlock” that now is clogging our roads making them very dangerous and costing millions in road repairs.

      You need to be aware that we at CEAC as a community NGO, along with HB Public Health, & NIWA & Water care services have all now confirmed and proven that the traffic levels along the residential truck route is causing air pollution and noise levels that are now at dangerous exceedances levels that are now at far higher levels than sustainable for residents and are now at dangerous levels along the present HB Expressway in Napier.

      Refer to all attachments above including the minutes from our committee meeting with NZTA in July which failed any meaningful resolution.

      Note; No meaningful resolutions were offered by Simon Bridges.

      Overuse of truck freight 24/7 has been threatening the public health, & wellbeing of all our communities all the way from HB/Gisborne now.

      Bill – Refer to attachment “HB Expressway noise and air quality issues report” June 2006 please.

      Worse also is the dramatic drop traffic noise & air pollution is causing with the loss of property values amongst all our communities and residential property owners for years, so all these negative effects of over use of truck freight can be seen clearly in the PCE report above with NZTA offering some ‘smooth road quiet surface’ in 2004 for the excessive noise and pollution that has developed there.
      All previous mitigation was removed under National since then. (No ‘reasonable use of rail has been offered since then either.)

      A much greater use of rail was recommended as a mitigation measure for use for freight and passenger services was identified by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment after conducting a transport study for a year study in 2005 (see study attached above.)

      This negative traffic noise & air pollution issue has come to a head now and can be traced back as far back to 2002 so urgent attention is required while we regard this as the reason for rail as mitigation must now be used for ‘land transport’ of freight & passenger services through the Manawatu Gorge, to reconnect the western traffic to the eastern side.

      Finally this latest NZTA road plan for a possible (estimated) $10 Billion dollar “huge viaduct through the Manawatu Gorge” must then become a ‘toll road’ as it is expressly needed urgently only for the freight/road industry and expressly not needed for the occasional private car user.

      If NZTA wish to use public purse to build these tunnels & viaducts why not use those financial resources to finish the ‘“East Coast rail line to Auckland as was planned from 1912 through 1939 to 1968?
      See map attached Gisborne Taneatua Auckland line.

      We must now realise to pay for all massive road upgrades/repairs especially in any locations such as road gorge configurations such as repeated slips occurring in the Manawatu, Waioeka, Otira, and other venerable road systems.

      Locations that are forced to use only a gorge then dictates that we must make ‘commercial users’ of our roads a “user pays” policy now as the local ratepayers and NZ taxpayer cannot sustain the increasing tax burden on them exclusively.

      Please consider our proposal and respond to me as secretary of CEAC so that I can table your response before our committee please when able.
      CC;- to Winston Peters.

  3. Adrian 3

    Stop blaming the wrong people, Garner is obliquely blowing the whistle because immigration has gone to unsustainable levels simply because one bankrupt ideology needs it to give the illusion of growth. Wealthy immigrants bringing ” money” is not a viable strategy.
    Quote marks because I bet the majority of the ” money” disappears back where it came from and is replaced by monies borrowed here.

    • tracey 3.1

      Yes. Housing market in Auckland + Immigration = smokescreen of “strong economy” myth

    • Bill 3.2

      The post is about infra-structure that has been neglected and/or not laid in and/or not modernised.

      The post is not about immigration.

      You really think NZ has inadequate and crapped out 19th century infrastructure that’s increasingly ‘not fit for purpose’ “because immigration”? Or alternatively (additionally?) because a market economy demands expansion?

      Would zero growth have made any difference to the decisions made on how or whether to manage and upgrade or preserve the physical structures of rail, water, homes, roads, electricity supply etc?

      Maybe it would have.

      • tracey 3.2.1

        One might argue that increasing immigrant numbers will help us pay for the tired and old infrastructure BUT one problem is that this government tied PR to student visas. As soon as it said that you could do a diploma or Degree AND get 2 years work visa at completion. Under the point system the Degree + 2 years work experience and their age (under 30) gets you PR.

        Here’s the crunch. PTE (Private Training Establishments) were established to abuse this and make money. They “award” Diplomas and Degrees, in some generic courses such as “Business” charge loads, arrange a job for students, and the employers rarely continue the employment after the 2 year mark. The student is then on PR in NZ but with no particular skills, and many end up on benefits. Not ALL PTEs fit this, some offer genuine Degrees but many do not. I have it on good advice that a couple of months ago about 60,000 such students hit the end of their two year work period… Armed with PR and low skills. All using our tired and old infrastructure.

        We are stealing from them, profiting from their hope of a new life and in many cases the hope of their family that they will have a new life.

        This govt has NO shame.

        • Bill

          I confess that the student to permanent residence pathway confuses the fuck out of me. I’ve a number of friends who completed PhDs and those who attempted to become residents had a hell of an application process to wade though. Expensive as all fuck too.

          Maybe the problem is woeful employment legislation that allows employers to exploit foreigners who are being ripped off by dodgy private education providers?

          Close down the dodgy providers, give us robust employment legislation that tilts to the advantage of workers and then…giving a two year work visa to a student who has gone through study here, meaning that NZ potentially benefits from them applying their skills/knowledge and paying taxes into the bargain for two years, seems like a win/win.

          If overseas experience is anything to go by, the overwhelming number of (former) students go back to whatever their country of origin afterwards. I believe Theresa May got hammered recently when the numbers behind that reality destroyed her insistence to the contrary – that foreign students were flooding the UK.

          Maybe it’s different here. But I’d like to see the numbers and percentages.

          • tracey

            NZIS know who the dodgy agents are, and suspect employers/providers. BUT they do little. I suspect that comes from higher up?

          • tracey

            My source says the following

            ” Roughly 50% go home after completing study and 50% historically got the work visa by getting an employer who offers qualification related work.

            I suspect that number will now be falling. Student visa numbers not quite in freefall but from the largest market, India, down around 30% year on year and it will continue to fall.

            If we have a NZF, Labour and Green Govt, you can expect it to fall further as Labour has said they want to raise the bar on what courses will result in the work visa option. National raised the bar earleir this year (not as high as Labour proposed) but they were both scrambling to take the wind out of Winston’s sales before the election. One might suggest only moderately successfully.

            The only way we will see a cut to net migration is by slashing those student numbers and I’d be adding the Holiday Working Visa crowd to that – over 100,000 in the country at any given time. Poor young Germans and Argentinians….”

            A pretty generic Business Diploma/Degree from a PTE qualifies you for a work visa

      • WILD KATIPO 3.2.2

        It wouldn’t matter if we had the current immigration settings or if half a million people just popped out of the sky from Mars , – the facts are now that due to 33 years of underfunding ( which was deliberate) we now have ‘crap’ infrastructure .

        And bugger all adequate housing. Adding yet even more people in such large numbers just creates even more stress on the system. So yes, – immigration – or rapid population expansion no matter how it happens DOES have a direct bearing on the question of infrastructure.

        • Bill

          My question is who is blaming the politicians for it? And if the condemnation of politicians isn’t at least as widespread and as vocal as that which is directed at immigrants, then what the fuck is going on?

          • WILD KATIPO

            Your very right, – its an old ploy used by successive neo liberals to simply divert the issue. They have always played the race card because its an easy trap to set.

            Fact is , its nothing to do with racism but simple practical logistics.

            Aint got no homes and hospitals to take care of the population ? , – then you better start funding em. Cant do that cos its not part of the ideology and you want to dismantle social infrastructure and make way for privatization?

            Easy !

            Let them ( immigrants ) pour into the country , create a problem with it , deliberately underfund vital services , housing and the like , – and VOILA !

            Perfect Hegelian Dialectics at work!!!

            In steps the private sector to the rescue.

            Ever get the feeling we’ve all been played for a song ???

            But this always f*cks up far right wing fanatics like DAVID C ….

            New Right Fight – Who are the New Right?

    • Carolyn_nth 3.3

      Actually, his initial article did not blow the whistle on the immigration levels under the National-led government’s watch. He blamed “ourselves” for letting it happen. Then he claimed Labour did not have a plan to deal with it…. National remained invisible.

  4. Skinny 4

    I was talking to Mr Ed the other week he informed National if (dead now) elected were embarking down the privately owned rail model, again. Which figures given English mooted not being opposed to big Chinese business (or other foreign outfits) owning Rail in New Zealand. That was said when the Chinese Premier was here visiting end of last summer. I did the loyal Kiwi thing and made sure the incoming Minister of RONI was informed.

    • Skinny 4.1

      Just heard the noon bulletin on RNZ where Peters has raised ‘foreign ownership’ as a major concern to NZF in their negotiations. This means a major change in National’s policy direction.

      Looks pretty clear Peters is priming his Right leaning supporters as to why he won’t be forming a National/NZ First coalition government.

      • CLEANGREEN 4.1.1

        Hi Skinny

        Agree 100% as we all felt that message to as National cannot function without selling our country out now!!!

        So Winston has said he will walk if National don’t change from being a rabid grave robber, and to suddenly become a saviour of saving our country.

        That would be a bridge to far as National will never agree to banning sale of our assets both public and private.

        Labour coalition is set to proceed folks.

        • Skinny

          I just can not see it, people don’t see just how dirty Joyce campaigned against Peters. There was lot more going on by stealth that wasn’t visible to the public eye, and I won’t be going into it here. But the all seeing eyes of Winston knew exactly what was going on. So apart from incompatible policy direction this has really sealed National’s fate. He is just toying with them now.

  5. ianmac 5

    Wasn’t the influx of immigration key to Key’s need to have a “growing” economy?
    A growth in Prison population and an increase in Immigration gives increase to GDP.
    If so then to drop either or both would lead to a fall in the Economy.

    • tracey 5.1

      I just remember his wasted money on pushing the Financial Hub… glad he failed, but it took him toil 2012 to ditch it.

      • WILD KATIPO 5.1.1

        DOESNT IT STRIKE you guys as suspicious that approx the same amount of immigrants that have arrived in recent years ie : approx half a million ,… is around the same number of ex Kiwi’s that now live in Australia – approx 600,000?

        Must have been yet another monumental [email protected] up by the neo liberals , then eh? They must of realized they wouldn’t have enough serfs to pick up their rubbish and man the gas pumps so decided to import a few hundred thousand more to pay a minimum wage to…

        Talk about the Irish migrations 150 years or so back to America…. !

        • RedLogix

          And is exactly why John Howard (and all subsequent Aussie govts since) have carefully closed the door on New Zealand ‘residents’ having any kind of preferential citizenship path into Australia.

          These guys know a big fat loophole when they see one.

          • WILD KATIPO

            Hehe,… yes the old Johhny Howard treatment , though ,… he did offer Helen Clarke a better deal but she rejected it. Thus it all went west after that. In some areas at least , we could learn a thing or two from the Aussies. And stop being so intentionally gullible.

  6. Stuart Munro 6

    The neoliberal substitution of a market model for immigration to replace the old civil service moderated ‘public interest’ model has been predictably disastrous.

    High levels of fraud and widespread systematic underpayment of workers are symptomatic of a government completely out of its depth.

    The forces that created these problems won’t solve them. I look forward to a significant reduction in immigration numbers as a first step in the direction of rational policy.

  7. tc 7

    Follow the trail that’s forming around the pipeline debacle as a current example of what’s wrong with NZ’s crucial infrastructure on several levels.

    How did a digger get to rip through it ?
    Were appropriate authorities informed, no not the owner a responsible Statutory authority.
    Weeks after and no fines have been laid or proceedings against the company whose digger gouged it.

    It’s almost as if ‘Before U Dig’ didn’t exist, the pipe line wasn’t marked and nobody is being held accountable for an avoidable incident.

