Essential reading – Hickey on immigration

Written By: - Date published: 10:26 am, June 12th, 2016 - 133 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, economy, im/migration, jobs, uncategorized - Tags: , ,

Bernard Hickey in The Herald is essential reading this morning:

Bernard Hickey: We need doctors, not bar staff

In all the hullaballoo this week about New Zealand’s record high migration, a strange fact has emerged. The number of approvals for permanent residence has fallen from more than 50,000 a decade ago to little more than 43,000 in the last full recorded year. It’s mainly because skilled migrant approvals for permanent residence have fallen from more than 35,000 to fewer than 23,000 in that time. Say what?

But that still leaves more than 36,000 extra new migrants over the past year, compared with four years ago. Who are they, if they’re not permanent and high-skilled residents? The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)’s figures show international students made up about 20,000 of the increase. The rest came from higher numbers of people on temporary work visas. … The occupations of working holidaymakers and students able to work here aren’t given, but anyone frequenting the cafes, bars, dairies, Uber cabs and service stations of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown will have a reasonable idea.

And so does Treasury, which was this week an unusual ally for Peters, offering sustained criticism of the surge in temporary and student migration and a proposal for new entrepreneur migrants.

It released a series of papers over the past year that showed its growing discomfort with the increase in low-skilled migrants and the risk that they are displacing local workers and keeping wages down.

It’s by design.

“Current policy settings may not be doing all they can to support the growth of higher productivity firms and industries, including facilitating the flow of higher-skilled migrants to sectors of the economy where skill shortages may be acting as a significant constraint,” Treasury officials said.

Helping employers to bring in low-skilled migrants instead of investing in new technology and becoming more productive so they can pay local workers more is essentially stunting our productivity and real GDP per capita.

Key is right about the pressures on the system and the need for more houses, but he is wrong about our recent migration patterns making the country richer. It has made some richer by pushing up land prices in Auckland and beyond, but it has led to stagnant wage and real GDP growth and has lumped a big up-front infrastructure bill on to taxpayers in general and Auckland rate payers in particular. …

Go read the whole piece in The Herald.

133 comments on “Essential reading – Hickey on immigration ”

  1. Mouse 1

    A brighter future ?

  2. weka 2

    This is a useful article, because it starts breaking down what immigration is rather than the Peters lump it all intogether thing that leads to a superficial debate and encourages anti-immigrant sentiment.

    A suggestion, how about we focus on NZ’s immigration policy and why National are running it the way they are and what the opposition parties would do differently, rather than talking about immigrants being the problem?

    Maybe we should be looking at what immigration means, what we want, what’s fair (locally and internationally). Is the purpose of immigration now to serve the economy? Is that what we want? Or do we have other reasons for inviting people to live here?

    The occupations of working holidaymakers and students able to work here aren’t given, but anyone frequenting the cafes, bars, dairies, Uber cabs and service stations of Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown will have a reasonable idea.

    Even more so the people living in those places permanently that can’t get jobs or housing. I think the other thing that needs to happen here is to stop seeing all these things as separate and to come back to core values. Every person that lives here needs a home and an income. When we focus housing on first home buyers not being able to get into the investment market, we miss that. We blame rich Chinese people, but the problems are actually to do with our values and the way the government is hijacking them to prioritise making money.

    • Draco T Bastard 2.1

      Is the purpose of immigration now to serve the economy?

      The purpose of immigration has always been to serve the economy. To simply make it bigger faster than what natural birth rates can do. This has become especially true since first world nations, us included, started having a declining birth-rate.

      We blame rich Chinese people, but the problems are actually to do with our values and the way the government is hijacking them to prioritise making money.

      We don’t actually blame the Chinese. We blame the government for allowing rich foreigners to buy NZ housing and pretty much everything else.

    • Keith 2.2

      HIckey has stated the bleeding obvious, but good on him for making it mainstream anyway!

      • Philj 2.2.1

        There is occasional criticism of Government policy starting to appear in mainstream media. I think the lazy, bias in the NZ media is beginning to awaken. But will it continue in the lead up to the next General Election?

        • KJT

          Some of National’s rats are seeing the writing on the wall.

          Taking a bob the other way just in case. Like Garner on housing.

  3. save nz 3

    “approvals for permanent residence have fallen from more than 35,000 to fewer than 23,000