  8. Antoine 8

    So are we all cool with gendered insults now Weka? No problem the next time I want to call a public figure “a excited donkey’s dick waving in a stiff breeze”?


    • Antoine 8.1

      I see Trump is “Twitterfinger J. Putinpussy” over on the Open Mike, too

    • weka 8.2

      Why are you asking me?

      • Antoine 8.2.1

        Because you’re a moderator


        • weka

          Authors don’t moderate other authors’ posts expect under pretty extreme circumstances. Partly out of respect, partly because it causes problems (Bill for instance has the same moderating technical permissions as I do, so how would work exactly?).

          • RedLogix

            +++ 1 to weka

            I have the same moderating permissions as well, but if I’m just commenting I don’t even bother logging in these days. I find it best to try and keep the two hats in quite separate wardrobes. 🙂

    • Bill 8.3

      Ah. You’re quite right Antoine. The dick should have pinned to an ass, not a donkey – that way the intended insult would have been much clearer, yes?

      I’m just too in thrall to alliteration 🙁

      • WILD KATIPO 8.3.1


        Is that some kind of southern gator ?

      • Antoine 8.3.2

        Ass Dick Duncan (scratches head).

        OK, let me get the hang of this. Speaking as a white male, can I call Ardern “Donkey Dick Jacinda” on account of the Labour policy of reducing immigration?


        • Bill

          Well. That just wouldn’t make any sense whatsoever, would it? Scroll up/down to the comment where martymars asked why that expression had been used and you’ll see the reference/rationale in my reply to that comment.

  9. RC 9

    New Zealand should be looking at a population that is sustainable and reaping the benefits instead we cannot take in 2% of our population annually and expect infrastructure to keep pace. I don’t see why Duncan Garner is in the wrong for pointing this out.

  10. tracey 10

    Remember the guy who came in on the Investment visa? Was going to build that hotel in Epsom? After 5-10 years has not? Now, how hard to have in place a law that says if you do not do what you promise you forfeit the money you had to bring in. It goes to the Govt coffers and you get PR or Citizenship rescinded. That would be easy if there was political will. BUT it happens a bit.

    Secondly, we have the kiwifruit industry brazenly not giving migrant workers contracts and paying under minimum wage (over 50%) of them. That is deliberate law breaking to take advantage of vulnerable people seeking a better life. It is also interrupting the blessed market the right loves SO much. IF there are not enough workers, wages should go up under market forces.

    Instead they are deliberately driven down. Single people on benefits would DO seasonal jobs IF

    1. The pay was better
    2. They could get straight back on a benefit when the work finished

    As long as it takes WINZ weeks or months to start paying someone coming off seasonal work it would be a foolish person who leaves it to take a short term job. When you add in the weeks or months to get back on support the real hourly rate of the seasonal work is well below $10 an hour.

    • Gristle 10.1

      The standard immigration ruse for wealthy immigrants (ie those going to invest $1.5m or more) is to set up a company, the company buys a large property (that may or may not be in Epsom, Wanaka, Havelock North etc) and a Bed and Breakfast is established. Unfortunately, due to circumstances beyond the control of the immigrant, nobody ever comes to stay in their bnb.

      There we go, avoided all those pesky queues and waiting times, and oh, they still have their money.

      • tracey 10.1.1

        My understanding is chaps such as the one I referred to above have to invest $10m.

        • Gristle

          Just checked the NZ Immigration site, the new minimum is $3m.

          • tracey

            Ah. Was sure Epsom guy was 10m. Thanks for correction. Only thing going down in price seems to be a place in NZ

            • Craig H

              There are two investor categories, 3m minimum and 10m minimum.

              Term deposits are legitimate investments, there’s no need to rort the categories with made up investments.

      • WILD KATIPO 10.1.2

        Honestly ,…. human beings. And their egos and their bullshit ….

        Monty python Universe Song – YouTube
        monty python the univers song you tube▶ 3:14

    • Augustus 10.2

      Last time I had anything to do with seasonal work it was piecemeal, not hourly. So shit weather = no income. Nothing ripe = no income. That’s on top of the stand down periods you mention.

  11. tracey 11

    Were we this frothy when we imported loads of British people or was it ok cos they looked like us on the streets when we passed by them?

    In 2017 many businesses, including not for profits are appointing Brits to lead positions when there are NZers amongst their candidates more than capable…

    • weka 11.1

      “Were we this frothy when we imported loads of British people or was it ok cos they looked like us on the streets when we passed by them?”

      Yes, NZ has a racism problem with regards to Asians. Where I live a lot of the conversation about the problems with immigration (and overseas $ affecting land prices) is about Brits, Europeans and Americans. So there are two problems there, racism and immigration policy/foreign $ policy).

      • tracey 11.1.1

        Ok. When I lived in Auckland, and now in Christchurch, the immigration negativity is aimed squarely at ignorance around “Asians”.

        • weka

          Yes, I’m aware there are places where that happens. And not saying it’s not happening here either, but just that more of an issue is the number of Anglos buying land and getting jobs on holiday visas. I think it’s helpful for the left to not reduce this issue to one of Asian racism, but to talk about that racism alongside how the other issues are playing out.

          For instance, I want the govt to ban foreign ownership of land, and because of where I live I can talk about it in terms of Anglos. But it’s very hard to talk about where the people buying land because of better cash access than Kiwis come from places that NZ typically reacts to in a racist way.

          Sorry, round about way of saying, I’m concerned that in the conflation of all the issues, what is getting lost is the divide between progressives who want open borders and those that want controlled borders. So some of the debate ends up being ‘controlling immigration is racist’, and we just go round and round in the same stuff and in the meantime people are getting more and more alarmed about what is playing out in NZ.

          • tracey

            Interestingly this National Govt who for so long didn’t want to be a world leader in anything cos we are too small (paraphrasing John Key) is an outlier when it comes to selling land to foreign folks/companies

          • Bill

            So some of the debate ends up being ‘controlling immigration is racist’, and we just go round and round..

            Hmm. From Stephanie over at “Boots Theory

            I am tired of having to explain incredibly basic concepts like (…) “criticising racist rhetoric does not mean I believe in a fully open borders policy and what the hell are you smoking to suggest that I am, you obvious deflection tactic?”

            • weka

              Sure, but there are definitely people both here and on twitter who do believe in open borders but aren’t being explicit about that in their arguments.

              So we have another layer here, which is the disagreement amongst the left about what is appropriate immigration policy. As long as that remains hidden we will go round and round.

              There are people arguing for border control being called racist or xenophobic and some of the time it appears to be because they want to lessen immigration numbers. This comes across as immigration numbers shouldn’t never be decreased because it’s xenophobic to do so.

              I’m all for that being cleared up, and I think there is some onus on lefties arguing back against racism or infrastructure arguments to make it obvious what their actual beliefs or politics on this are.

              • RedLogix

                Nor is it just a question of ‘open borders’ or not. There are still many countries in the world that are very selective about who they will allow in as immigrants and under what circumstances.

                For instance Malaysia is very open to immigrants from Australia over retirement age because they bring cash and create jobs. Just don’t try to emigrate there if you want to work.

                What we are really discussing is the right of a society to shape and manage immigration in order to maintain the kind of community they are comfortable with.

                • weka

                  “What we are really discussing is the right of a society to shape and manage immigration in order to maintain the kind of community they are comfortable with.”

                  yes. Which is why I think lefties need to be explicit about that. Open borders would have effect, so would closed borders, and everything in between.

                  • RedLogix

                    Exactly. At the extremes both totally open AND closed borders are a disaster. Therefore we must negotiate a middle path.

                    I can’t help but link to TOP’s policy here:

                    make it quicker and simpler for truly skilled people to live and work here. This will require changes to our visa regime, and international brand. The latter needs to present us as a tech-savvy nation with great lifestyles, to markets such as Europe, the UK, Asia and the US.


                    A reasonable overview of both the opportunities AND risks involved.

                    • tracey

                      We have an ok system now what we do not have is enforcement of it. It is supposed to be highly skilled now and no kiwiw can do the job. BUT we have underfunding of enforcement. Also to be quick and truly highly skilled is a contradiction because proving highly skilled is not always quick. How was TOP funding the speed? Less in Health or Education or higher tax?

                    • RedLogix

                      The link discusses the lack of enforcement as a big issue. Otherwise the last two pages of this doc outline their ideas:


                      Right now our immigration system is broken by rorts, partly because National have systematically underfunded, undervalued and debased our public service in general. The fence has gaping holes that no-one is allowed to fix.

                      Policy improvements aside, a large part of the fix is simply getting the system to work effectively again.

                    • A reasonable overview of both the opportunities AND risks involved.

                      That does need to be looked at. So does the number of people that NZ can sustainably support in relation present technology and the costs involved with immigration.

                      There are costs and it’s not just in money. More congestion will result from the increased people. That will result in higher rate of pollution and early deaths. That means that we’re going to need to build up more infrastructure which has it’s own costs in labour, destroyed environment both where the infrastructure is and the extraction of the resources necessary to build it.

                      These are issues that those who want more immigration don’t seem to want to address.

              • Bill

                Well, maybe by way of addressing that apparent dichotomy. Back up the thread you wrote in relation to me –

                I think you are saying that there is no inherent problem with immigration (you can correct me if I’ve misunderstood). I disagree, because I think that open borders create problems.

                I’ve never suggested that migration has no inherent problems and I’ve never suggested that migration be a “decision free” zone.

                I have, but only in a theoretical and anti-capitalist context, put forward arguments for open borders by way of challenging the idea that nation states are legitimate fence-lines that run through the human population cutting us off from one another.

                But like I say “open borders” does not mean that we (ie – people) abrogate any right to a say on where we live. And I’ve never heard an argument that has made that contention.

                • weka

                  Not quite following that. Do you mean that NZ has a right to limit migration where it might affect life in NZ?

                  • Bill

                    For better or worse, the decisions around immigration rates are made at the governmental level.

                    I might disagree with you on where those decisions should be made – ie, at what level (nation state, local government, community) And I might disagree with you on how any governance structure making those decisions ought to be configured or function.

                    But there’s no disagreement over the fact that decisions be made.

                    • weka

                      Ok, that’s great to know, I hadn’t realised that.

                      It would be great to have some left wing discussions about how those decisions could/should be made (re immigration), but at the moment it seems fraught with the racist stuff (thanks Garner for setting the discussion back yet again).

                    • tracey

                      The moving of the points, up or down, to qualify for PR is a very high level decision

                • RedLogix

                  And I’ve never heard an argument that has made that contention.

                  It’s rarely said out loud. But if the outcome of ANY attempt to shape or even limit immigration is to shout it down as ‘racist’, the implication is that ‘open borders’ is all you are left with.

                  • weka

                    maybe it’s time we had more nuance in the conversations.

                  • McFlock

                    Well, in Garner’s case he looked around and from the appearance of the people in the queue decided that immigration was the reason he was standing in a line rather walking out of the door already with his kmart loot (or at the very least he decided that this was the way to illustrate the point he was trying to write about).

                    So in his case, there’s that.

                    • RedLogix

                      True, but essentially as Wild Katipo has pointed out elsewhere, what we’ve done over the past few decades is export about a million white skinned people and imported a similar number of brown skinned people to replace them with. (At lower wages.)

                      The queue Garner was looking at is stark, non-statistical evidence of this. And to be blunt about it, evidence that a lot of people can relate to because it’s their own daily lived experience too.

                      Whether this is a racist dog whistle or not harder to discern. Here’s what Garner says in his own defence:

                      “Twitter lost me today because twitter and its people have no idea about me and my bi-lingual kohanga and Kura kids, the immigrant neighbourhood I live in and my boy’s school where 55 languages are spoken and my wife is dedicated to the mainly immigrant community as a teacher aide – she treats and loves all those kids and new arrivals with total love and warmth.”


                      Seems like a ‘lack of nuance’ finally got too much for him, although there has to some sort of deep irony in that.

                    • Actually, I think Garner looked around, saw that there were lots of people in the queue, that lots of them weren’t ‘native’ to NZ from their looks (that’s almost impossible to tell) and that excess immigration was thus the problem.

                      He failed to understand that the problem was lack of infrastructure to cater to the growing population, some of which is due to immigration. That lack of infrastructure in his case would have been due to the profit motive in that the shopping centre hadn’t invested enough to cover the increased use so as to keep profits high. And that they’ve got a captive consumer base that has nowhere else to go and that can’t be corrected by the private sector because there’s no one who would build up completely new shopping centre right next to the already existing one because competition lowers profits while costing a hell of a lot.

                    • weka

                      My problem with Garner’s article is that because of the reach he as as a journo he has a particular onus to not reinforce racist stereotypes and paradigms in NZ and he failed. I don’t care about his personal life or where he lives, I care about what he wrote that day.

                      He basically wrote an article to an audience that already has a problem with anti-Asian racism and he sanctioned their racism. I don’t think he meant to do that, but that just means he needs to do some anti-racism work and learn what racism is and how the MSM and the rest of the political class contributes to it.

                    • RedLogix

                      He basically wrote an article to an audience that already has a problem with anti-Asian racism and he sanctioned their racism.

                      This is where the word ‘racism’ gets slippery. It has layers.

                      On one hand I think Garner is sincere when he points to his own family and can demonstrate an openness and warmth to people from other cultures. At the person to person level it’s my experience that any lingering doubts or hostility fairly quickly melts in the face of curiosity, respect, good humour.

                      It’s when things get de-personalised that it gets harder. It’s when, like my elderly father, who looks down the length of the street and realises he’s the only white person left, and instead of a community he recognises and is part of, he’s being ignored, snubbed and treated like trash.

                      Or my very oldest friend whose mother was Chinese, will tell me how he resents rich Chinese immigrant pricks snotting past him in their uber-flash Mercs and bloated Beemers … not just driving with the arrogance of the rich, but visibly sneering at his heritage.

                      Or just the plain bewilderment that Garner experienced when you realise that the queue he’s standing in, is actually somewhere in South East Asia, not the New Zealand he grew up in and loves. It’s gone. It’s like he’s become an unwilling refugee; he’s been relocated somewhere else … without ever passing over a border.

                      Everyone experiences this differently; but mass immigration does have an impact on the host community and merely dismissing this reaction as ‘racist’, denies people the right to feel comfortable in the communities they chose to belong to.

                      Of course this doesn’t mean overt racism doesn’t exist; there will always be those who revel in being disrespectful, noxious arseholes, but that isn’t the same thing as wanting to protect your own identity and sense of place.

                    • McFlock

                      Thing is, any change in society has an impact on people.

                      What’s racist, in my opinion, is when the change in society that causes an impact that one feels needs to be addressed (rather than adapted to) is simply the colour of people’s skin. Especially when one is looking at it from a perspective of having been part of the dominant culture and being replaced by the other.

                      I’m sure that some of Garner’s best friends are yadda yadda yadda, but the fact a queue has a slightly darker aggregate skin tone than your used to to therefore immigration needs to be addressed – that’s still a little bit racisty.

                      Societies change. We either deal with it or get marginalised. Or we could end up like Japan, looking for robots to take care of the aging but gloriously homogeneous population.

                    • RedLogix

                      @ McFlock

                      is when the change in society that causes an impact that one feels needs to be addressed (rather than adapted to)

                      Is the short word for that ‘assimilated’?

                    • McFlock

                      No. Not only is “assimilated” slightly longer than “adapted to”, they also mean very different things. A dictionary might be of assistance to you.

                    • tracey

                      There is no questioning the depth of his analysis then? 😉

                    • RedLogix

                      So if I proposed that Maori should get over themselves, STFU and ‘adapt to’ European mass immigration … do you think marty might not have something justifiably rude to say to me?

                      Of course Maori have ‘adapted to’ their changed country with remarkable energy, but that didn’t erase all the bad spiritual, social and economic consequences that got visited on them along the way, nor did it silence them.

                      Because when your standing in a queue at your local shops and you’re the only white face, it’s no longer really a case of all these wonderful new people arriving and ‘joining in’ with the existing community. That horse long bolted; your community is being displaced and rapidly erased.

                      My contention is simple; people will adapt and will join in given adequate time and space to get used to the changes. When it’s dumped on them too rapidly, you get resistance (and overt pushback) instead of learning. Especially when they feel powerless over the choices being made.

                    • McFlock

                      Really? You just spoke to him about that this morning.

                      If you’re in a queue at the shops and realise “you’re the only white face”, what the fuck were you looking at for the last ten years? Were you oblivious to the changing demographics of your area? Did you also suddenly realise you had more Polynesian or Asian friends than European? No? What were you doing all that time? It wasn’t suddenly “dumped”. We didn’t just fundamentally change the demographics of the country last night. It takes decades.

                      And why is it a bad thing to be a minority?

                    • RedLogix

                      And why is it a bad thing to be a minority?

                      Depends … you might want to ask Maori for a first hand sense of it. Especially given that no-one asked them first.

                      (Recently I spent a month working in Colombia, and it was definitely an interesting, almost liberating experience being a complete and utter minority. Literally I was the only white face in the whole town. But that was an experience I had some control over, and I had a home to go back to.)

                    • McFlock

                      Maori have more serious concerns than ‘the shopping queue looks different to my skin tone’.

                    • RedLogix

                      @ McFlock

                      A matter of time. They had few concerns about being displaced in 1840. 1863 a different story.

                      I’m primarily pointing to the Maori experience because it’s so very central to our own story as a nation; it’s one we should understand.

                      But you knew that.

                    • McFlock

                      Well, they had few concerns about displacement in 1840 because that wasn’t in the treaty they signed. Whereas our immigration laws are entirely determined and enforced by us.

                      But then Marty’s already tried to explain to you that immigration is not the same thing as colonisation.

                    • Yep I have. It devalues all sides imo to conflag the 2 issues. Aďs zero to Māori and also diminishes any salient points re immigration. But people LOVE explaining to Māori why they should feel like them – happens all the time.

                    • RedLogix

                      I quite clearly outlined the distinction between colonisation and immigration here:

                      Open Mike 09/10/2017

                      Of course they are different things; you can have colonisation without mass immigration displacing the indigenous population (eg: the British Raj in India), and you can have immigration without colonisation (eg: the arrival of say the Greek and Dutch people into NZ).

                      But in some instances, eg the arrival of Europeans into Aoteoroa post 1840, we clearly have an example of BOTH occurring at the same time.

                      And I would argue there are very few examples of mass immigration that displaces an existing population that does not have a bad outcome, whether or not there was a ‘colonisation’ involved.

                      One might look at Fiji as an interesting example where Indian labourers were imported to work the sugar cane fields, but as their population grew to equal or exceed that of the indigenous Fijians, all manner of political problems ensued as the locals acted to maintain political and economic dominance over the new arrivals.

                      Untangling the separate impacts of colonisation and economic displacement by mass immigration is non-trivial. They would seem often very closely entangled … conflated if you will.

                      But it is fair to suggest that if hypothetically Maori had remained the dominant population, our political history would have been entirely different. By say the early 1900’s when NZ became a Dominion, or post WW2 when India gained it independence, it’s not hard to imagine a Maori dominated nation taking a completely different path to the one it is on now. Perhaps we might look to Tonga for an example.

                      While I agree that colonisation and immigration are different things; ultimately it’s the demographics that seem to be the biggest determinant of the outcome.

                      But people LOVE explaining to Māori why they should feel like them

                      You have this backwards; I’m suggesting that maybe Europeans might now have more empathy around how Maori have felt for so long.

                    • RedLogix

                      @ McFlock

                      Whereas our immigration laws are entirely determined and enforced by us.

                      Well that’s sort of the point of this entire thread isn’t it? That many people feel the existing laws and policies are emphatically NOT what they want, and they feel relatively powerless to change them.

                    • McFlock

                      living in a democracy with laws you don’t like is fundamentally different from having draconian laws imposed upon you by a foreign power with the express objective of having that foreign power rule over you.

                      And even if you not liking the current immigration laws is reasonably analogous to an indigenous culture facing colonisation (which it’s not), coming to the conclusion that you dislike our immigration laws simply because you’re not used to the average skin tone in a kmart shopping queue is, to put it bluntly, fucked up.

              • McFlock

                I think NZ does need to establish what size population (and growth) it can sustain within its borders, including tourists. I have a serious problem with overseas finance distorting NZ markets, but that doesn’t usually involve immigration.

                I have no problem with immigration at any level within the above constraint. The worst that will happen is some cultural change. I’m used to that. And new restaurants, always fun.

                We just need to ensure that immigrants are not used to keep wages and conditions down, and frankly I think we should prioritise refugees rather than general long term immigration.

                But population growth is the issue we need to address, and immigration is only half of that, the other half being reproduction. The main way to lower that will be in reducing inequality within the country. The next way is to make sexual and reproductive services more accessible and free – including reversible male contraception when it’s finally developed.

                • weka

                  I agree with a lot of that, and I can also see why it’s easier to go to immigration as a first solution, because changing the immigration policy could be done now, whereas reducing inequality will take time. We could do both.

                  The sustainability one will be interesting, given that most people haven’t even thought this is an issue let alone how one would determine it. I bring this up on twitter sometimes and the general leftie response is that NZ has plenty of land therefore we can have heaps more people living here. Leaving aside whether that’s desirable for other reasons, it’s based on pretty much nothing in sustainability terms. I think people just haven’t had to think about this stuff before, and also, we don’t teach sustainability and resiliency design so few people have the tools to work through that.

                  • McFlock

                    We are quite sparesely populated on unholy amounts of arable and pastoral land compared with most other nations on earth, even if we forced Canterbury farmers to do something less water-intensive than cows. In the case of the rest of the planet disappearing, we could probably sustain ourselves at a basic level at the very least. Hong Kong would starve in days.

                    But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t plan ahead. In some ways the “first stop/only stop:Auckland” syndrome for immigration is helping us by creating a synthetic example of what we will have to consider in the longer term.

                    • weka

                      Comparing our population density with other places that are in overshoot isn’t a meaningful way to look at sustainability though.

                      “we could probably sustain ourselves at a basic level”

                      Could? Probably? What’s that guess based on? Looking at other countries that use fossil fuels and growth economies?

                      If we look at the issue in terms of land base (arguably the only real starting point for sustainability), then we’re already in overshoot. So our current population ‘could probably’ manage on a decreased lifestyle if we powered down back to not being in overshoot. That precludes growing population and increases in lifestyle and resource use.

                    • McFlock

                      Well, when you look at land base, what’s that “overshoot” based on?

                      Pre-carbon, in 1700 England had a population of 5mil and an area of 150,000sqKm, or 33 ppl/km. NZ has a population density of 15 ppl/sqKm. I reckon that’s pretty sustainable.

                    • weka

                      Landbase (in this convo) isn’t a measure of geography, it’s a measure of the capacity of that land to support a given human population for an indefinite period of time. (also non-human, but let’s keep it simply for a moment). It could be argued that the UK in the 1700s was on a slower decline than it was once the industrial revolution kicked in. Likewise NZ sheep farming in the 1940s was way better than dairy farming in the 2010s but both were having negative impacts. The sheep farming could have been sustained for another few hundred years at that rate (I’m guessing for sake of argument).

                      What we really need to do is look at a catchment and see what can be grown there regeneratively, without fossil fuels or other major GHG emission. That’s food, timber, clothing etc. So if we are ok with a 1700s lifestyle, then sure, I think the population we have now is probably doable allowing for the need for regeneration to get us back to that level of fertility and ecosystem health. But we’re really guessing here.

                      The ecological footprint of NZ is in overshoot by around 2x what the planet can sustain (that’s from memory). That was from the The NZ Footprint Project if you want to look it up. I think there are limits to the model they used, but it’s a useful starting point.

                      Here’s the thesis that underpinned that project,


                      This is a brief intro to the concept. It’s the slides from a presentation so is missing bits, but gives some of the core aspects,


                    • McFlock

                      that’s getting into the argument about whether current lifestyles and purchase choices are sustainable as a global citizen, not whether NZ as a country is living within its own sustainable levels.

                      My point is that for NZ, we’re still well short of population pressures placing our resources under actual pressure, as opposed to market-contrived scarcity. We have homeless because the system we use makes housing unaffordable for some people, not because we’re short of people, building supplies, or land to build homes on.

                    • weka

                      “that’s getting into the argument about whether current lifestyles and purchase choices are sustainable as a global citizen,”

                      No, it’s not. It’s assuming that in this conversation that’s already settled (we aren’t living sustainably, that is already a given by any useful measure).

                      “My point is that for NZ, we’re still well short of population pressures placing our resources under actual pressure, as opposed to market-contrived scarcity.”

                      And I’m saying that if you look through an actual sustainability lens that’s simply not true. If you take fossil fuels out of the picture, then we have to do things differently and no-on in NZ has measured that yet. The Footprint Project makes a fair crack at it, so I’m curious why you would dismiss that. Our resources are under pressure, and the reason we are able to ignore that is because of fossil fuels, the global economy and the fact that we get to use other people’s resources to support our lives. Those three things aren’t sustainable.

                    • McFlock

                      the footprint project looked at “fair use” of global resources.

                      My point is that we can do things differently, carbonzero or whatever, and still keep our current population level alive using the resources within our national territory.

                      Can Japan feed its current population with its current land area, even if it did things differently? Probably not. Many nations on the planet, if the rest of the planet got cut off, could not feed their people.

                      Our population is nowhere near exhausting our resources. Our deregulated markets might be, but our population is nowhere near it.

      • halfcrown 11.1.2

        “Were we this frothy when we imported loads of British people or was it ok cos they looked like us on the streets when we passed by them?”

        Yes, NZ was just as frothy. When I came to NZ in 72 with a lot of others from the UK who were headhunted, recruited in the UK for NZ companies, we were ALL subject to the racialist slur “Support Keith Murdock Punch A Pom A Day” . and other racists taunts like ” Had a Pommie Shower This Morning Pom” that was said to me as at the time New Zealanders had a nasty hang up about the washing habits of people coming from the UK. We were expected to accept it. Ha ha fucking ha. If we didn’t we then heard the other slur about winging. I know of one guy who returned to the UK, a tradesman NZ needed badly, his son suffered badly from the racist’s taunts. The last time I spoke to this guy (about 10 years ago) when I asked him if he regretted not staying he said “he would not fly over the shithouse called NZ. even if they paid him to”
        NZ has always had that undercurrent of racialism like anywhere else.

        • Andre

          I seem to recall a lot of snark ten-fifteen years ago about South Africans settling on the North Shore – comments like: it’s a mixed neighbourhood, they have people from Jo’burg, Pretoria AND Capetown.

        • Anne

          So much for the reputation that “Kiwis” are nice, friendly welcoming people. They are not. As a youngster I was bullied (mostly by girls) because of my so-called “BBC” accent. I was made to feel I didn’t belong here which is distressing for anyone let alone a child. I have no doubt many of the children of newly arrived immigrants today suffer a similar fate.

          NZers also have an inferiority complex which makes them think they can bully and abuse anyone they perceive to be different.

          • Andre

            I think there’s a lot of variation in that degree of welcome. When I arrived in Palmerston North in the 70s as a ten year old, I got a bit about my American accent but it never felt hostile.

            Today my kids go to a high school that’s less than 40% pakeha with a lot of recent immigrants. I help out with after school activities and camps etc, and I have not seen a single instance of kids getting a hard time about their race, accent etc. I’ve asked my kids (and they have a lot of non-pakeha friends) if they’ve seen any, and they say no.

          • RedLogix

            As a youngster I was bullied (mostly by girls) because of my so-called “BBC” accent.

            Heh … snap. God knows where it came from, because I’m 6th generation kiwi. Imagine if we’d gotten together and had kids … wot a right pack of plumy toffs they would have turned out. 🙂

          • halfcrown

            “So much for the reputation that “Kiwis” are nice, friendly welcoming people.”

            By and large they are Anne, but unfortunately, there is that undercurrent that is in every country.
            I was totally surprised and shocked when I first came here not a bit like the New Zealanders I worked with in the UK, a completely different setup but I suppose those were the ones that got out and saw how others lived in other countries. I nearly left and went to America to work for my old company who had a company in Philly but I met my wife whose family made me more than welcomed, in fact, my father-in-law and my boss were two of the finest people I have had the privilege to know, and they were 3rd or 4th generation New Zealanders.

        • KJT

          Well. The “poms” in the 50’s and 60’s were also an example of unwanted cultural change, enforced by employers wanting cheap labour. The English industrial relations system, (on both sides) and attitude to the trades, have been very detrimental to New Zealand.
          As one “Pom” told me, a nice feller by the way, “in the UK they pretend to pay us, and we pretend to work”.

          When I started work, in New Zealand, I was a lone Kiwi in a workplace full of Englishmen. The class warfare was a total culture shock.

  12. Pat 12

    an admission that immigration is our only economic plan…

    “The association’s chief executive, Kim Campbell, said reducing immigration would bring the economy to a “shuddering halt fairly quickly”.


    • tracey 12.1

      Immigration plus Auckland’s housing market. This government, with help from the prior Labour Govt and the media throughout have ignored this.

      This is partly why I wouldn’t mind a NZF/National Coalition because if immigration is crushed our economy will hurt. If labour/NZF get in they may be a 1 term govt because of this.

      • Pat 12.1.1

        am conflicted for the same reasons….but as has been noted can we withstand another 3 years of National…even if tempered by NZ First?

        • tracey

          IF labour were to truly indicate a dismantling of neoliberalism is on the cards i would say let us all suck it up and take the hit and work it out… but …

          • Pat

            even if they did (which appears unlikely to any great degree) then it will take longer than one term to turn it around ….and am not sure they would be given the time….may be best to allow it to self destruct before stepping up.

            • tracey

              Exactly… although could they do in 3 years sufficient to make it hard to unwind or rewind quickly? Richardson and Douglas had the advantage of the greed factor on their side to get public support

  13. Essentially, so the argument goes, NZ has too many people and not enough infra-structure and so must “take a breather” to get things in order.

    Sounds like what any rational person would do.

    Yes, New Zealand’s infra-structure is crap. And it’s crap because of the inaction of successive governments. It’s crap because that’s what happens when shit is sold to private entities that are geared to extract profit instead of providing for society. In short, it’s crap because of political incompetence.

    Correct. So, why do you think adding more people will make that better?

    If those who presume to manage New Zealand were serious about fixing up broken infra-structure or laying in new infra-structure (and by the way, we’ll be needing more than you could possibly shake a stick at in the coming few decades if ‘the incompetents’ suddenly and quite miraculously acknowledge the likely full impacts of global warming), then the lower skilled and poorer foreigners that current immigration policy proposals are geared against would be being encouraged and welcomed – not maligned and rejected.

    No they wouldn’t as the increase in people would still be increasing the stress on the existing infrastructure that you so malign and making things worse faster than they will be getting better.

    • CLEANGREEN 13.1

      Yes Draco I agree, as NZTA in the central regions I spoke to today said they were getting enough to repair the roads now but they are not budgeting for future costs of more freight passenger traffic and roadside amenities so they are “doing it all on the cheap” as anyone can clearly see now.

      So we should ask ‘Mr Tarmac’ himself (S Joyce) has he budgeted for these increased cost of weather related and road use increases or not going forward?

      Maybe that is where the $11.7 Billion hole is and still their, for labour to discover later????

  14. savenz 14

    Neoliberalism relies on migration in the same way that Ponzi scheme’s rely on new money coming in to keep the scam going.

    Under National’s rule migrants seem to be selected on type in particular in the last 3 years – young and impressionable, from countries where there is limited democracy and high levels of corruption, limited academic achievement (level 5 cookery or level 5 IT support) and clear gender and class divisions, OR wealthy property and asset investors. Then a large percentage are just older grandparents or family members getting in, on the back of the above. It’s like the opposite of what a normal country would try to do. Have a look at the statistics and they vote the most and support National. Then there is the 100,000’s of work permits being given out to foreign students and cheap labourers on top of the new migrants.

    My view is that not only are The National party importing in voters in certain demographics, they are trying to destroy the welfare system at the same time by overloading it deliberately so that it does not function any more.

    It also helps their roads, roads, roads and taxpayer money to cronies to build, build, build. Why have rules and regulations or even democracy anymore in the faux haste to build, build, build?

    Even if NZ manages to get higher skilled migrants they don’t stay because like skilled Kiwis leaving, they can’t put up with the high cost of living, low wage economy. Due to tightening immigration internationally now Kiwi’s can’t even leave anymore.

    If the NZ government just wanted more people they could increase the refugee quota. They are not doing that. Why?

    • 100%

      About says it all as to what is happening. A cynical way to garner large numbers of voters for National and keep enabling the low wage economy.

      Slash the immigration numbers ! Increase the refugee quota !

    • Neoliberalism relies on migration in the same way that Ponzi scheme’s rely on new money coming in to keep the scam going.

      Yep. The only way to get a larger economy is to have more people in it. The more people there are the more people spending and so there are higher profits for the owners.

    • Once was Tim 14.3

      100% ditto.
      I’m doing my best to refrain from commenting on this thread but I have to say thanks to BILL for the post.
      Good to see weka tracey wildK CG and others’ comments and unsurprising to see the ingrained kaka from David C (He fucks his own arguments up for reasons he’ll probably never understand – he absolutely has to be a WASP).
      We probably have the most unsophisticated immigration policy I’ve seen recently (apart from our neighbours across the ditch).
      What irks most is all that nasty shit starting to creep in by politicians and immigration officials alike – the kind of thing that rivals Dutton across the ditch.
      ‘High value and low value’ people – all based on judgments defined in terms of their being economic units.
      I’ll stop now before it becomes a complete rant but suffice to say the system AND the structure that is enabling it is working as designed: prop up shoddy private business interests, pit unemployed/lowly paid NZers against all these ‘bloody foreigners coming here taking all our jobs’, importation of votes, – then the unintended consequences such as enabling corruption and people trafficking.
      Never mind though – the evidence is mounting and it’s not just that infrastructure and community can’t cope with current policy, it’s also that we may be faced with challenges for compensation in various forms, and U.N admonishments in the not too distant. (And for the right winger/FTA-at-all-cost-advocates: a two finger response)

      • KJT 14.3.1

        An ethical immigration system, would stop trying to poach the advantaged from other countries, to prioritize refugee’s, and New Zealand’s own young people from the regions.

        We also have a moral obligation to the Pacific Islands, who we have fucked over in the past.

  15. Ed 15

    Bomber Bradbury’s is worth reading.

    ‘Rather than complaining about the racial make up of the people standing in line, the real story is why Kmart has been able to hollow out their staff for self-check outs. The economic system that exploits everyone shopping there is the issue, not the ethnicity of those forced to wait in line.

    So what is this column really about?

    A multinational retailer gutting worker rights to the same level of the sweat shop made products they import is crowded by poor people and migrants trying to stretch their dollar while a middle class white bloke happy to exploit the low prices brought about by globalisation hisses about immigrants because he has to wait in line with them.

    To be honest, that kinda does sum up NZ almost perfectly doesn’t it?’


    • Indeed it does.

      Welcome to the low waged economy.

      The neo liberal paradise.

      • CLEANGREEN 15.1.1

        Yes Wild Katipo,

        Welcome to the great Panama man’s great NZ-Ponzi scheme!!!!!

        Roll-up, roll-up, everyone!! get your stash of cash before doomsday arrives!

        Despicable arseholes they are.

  16. McFlock 16

    Another example is the Otago power poles – hundreds/thousands of which were recently classed as in immediate peril of falling down, and the lines company has been putting extra resources into replacing them (sometimes 20 years too late). Nothing to do with immigration – pure profit stripping by the council that owned the company.

    Immigration doesn’t really affect most infrastructure, any more than natural population growth by birth. Overseas captal can severely distort local markets, and some immigrants are used to purposefully deflate local employment and keep wages and conditions down, but our roads, and our checkout queues, are basic operational fuckups.

    And assuming immigration is the cause because lots of Asians seem to be in the queue is another problem with Garner entirely.

    [edit: didn’t notice that the pic on the fron page was one of those very same power poles]

    • weka 16.1

      Population growth affects infrastructure though, which is why we need better planning than we currently have.

      • tracey 16.1.1

        And do we not have negative pop. growth when immigration is removed?

        • weka

          I don’t think so. Afaik the birth rate is dropping but it’s still above replacement rate so our population would increase if we had no inward/outward migration. Someone might want to check that though.

          • McFlock

            StatsNZ population clock:

            New Zealand’s population is estimated to increase by one person every 4 minutes and 51 seconds.

            This is based on the estimated resident population at 30 June 2017 and the following forecasts:

            one birth every 8 minutes and 44 seconds
            one death every 15 minutes
            a net migration gain of one New Zealand resident every 6 minutes and 19

  17. mauī 17

    Auckland is our version of LA. Letting car culture run completely out of control.

    As urban commentator Kunstler says why did western cultures make all these planning errors – because it felt like a good idea at the time.

  18. I’m sorry Bill I have to ask – what is donkey dick Duncan mean? I assume it’s some porno reference but I just don’t get it ‘re context with your post – which I am in a lot of agreement with.

    • Bill 18.1

      It’s not a porno reference.

      There was a Stephen Fry programme where he traveled to various places and reported on insults. Turns out that whereas in some cultures it’s taken as a complement to be said to be “hung like a donkey”, there was one he visited (can’t remember which) where it’s an insult. And the reason it was an insult is that any man with a dick the size of a donkey’s, has a useless dick.

      Anyway. It randomly popped into my mind when writing the post, seemed appropriate, and it alliterates quite nicely.

      But yeah. Maybe a bit obscure.

  19. David Mac 19

    Infrastructure has been allowed to deteriorate and slide because the people making the decisions only keep their jobs if we vote for them.

    Just like us buying insurance cover, infrastructure is a grudge purchase. We get little short-term tangible benefit from the purchase. Roading that eases commuter bottle-necks wins votes. Avenues, pipes and cables into a new subdivision don’t offer anywhere near the same Spend/Vote ratio. New parks, light rail and public space art installations win elections. Tricky and expensive underground works don’t.

    • Stuart Munro 19.1

      Doesn’t run true – Chin could tell you white elephant stadiums are no guarantee of re-election. So blaming the voters won’t run – the feral halfwits masquerading as public servants need to take their share of the blame.

      • David Mac 19.1.1

        Voters? Not voters, elected officials. Superb front window display and the back-room in a shambles. Because infrastructure is managed in 5-10 year sized timeframes, it’s a sitting duck for blaming a previous regime – All care and no responsibility.

  20. Ad 20

    Our major infrastructure works have always needed foreign workers, and on current demand always will. With the amount of housing that we now need, we are effectively going to have to build Christchurch many times over.

    In Auckland, most of the stress is through underfunding from successive governments, a wilful neglect of the public transport system, and competing local governments undercutting each other with incoherent plans and lobbying for multiple decades.

    The positive infrastructure stories are pretty clear.
    Auckland Airport is self-funding, and the tourism/immigration boom also generates a boom in landing charges and car park charges which are poorly regulated. They are swimming in money and are well in tune with demand for their services.

    Watercare is entirely self-funding and has massive customers with effective volumetric charging. The Central and Northern Interceptor projects will have almost all of stormwater and wastewater networks fully separated and not subject to storm overflows. Both are in procurement now.

    Auckland Transport and NZTA – now there’s your problem.

    Outside of Auckland, centres with accelerated tourism and immigration like Queenstown, Rotorua, and Wanaka have turned them into boom towns. Queenstown Airport has, like Auckland’s, provided a massive economic boost to the whole Central Otago region. High immigration itself doesn’t cause problems itself with infrasctructure – the politics of infrastructure does.

    • Stuart Munro 20.1

      That’s funny – wasn’t so long ago we built dams with local labour.

      The only reason we need immigrants is that we have a round-heeled government that certain employer groups find a pushover.

      If the outgoing government had kept the foreign workers out of Christchurch they’d’ve had a skilled workforce for Kaikoura and Wellington.

      Just say no to unskilled migrants.

      • adam 20.1.1

        Skills seems to be code for white, in my dealing around immigration. And non-skilled or unskilled migrants are brown.

        Don’t about you Stuart Munro, but my ancestors brought skills which would not get them into the country now. You know like sailing, and dress making. And the children of these migrants went on to be lawyers, doctors, pharmacists, drain layers, tool makers, miners, the list of jobs of my cousins – is quite extensive.

        As for the Dams, my grandfather worked on those from the 30’s-60’s. He said there was a lot of migrants workers working on them. Especially 10 pound POME’s.

        • Stuart Munro

          “Skills seems to be a code for white”

          Perhaps you should come up with some kind of supporting evidence before floating your assertions of racism at me.

          Skilled, well-paid workers do not hollow out industries to the point that they become untenable for local workers. In some cases skilled workers enable industries or processes that would not be possible without them. Unskilled local workers should over time be able to displace skilled foreign workers who do not choose to settle by learning the requisite skills.

          • Once was Tim

            “Unskilled local workers should over time be able to displace skilled foreign workers……”
            And what fate do you propose for the foreign skilled workers whether they’ve “learned to settle” (code for assimilate), or not?
            I’m just asking because those foreign skilled workers may have put everything on the line to come here, worked in enclosed environments where they hardly interact with ya Koiwoi, able to pass on their skills to unemployed/unskilled Kiwi – but under current Ummigration settings appear to be disposable?
            Once things were simpler and we had a Magaweka viaduct replacement for example – Okkers had a Snowy River scheme. Now, those contributors are more likely to be tipped out until the next final solution

            • Stuart Munro

              A compassionate government would restrict permits for skilled migrants closely so that they would be able to stay without saturating the market and without blocking the career paths of kiwis looking to upskill. Unfortunately such a government in NZ would be the exception rather than the rule. The disposable workforce that is the ideal for the worst kind of employer is a piss poor way to run a country or its immigration service.

        • Ad

          “Skills” is not a code for white. No-one in our industry can afford too much choosiness; they need to be the outstanding people in the world who have worked on jobs at least as complex as the ones we are going for or have won.

      • Ad 20.1.2

        Ain’t no unskilled immigrants on our infrastructure jobs.
        The skills we need to import are the ones we can’t get here: deep piling experts, heavy marine engineering, high-end civil engineers are like gold dust across the face of the earth, which is why we have huge international outreaches for skills in those areas.

        The locals that we can now find are pretty unskilled, so you have to commit to training them up, getting them drug tested, supported, turning up to work hard, paying them well over the odds to keep them, and ensuring you therefore have the capacity to win the next job.

        • Stuart Munro

          I’d almost have believed you if you hadn’t included the fake item ‘drug testing’.

          So I imagine it’s much as it has always been – with employers lying their asses off to hire anyone except kiwis. Used to be they called them ‘refrigeration engineers’.

          • Ad

            Our drug testing is compulsory , as it is for all infrastructure teams that I am aware of.

            If you worked with the kind of machinery and kind of dangers, consent requirements, and work safety inspectorate regimes that we do, and of course the ACC and private insurer regimes that we do, you would want everyone working around you to have not a trace of drugs or alcoohl in their systems.

            • Stuart Munro

              Still a fake item. We ran plenty of industries without it for decades – and a poppyseed bagel will get you a false positive. The sham serves no-one but the testers and the insurance investigators – whose job is to find any cause to breach the contract. That attitude turned ACC from a public service into a cancerous fraud.

              • Ad

                “We ran plenty of industries without it for decades.”
                We did, and we had some of the highest death rates and injury rates in the developed world.

                We were sloppy, and hundreds of (almost all) men died for it.

                So we changed the law. And about time.

                And actually, what it serves is you.
                You come home with a greater degree of confidence than otherwise.

                There are no excuses, including your tired cynicism about what a completely industry-wide change to our health and safety culture is about.

                • Stuart Munro


                  There are no excuses for runarounds – and the data shows unequivocally that drug testing is a runaround.

                  It doesn’t serve me at all – the only thing dysfunction serves is entropy – the enemy of all life.

                  This is one of the reasons our productivity is falling – self-serving numpties introducing extra deadweight costs and lying about how this is the better tomorrow. Well it ain’t.

                  And if our education standards weren’t similarly declining you might be equipped to understand why proliferating spurious standards is nothing to crow about.

                  • Ad

                    Since you think our health and safety record in infrastructure is piffle I have nothing more to say to you. I hope the ghosts of the miners come back and remind you themselves.

                    • Stuart Munro

                      Mine safety and drug testing are not the same thing.

                      It’s like the bike helmets – bureaucrats told us it was a great triumph at the time, but the data revealed that a drop in cycling overall correlating with the helmet rule meant that the achievement was vastly overstated.

                      But go ahead and try to hide bureaucratic failure under emotive issues instead of drilling down to actual causes. As your safety protocols will actually require if they’re worth the paper they’re printed on.

                    • KJT

                      Safety people that think safety happens when you drug test, require everyone to wear hard hats all the time, and ban cellphones, are an overpriced part of the problem, not the solution.

                      It is a cover up, so the real causes of accidents, short cuts, inadequate equipment, complacency, overwork, fatigue, and too little training, which cost money and time to address, can be ignored.

                      Like P testing housing. Industry drug testers are a solution, looking for a problem. Safety, is as riddled with fake science, and bullshit to make money, as HR and security. Ever asked one of those guys if you need more of them? The answer is always yes.
                      No one in my industry would last five minutes if they turned up unable to do their job, for any reason. Doesn’t need an expensive test to pick the wrong attitude.

        • Draco T Bastard

          The skills we need to import are the ones we can’t get here: deep piling experts, heavy marine engineering, high-end civil engineers are like gold dust across the face of the earth, which is why we have huge international outreaches for skills in those areas.

          And yet I found it quite easy to google those up and find that they do exist in NZ.

          The locals that we can now find are pretty unskilled, so you have to commit to training them up, getting them drug tested, supported, turning up to work hard, paying them well over the odds to keep them, and ensuring you therefore have the capacity to win the next job.

          And that sounds remarkably like Blinglish:

          “Pretty damned hopeless.”

          That’s the Finance Minister’s description of some Kiwi workers he made to a Federated Farmers meeting — and he’s standing by it.

          Perhaps, if you actually did the training and paid people well then you’d have the skills available when you’d need them instead of having to go offshore.

          It’s all we hear from the business community in this country. That the skills aren’t here but they make no effort to train up those skills themselves and whinge about it when the government does so through tertiary education.

          • Ad

            You can google all you like, you need to be in the hotseat trying to recruit.

            Nope, if i wanted to sound like Bill English I would be blunter. We are in the hunt to win the jobs, and it’s now so hard to get good local staff, that quite a lot of jobs are won by essentially faking it. You have maybe 80% of the people you need, the rest cannot be poached for entirely competitive reasons, so you go overseas to get them.

            Or you go get them while they are still in university – you guarantee them a job, but they are working really tough hours on both the major project, and on their studies, while being completely new to work. You have to devote a lot more resource now to get local talent, than buying them off the shelf internationally.

            We pay people well – we have to in order to compete with a fully globalized market for construction staff.

            The unions will tell you the same thing about our skill base.

            • Draco T Bastard

              You have to devote a lot more resource now to get local talent, than buying them off the shelf internationally.

              And thus you explain away developing the society you live in.

              • Ad

                No not at all.

                Good overseas people who are often over-qualified fill us out with the capacities we can’t get. As firms we have a certain amount of budget we can devote to industry training organizations. There’s a limit to apprenticeships and the like – and I’m no longer convinced that all of the state’s resources would cope if we put up the No More Skilled Immigrants wall. The infrastructure jobs that we need done simply would not get done for years.

                If you are saying that the state has simply not kept up with the demand for over a decade, sure, agree. But now we are in major infrastructure deficit: the growth of the country’s economy has outstripped our local capacity, which has made the need for overseas talent even greater, even more pressing.

                • Good overseas people who are often over-qualified fill us out with the capacities we can’t get.

                  Thing is, you probably can get them but you’ve persuaded yourself that you can’t. The skills do seem to be there.

                  But now we are in major infrastructure deficit: the growth of the country’s economy has outstripped our local capacity, which has made the need for overseas talent even greater, even more pressing.

                  Actually, what that’s done is prove the uselessness of having a ‘service based economy’.

                • KJT

                  The fact is, that the construction industry, like most NZ industry, has put bugger all into training for the past 35 years. Since Government took away any requirement to train locals.

                  And the premium for education and skills, in New Zealand, is abysmal.

                  They have been enabled by the fact that they can simply bleat to the immigration department anytime.

                  I know many Kiwi’s working offshore at the moment who would come home in a heartbeat if the pay was any good.

                  When a skilled construction foreman is expected to work in NZ for less than $20 an hour in the hand, after supplying his own transport and tools. Why would you work here?

        • KJT

          In fact heavy marine engineering, is an area where there are plenty of skilled Kiwi’s. Still on the skills shortage list, though.

    • Our major infrastructure works have always needed foreign workers

      That’s one hell of a claim. Got anything to back it up other than anecdote?

      High immigration itself doesn’t cause problems itself with infrasctructure

      And another claim that’s outside of the bounds of reality. Increased numbers of people put more stress upon the infrastructure decreasing its designed lifespan.

      • CLEANGREEN 20.2.1


        All these idiots wouldn’t know an ‘infrastructure’ from an ‘eggbeater’.

        They just talk absolutely crap lies.

      • Ad 20.2.2

        Every single major infrastructure job I have ever been on, or known about, or formed a bid on, or read about in New Zealand: stacked with foreigners. Great for this country. Same for Christchurch rebuild: we needed far more buildiners and engineers than we had at the time. You can even see them on the inscriptions all along the Otago Rail Trail, every bridge it needed. This is an immigrant infrastructure joint.,

        The infrastructure pressure claims are from a growing population, but many of the “immigrants” are simply NZ citizens returning home, and bringing their kids home. They aren’t classed as immigrants.

        • Draco T Bastard

          Every single major infrastructure job I have ever been on, or known about, or formed a bid on, or read about in New Zealand: stacked with foreigners.

          And yet there were almost none when I was installing main trunk lines, exchanges and other major infrastructure across NZ. And, when we needed upskilling, we got it from our employer which may have involved bringing in foreigners to teach us but not to actually do the job.

          That’s how you develop a society and an economy. You don’t bring in offshore skills short term to do the whole thing and have no build up of skills here.

          • Ad

            We could have pressed every person available into engineering and still not have had enough.

            It’s always grand to run an alliterative history from coulda-woulda land. But here is the brutal truth today. Won’t don’t even have the time or capacity to train anywhere near enough to the high skills we need. We need them now, and we need 20,000 of them:


            • Draco T Bastard

              And we have a hundred thousand unemployed.

              Far better to train those up than importing skills.

              • Ad

                That would be great.

                Hasn’t happened in over a decade and the need from the clients to get the job done is now, not in three or four years time.

                If we don’t poach a good percentage from overseas, the effect is we are not bidding and the foreign companies are, so the whole job and the whole crew and the whole profit goes to foreigners. That all goes overseas as a whole, rather than supporting the mortgages, dinners, and cars of people who choose to make this their home.

                • In Vino

                  Ad – I dislike your approach. Short-term opportunism, and the permanent downgrading of NZ’s education system, because to your mind the short-term immediate problem can be overcome by immigrants, and it seems that in your view NZ education is not a short-term immediate problem. You are chasing your own tail to my mind. Draco has the better argument.

                • Hasn’t happened in over a decade

                  And that probably has something to do with business not training the people here either directly or indirectly.

                  That all goes overseas as a whole, rather than supporting the mortgages, dinners, and cars of people who choose to make this their home.

                  Quite a few of those hundred thousand unemployed aren’t having dinner, don’t own cars or have mortgages because they can’t afford them.

                  Now, how about instead of bringing those people in to work in the field they’re brought in as teachers at tertiary institutes to teach our young. That would bring about an increase in the skill base here and also see to the necessary replacement as people retire.

    • David Mac 20.3

      I agree, many of our Hydro schemes depended heavily on the skills of overseas tunnellers etc. The town of Turangi was built to house workers who played a major role in the construction of the large Tongariro Power Scheme in the 70’s. The Turangi phonebook is still chocka with Italian surnames.

      I think the primary difference is back then, we had houses for them. The town of Turangi and all of it’s related infrastructure, churches, schools, fire-stations etc was created in a few years.

      Before: http://www.tongarirorivermotel.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/NEW-ZEALAND-Tongariro-River-TURANGI.jpg

      After: http://www.tongarirorivermotel.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Mt-Tihia-16-1.jpg

      Italian lads off to work under Ruapehu:


      • Ad 20.3.1

        Exactly. I was tempted to mention that job.

        We have sued Italian piling crews on many of our toughest jobs, and they are outstanding. In fact, the fully-enclosed piling systems have provided us with advantages within many large scale bids.

  21. Andre 21

    Am I imagining things or is there a geographical correlation with opinions about immigration policies?

    It appears to me Aucklanders are over-represented among those strongly critical of the immigration policies we’ve had in the last few years. Whereas commenters from areas that have not recently experienced high population growth from immigration, such as Dunedin, are over-represented in the ranks of the non-critics.

    • Anne 21.1

      No. I don’t think you are imagining things. We Aucklanders have experienced the downsides of an overzealous immigration policy. We know the reasoning behind the policy – together with freed up foreign ownership – is purely political and has nothing to do with what’s good for NZ. We know the policy has driven up property prices to a level which has cut out the majority of young Aucklanders from ever owning their own home. We know the immense pressure which has been placed on Auckland’s infrastructure which is not coping – especially on our roads. We’ve had a gutsful, so it’s no wonder we have become strongly critical of the present rate of immigration.

      We want some respite! And if the rest of the country doesn’t care well all I can say… wait until it happens to you then I think you will start to care.

      • RedLogix 21.1.1

        This. ^^^

        Probably we should limit new immigrants to 1% of total population pa. That feels like a sensible rate.

        And we keep overlooking the enormous pool of kiwi ex-pats who can arrive back as of right at any time. They’re the big unknown; imagine for instance if Trump does kick North Korea over into a hot nuclear war … just how many might suddenly need to get home ASAP.

        • David Mac

          Yes, I hear you Anne. I’ve lived away from Auckland for some years and a recent visit to the CBD…the passing faces, it was like a NY borough without the white Americans.

          We should be directing immigrants away from our 3 main centres. There’s quite a bit to like about moving the Auckland port to Whangarei. The jobs created by a major port have far reaching tentacles. We’ll need a Turangi to house those port workers that choose to relocate.

          We need to start doing more with our logs, rather than shipping 2 logs, 5000 Olafsen desk tops bound for Ikea boxes. This type of operation can be developed outside our main centres, out where the trees grow, where jobs and $ are scarce.

        • WILD KATIPO

          I heard from several that back in the 1950’s they had a policy regarding the Dutch immigration era where Immigration would give a new arrival a choice of where they could live. After two years they could move to wherever they wanted.

          The goal was to achieve familiarity with all aspects of NZ culture across the board, and to spread people out around the provinces instead of having them all arrive and stay in one area as is current. It seemed to work really well and most people who were Dutch immigrants said it was a good system.

        • Drowsy M. Kram

          “Probably we should limit new immigrants to 1% of total population pa.”

          For how long? 10 years; 100 years? Yes, NZ’s current population density is comparatively low, and below sustainable ‘carrying capacity’ under many future scenarios. It is also increasing without recourse to immigration.

          IMO it might be wise for this moderately remote group of islands to stop short of apparent natural environmental limits. Is there any advantage to be had in pushing the population envelope?

          And, with reference to the title of this post, is bigger always better?

          • RedLogix

            is bigger always better?

            Not especially. But it is one of those questions which doesn’t seem to have a ready answer either.

            The notion of ‘natural carrying capacity’ while superficially objective, is laden with hidden assumptions about lifestyles, technologies and environmental objectives.

            All other measures are essentially subjective. Personally I’m far more comfortable with a very low population density. I grew up in an NZ with only 2.5m people, most of whom lived in Auckland. The South Island, and the Southern Alps especially, were almost empty and this maps onto my personal preferences.

            But equally someone growing up in say Xian City, where the high schools have a roll in excess of 20,000 might find Melbourne feels like a modest little town. (Real story.)

            At one extreme I feel that probably the ideal population of all humans on earth would be somewhere between 100m to 1b. At the other extreme 10b is probably too many. Clearly we are way closer to the upper limit than than any plausible lower limit.

            Perhaps one factor that might help clarify our thinking is the idea that at least 33% of the planet should be totally set aside for the wildlife we share it with. We need to start writing into our political constitutions clearly defined and protected rights and spaces for all living creatures.

            Yet in many ways humans have become a post-Darwinian, post-biological species. While we remain heavily dependent on the environment to support us, we are no longer entirely constrained by it either. We have become the first species to consciously manipulate our birth rates, we can define goals not just for ourselves, but as an entire species. Ultimately it may fall to a global government to place limits on human growth.

            Balanced against this is the concept of the sacredness and right to life. If all life is to be honoured, are we permitted to place limits on the quantity of life? Is it permissible to say that some people should be born, and deny this to billions of others?

            Or do we move forward by redefining the question in terms of the ‘quality’ of life rather than it’s quantity. This is a much trickier proposition, being much easier to count heads than measure happiness.

            You may find this an interesting read:

            After all, once we have excellent healthcare, education, and affordable housing, what will endlessly more income growth gain us? Maybe bigger TVs, flashier cars, and expensive holidays. But not more happiness, or stronger communities, or more time with our families and friends. Not more peace or more stability, fresher air or cleaner rivers. Past a certain point, GDP gains us nothing when it comes to what really matters. In an age of climate change, where the pursuit of ever more GDP is actively dangerous, we need a different approach.


            Alternatively you may enjoy Terry Pratchet and Stephen Baxter’s “Long Earth” series of novels, based on the premise of an unlimited human habitat with endless variety and opportunity. For the first time in our evolution we’re running into the limits of our wonderful blue planet, which makes the notion of literally ‘stepping’ past those limits feel like a wonderful fantasy.

            • Drowsy M. Kram

              Thanks RedLogix, that info is interesting/encouraging. Hope those values hold sway over time.

      • Bill 21.1.2

        You think infrastructure isn’t falling over down this way?

        If immigration rates lie behind failing infrastructure, then why’s Dunedin fucked?

        From the link –

        “Dunedin’s population is projected to increase by 4.4%, or about 5,500 people, to 130,300 in the 20-year period to 2031.”

        • Anne

          Haven’t the foggiest idea why “its fucked” in Dunedin, but having lived in Auckland for most of my life I sure know why its fucked up here.

          • Bill

            I sure know why its fucked up here

            Really? You sure about that?

            I take it you think excessive immigration’s to blame, even though infra-structure’s falling over in places with very low inward migration rates and numbers? How’s that work?

            I’m also assuming you think house prices are driven up by immigration too, even though many houses are part of very rich peoples’ portfolios who are domiciled both here and elsewhere…suggesting it’s highly likely that house prices aren’t being primarily driven by anyone anywhere in NZ (immigrant, resident or national) buying a home.

            But you carry on pointing the finger at immigrants who, many argue, are working in min wage jobs for two years before (apparently) becoming unemployed residents.

            And I’ll keep pointing to rich people speculating on property and keep arguing for far better employment legislation so that employers don’t get to exploit workers to the atrocious levels they currently get away with.

            You’ll have every politician and their dog on your side of the argument 😉

            • Anne

              And I’ll keep pointing to rich people speculating on property and keep arguing for far better employment legislation so that employers don’t get to exploit workers to the atrocious levels they currently get away with.

              No argument there Bill. I have relatives who have made a lot of money on the back of speculation and guess what… they voted National. Funny thing. I can’t get hold of them at the moment – phone off the hook as they say.

              It doesn’t detract from the fact that foreign agents (who have no residential qualification) are buying up one hell of a lot of Auckland houses and the highest ethnic grouping responsible seems to be from China. What is more some of them are using Chinese immigrants who action the purchases in NZ and presumably get a cut off the profit gained.

              Regardless from whence they come, I want to see the practice banned before NZ ends up in the hands of foreign entities.

              • Bill

                Rich people bent on building up portfolios would have been pushing housing beyond the reach of most regardless of any over-seas buyer rules. The only difference would have been that they would all have been Kiwi and (I’m guessing) there would have been no squealing from any political/property owning class.

                Chinese buyers, German buyers, Kiwi buyers…it’s all the same from this working class perspective. It’s just the same old story of the the rich setting the rules to enrich themselves. And the only reason there’s any squealing is because rich Kiwis have some competition in ‘their’ back-yard.

                • Anne

                  I’m squealing on behalf of all those people – young people in the main –
                  who have been shut out of the housing market and are having to pay exorbitant rents meaning the possibility of ever owning a home is even more remote.

                  And I ain’t no rich Kiwi Bill.

                  • Bill

                    You and me making a nose about homelessness or rentals or access to the property market is one thing.

                    A political/property class making noises is another. And it was that voice I was referring to in my previous comment.

                    I’ll put it this way. Did you notice how there has had to be a bit of a push to get the rental situation on the agenda, and how access to the property market is still placed way higher on the agendas of NZs main political parties? (eg NZ Labour is looking to be building houses for sale over houses for rent at a ratio of 10:1 in spite of the greater need for rental accommodation)

                • RedLogix

                  @ Bill

                  Until about 2000 the rental business was much like any other, ticking over at historic norms with the vast majority of operators being genuine mums and dads (most of them decidedly NOT rich) looking to provide a bit of extra security in retirement. These people ran their businesses for long term cash flow (taxable at that) rather than short-term capital gain.

                  But in the past 20 odd years we’ve seen a number of real-estate and related property businesses actively promote residential rentals as a way to maximise tax free short term gains. Very quickly they saturated the local market so they expanded overseas. They didn’t really care where the punters come from, so long as they had suitcases of cash.

                  That kicked off the insane property inflation spiral we’ve been locked in every since.

                  As it happens over the past decade a very substantial portion of these suitcases arrived from China, usually trying to hide their contents so that corrupt local govt officials and others have less chance to get their hands on it. A lack of trust in the public domain is an enduring feature of all Chinese commercial life. Crucially these buyers typically don’t care too much what price they pay, just as long as some of their capital is safe. Losing 30% is way better than losing 100%.

                  This simply took a bad situation and poured petrol on. While there are many players responsible for what has happened, uber-rich Chinese certainly made themselves the most visible of all.

                  • Bill

                    Well yeah. Rich people created a bad situation (for others) and then rich people exacerbated it (creating a “less comfortable/profitable” situation for some of those who created the original situation).

                    I’m fucked if I’m going to take the side of one mob against another.

                    • RedLogix

                      I wasn’t asking you to take sides; merely suggesting that historically our locally driven rental market was reasonably stable. It was only when we were stupid enough to open it up and actively market it to a vastly larger global market that it blew up on us.

                      I wouldn’t let anyone own property in this country unless they were citizens (not just residents) and had lived here for a minimum of 10 years. Companies and other structures would have to point to a beneficial owner who qualified.

                      If you think that a bit extreme, consider how in many countries you wouldn’t even get that chance.

                    • Bill

                      Aye well. Maybe I was just outlining why you won’t find me (as many on this forum did) jumping up and down about private property such that I pin my colours to the mast of a Michael Fay or a David Richwhite against some foreign buyer of land/property.

                      Speaking as a market abolitionist, I don’t see your proposal as being too radical at all. That it may or may not incorporate elements of discrimination or contain seeds of potentially ‘unfortunate’ growths are matters of detail not really worth exploring for now.

        • Drowsy M. Kram

          That rate of population increase seems considerably ‘more sustainable’ than 1% pa.

    • Ad 21.2

      Not here. I’m Auckland based and pro-immigration. It’s not all good, but it’s good overall.

      • Andre 21.2.1

        I didn’t say it was a perfect correlation. And may I suggest that, through your work, you are seeing more of the kind of immigration that is supported even by most of us that are critical of current policies? High skill, fills a skills gap we need filled.

        • Ad

          We need really high skill and qualification and experience levels in my industry.

          But New Zealand has a colour-blind points system that is pretty good compared to the rest of the world. Not saying I agree with all the categories or their thresholds, but it would be pointless trying to get some of my team to try and pick grapes in central Otago, or milk cows in Southland.

          • Andre

            Now for an anecdote about the kind of immigration I find questionable.

            The last project I had was setting up the manufacturing process and equipment for some high value items for export. There was a fair bit of moderately skilled manual labour involved in the process since volumes weren’t high enough to justify high capital equipment expense. We needed more production staff, so we advertised. The employment terms, casual hours and fixed term contract, weren’t attractive to the people I know in the industry that already had the skills needed, so they didn’t apply. The best applicant was a young fella that had come to NZ to do a course at a PTE, and had the right to work based on that education visa. After working there over a summer and learning the job, there were sufficient sales to justify turning his casual position into a permanent one, which he was then able to use to get permanent residence.

            Had the young fella not been available, then we would have needed to either offer more attractive employment terms, which the company was certainly in a position to do, or bite the bullet and put some more into training one of the less educated candidates (the young fella had a BE from overseas so he had relevant theory but not hands-on skills). Either of those alternatives, making the job offer more attractive or putting a little extra effort into upskilling a local, would have been a better thing for NZ, IMO.

            edit: Oh, and at the same time, I had a friend from the US staying who was doing a course at a local uni. When I told him the story, he said that was what most of his classmates were trying for. An easy path to permanent residency here.

            • Bill

              So really, Garner should have commented/complained about the number of employers in that K-Mart queue? Hmm. Not so easy to pick out in a crowd though. Far easier to bang on about dodgy “back-door” immigrants and pick them out by skin tone or dress sense, eh?

  22. adam 22

    Just another example of how ideology when dominate, and not questioned, reverts to stupid.

  23. Phil 24

    I’m not anti immigrant: I am one myself.

    However, it is simple logic that the first step towards true sustainability, which is essential to achieve if we want to preserve our civilisation; preserve our quality of life; and preserve our non human native species, is to stabilise our population.

    That is to say that at the very least we must balance births + immigrants with deaths plus emmigrants. We also probably should factor in returning NZ citizens currently living abroad especially those in Australia which is likely to continue to get hotter, drier and less habitable as climate change progresses.

    So whilst the article may be correct and that lack of government spending is more to blame for the poor state of NZ infrastructure than immigration this does not mean that unbalanced immigration should occur or is desirable.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 24.1

      I’m pro-immigrant/refugee (within limits), and your ideas on the long-term sustainability of NZ’s environment, and the quality of life the environment provides, make sense to me.

      High levels of immigration into NZ will benefit some in the short-term, but continued population growth will screw us all in the long-term.

  24. Ed 26

    Steve Cowan’s view.

    ‘It wasn’t so long ago that television breakfast host Duncan Garner was an enthusiastic participant in a vicious media campaign to bully former Green MP Metiria Turei out of Parliament. Now Garner is claiming that he’s been “bullied’ on Twitter.

    ONE OF THE general characteristics of The Commentariat is that they are good at dishing out the criticism but are often incapable of taking it themselves. Whether they are hunched over a computer keyboard or are in front of a radio microphone or a television camera, they often assume that ‘freedom of speech’ is merely them having the freedom to say what they like while the rest of us, the great unwashed, must either applaud them in appreciation or at least remain diplomatically silent.

    The opportunity is there for Garner to defend what he has written. Instead he has taken the easy way out and has tried to smear all his many critics as uninformed bullies. And, despite having been a resident of Twitter for several years, he now claims he hates the place and is leaving it for good. On Facebook he has complained:

    “It’s New Zealand’s underbelly of militant hate. It’s a foul and putrid place to hang out, I reckon. It’s full of intolerant, self-appointed pseudo-intellectuals who will not put up with anybody who dare contests an idea in their echo chamber of elitists and anger. That’s what they are.”‘


    • JanM 26.1

      I love the bit about ‘ intolerant, self-appointed pseudo-intellectuals’ – pot, kettle much – he he!

    • Ian 26.2

      One of Winstons bottom lines is that Turei will be prosecuted for benefit fraud,like his botton line on having a vote on keeping the maori seats. Good on Garner for calling out the evil bullcrappers.

      • David Mac 26.2.1

        Cunning Winston has a number of sacrificial bottom lines that he can give up over the negotiating table whilst retaining all that really matters to his party.

      • Ed 26.2.2

        what an uncharitable comment.

  25. Ian 27

    I would like to offer a case study that someone might want to swing a dick at.I run a business that needs to employ 8 permanent and 4 part time employees . All our full time and 2 of our part time staff are migrants. 5 of our permanent staff are now on a residents visa and will become kiwi citizens.
    We moved to sourcing staff from overseas 10 years ago because ,as Bill English has previously noted the locals don’t want to work,like their drugs too much and have too many bad habits overall,but mainly because we had no other applicants.
    Before you start swinging,we pay our employees very well and treat them like family.Not like a wife beater ,more like the lama guy from Nepal.
    This immigration debate needs to be considered in 2 halves. Aucklands problems are not Ashburtons problems.
    The regions are crying out for workers at all levels .
    Good on Garner for divorcing twitter. It IS a sad,vile echoe chamber .

    • Ed 27.1

      What does pay well mean?
      The living wage?
      What type of business?

      • Ian 27.1.1

        Paying well means that our employees hold their heads up high. They support many of their familiy back home and will end up owning property in their new country. We are proud suppliers of milk to Fonterra and are also shareholders of Fonterra. What do you do to support your country ,Ed ?

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Conflating your interests with the country’s now eh.

          Get a clue.

          • Ian

            Ghost who walks. Going to be a pretty sad day for you on Thursday.I’m going fishing for a few days.

    • halfcrown 27.2

      “We moved to sourcing staff from overseas 10 years ago because ,as Bill English has previously noted the locals don’t want to work,like their drugs too much and have too many bad habits overall,but mainly because we had no other applicants.”

      Well funny that I have just had a relation from the UK visiting us, he says exactly the same thing except over there they employ Polish labour, claims best workers as the UK locals don’t want to work, like their drugs too much and have too many bad habits. Shit you rightwingers irrespective where you live all sing from the same Tory bullshit songbook.

      • Ian 27.2.1

        Well come to think of it When I was iliving in London I was mightily impressed with the Polish people I encountered. They were honest ,hardworking and were working towards a better life. Very similar to the migrant community in Mid Canterbury at the moment. It is reality not a songbook .

        • RedLogix

          And in Poland they probably say the best workers are the Syrians (or some such) because they’re honest, hardworking and want a better life. The locals being lazy and liking their drugs too much. 🙂

          Or maybe the world over it’s true that employers find vulnerable immigrant groups who have fewer choices in life make docile and compliant workers.

          At the same time I’m not going to gainsay your experiences employing locals; what you are saying about them rings true from my own experiences as well. It’s true that we’ve betrayed generations of our youth, too many of whom have little concept of hard work, and even less ability to tolerate it.

          And in most small provincial towns, any young local person with talent, or even a modicum of ambition, has left for the city long before they read your situation vacant ad. Those remaining are not always the most promising bunch. I’m not going to place the blame for this on you; I’m thinking your making the best of the options in front of you.

          Getting young men especially to make a successful transition from school to their first successful employment is a critical step in their lives. Too many of them fail at this for all sorts of reasons. Some towns are making some headway on this; they have in place programs and mentors who can make huge difference for these young adults, helping them steer a tricky path through their own development, and avoiding the shoals of drugs, crime and suicide they’re surrounded by.

          But it does seem a patchwork hit and miss effort, dependent very much on the mana and skills of the leaders involved.

          • Stuart Munro

            Agreed on the school work transition – South Korea has one of the lowest crime rates in the world in large part I believe because of their military service. Mind, they have a real need for a military, and a proportion of the youngsters do their service with the police, who are consequently never understaffed.

    • Ed 27.3

      The regions only want immigrants to ensure they get low paid workers and so they can afford big boats for fishing.

  26. Ed 28

    210 comments and counting.
    Immigration provokes a lot of debate.

    • Ad 28.1

      At lest we haven’t felt the scale of debate that they have had in Australia, United States, Canada, Britain, Germany, Italy, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Japan, Denmark, and most other advanced societies.

      I think the immigration debate is getting ready to kick off here.

      And I think the left is going to fall on the anti-immigration side, and National is going to support immigration and foreign direct investment in the same breath. So far they are winning.

      • Bill 28.1.1

        Sadly, I agree that swathes of people who see themselves as “left” will be antagonistic towards immigration. NZ Labour certainly falls into that category. So…not a good start.

        Though that said, Milband’s ho-hum UK Labour was anti-immigration and under Corbyn’s far more popular leadership, it isn’t.

        But then there’s the prospect for renewal within NZ Labour…which is about 5/8ths of zero.

        • Ad

          It’s reasonably good evidence from the comments on this site that the hard left and the Greens supporters oppose immigration the most.

          And yet in terms of actual leadership, there is no leader other than Winston Peters who has the capacity to lead our immigration debate. Only Winston has the capacity to penetrate through the MSM media on this topic.

          Who knows, maybe Winston is starting it off through the side door of foreign ownership.

          • Bill

            “Hard left”?

            I don’t even know what that term means aside from being employed as an attempted put down from the “right” towards anyone or anything too far from their comfort zone or some supposedly accepted orthodoxy.

            And in terms of catching anything here that’s too far away from some comfortably muddled middle, well….you’ll be casting a fair bit before you get so much as a nibble Ad.

            So….a goodly number of fairly ‘middle of the road’ types in terms of their political perspective are opposed to immigration – if comments on this blog are anything to go by.

            • weka

              I’m curious what you mean by ‘opposed to immigration’ too. (my questions for Ad below).

              • Bill

                When the first step into any conversation about immigration is some degree or other of wavy armed fear, I’d categorise that as being opposed to immigration.

                There are then plenty enough people on top of that who’ve been quite explicitly xenophobic (the whole Crafar Farms debacle, although about property ownership rather than migration, puked that up in an obvious enough fashion)

          • weka

            What do you mean by ‘oppose immigration’?

            Do you mean xenophobic/anti-immigrant?

            Do you mean wanting restrictions on immigration?

  27. David Mac 29

    Everybody wants to poo and nobody wants to deal with it…. Longdrop shortfalls.

    • We need a few more of Stephen Joyce’s deep holes , evidently…

      Mind you ,… he talks enough poo to fill every other hole he chooses to fabricate… so he wont do us any good ,… as always.

  28. David Mac 30

    Immigration has grown dodgy. Scamster overseas agents connected to sham colleges teaching bogus courses to the aspirational that are forced to work in suspect restaurants for greedy people that hold a sword over their freedom seeking exploitees.

    It’s a far cry from the 70’s Tongariro Power Scheme and welcoming families to their brand new home in Turangi.

    • Ian 30.1

      had a bit to do with the ITies coming to work on the tunnels on Tongariro. The Philopinos,Nepalese and others that have come down south to help out in the dairy industry are very similar. Need to differentiate between dodgy big city schemes and agriculture.

      • David Mac 30.1.1

        Yes Ian, I think the broader picture is differentiating between immigration that will make NZ a better place and immigration with the primary purpose of lining pockets.

      • Stuart Munro 30.1.2

        Plenty of kiwis out there who’d work in agriculture. If employers didn’t prefer third nations workers. Time to shut that scam down hard.

        • Ian

          What do you base that statement on ? From personal experience The kiwis that want to work in agriculture are doing it. What scam are you refferring to ?

          • Stuart Munro

            That’ll be another one of those stories the RW float so that the nice politicians will give them unlimited access to cheap foreign labour.

            Thirty years ago it was fishing – rat all kiwis left there now. There was never a right for NZ employers to source cheap unskilled foreign labour. But they’ve done it anyway.

            Way to deskill an industry.

            Same is in the works for truck driving.

            Hope Winston brings the hammer down on this bullshit.

            • Ian

              Sorry Stuart ,could you please supply some facts with your statement. We pay all our staff more than a living wage.We supply them with very nice housing ,pay for many of their incidentals like rent,meat,milk ,power ,fishing trips,and so on. We really appreciate our migrant workforce and We are currently working on a scheme where they can buy a house while still working on the farm. They will rent it out to kiwis that probably should be working on the farm ,but don’t want to and when our guys want to move back to town they will have a tangible asset to work with.

              • Stuart Munro

                And did you offer comparable benefits to kiwi workers?

                What % of your workforce is kiwi? Because if there are none it would seem that you have been selecting against them.

                • Ian

                  In 2 years 50 % of our workers will be kiwis Stuart . And I can assure you they won’t bring their mates in to steal all my tools,my electric fence units ,my water pumps and my Massey Ferguson 165 tractor with a retrofitted steering box off a massey ferguson 168 for those sleuths out there. Whats your angle Stuart ? Your drum is beating “unionist ” which is OK,but you guys need to move into the real world. I like this new apprenticeship scheme for farming ,and it would be good to get more locals into farming ,but I will never have the lowlife scumbags we have had to endure back on this farm .

                  • Stuart Munro

                    Don’t mind me – I’m from an industry that was gutted by cheap foreign labour. Not too keen to see it happen to anyone else.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    While you’re whining about being burgled however we should put that on an even keel: do you suppose workers never get ripped off or mistreated by employers?

                    And when they do, they can’t run lying to immigration about how they can’t get staff. They have to move on and look for a less egregious asshole to work for – and these are not abundant in present day NZ.

                    You want to have a little think about Tully, the Winz shooter – he was from down your way, Ashvegas. Couldn’t get a job. Wonder why not – given you must’ve made a statutory declaration that no NZers were available to get your third nations workers.

          • KJT

            Yeah. I know a young Kiwi who is very keen to work on dairy farms. He loves it.

            However after three shitty employers in a row, he has given up for now and gone contracting.

            The farms have employed Filipinos, whose main advantage seems to me is they will put up with endless crap to get work visas.

        • David Mac

          Buggered if I want to rain or snow roll up in my gumboots before dawn every morning. Are you up for it? I’ll carve a niche elsewhere thanks.

          • Ian

            Exactly. Sometimes farmwork is very challenging and if you not prepared to face the challenge of caring for your animals when conditions are diabolical and it happens to be your rostered time on then forget it.But most days the sun is shining ,the grey warblers are singing and the commute takes a minute or so.

  29. Ed 31

    ‘An Indian, a Pakistani & a Broadcaster Walk into a Kmart

    A guy walks into a Kmart to buy some underwear on a Wednesday morning. His underwear is on the verge of critical collapse – why else would you buy new underwear, amirite? But the line is massive. It takes ten minutes to get through check-out.

    On Saturday morning, as he’s luxuriating in his new underwear, scratching his butt through the fine cotton-polyester blend, he flicks through the paper and sees Duncan Garner’s article.

    It describes him as a part of a human snake, and that the faces on that snake – his face – was what a nightmarish future would look like. That he was the reason there was a line, he was the reason things weren’t working.

    But not the guy in line in front of him who was also buying underwear. Because he’s Indian, and the guy in front of him was not.

    I’m incredulous that Garner is now playing the victim. He expects sympathy for the abuse that he’s received for writing this piece, but shows so little for the people he scapegoated, whose only crime is buying underwear from Kmart.

    Immigrants are real people too. We need to buy underwear. We have chores to do. We don’t like waiting in line. And we, like every other New Zealander, have a very real stake in the future of New Zealand.

    Yes, we need a space to talk about immigration and about infrastructure. But the thing that stops us from doing that isn’t people being over-sensitive about racism – it’s people who make it about race.’………


  30. millsy 32

    The facts are simple. Immigrants take jobs from New Zealanders and depress wages.

    It is getting to the point that employers are refusing to hire NZers and are going straight overseas for labour, and yet another generation is thrown on the scrap heap, doomed to be wandering around town dropping off CV’s for jobs that are already earmarked for migrants.

    Turn the immigration taps off tomorrow, and you would have a situation where people could just walk into jobs, and not need CV’s or anything like that.

  31. millsy 33

    New Zealanders are shut out of the deep sea fishing industry, soon it will be agriculture and hospitality.

    • greywarshark 33.1

      Yes millsy that is the reality, the low paid immigrants are just pawns being moved by the elites, the high roller immigrants are caught up too in the financial fiddles, but participating where they can make real gains for themselves.

      The refugees are different, immigrants but given a break though that may be less than they need or would expect from a supposed warm-hearted, modern country.

      And on the sidelines the NZs watch, looking at all the perfectly good reasons ladled out from the owners of the soup kitchens, for them not to get training and experience so they have up to date wanted skills which are so desired by employers and businesses which are on their knees begging for these to the extent that they have to be imported, because they aren’t found at home. The whole ‘system’ is rorted and our country is being stolen from under our feet, we are stateless, nothings, in our own land. Now how can that have happened? And is there anybody who cares about ordinary human beings both here and in other countries that is prepared to restore some fairness and decency to this ‘fair country’ that is so 100% full of ..it.

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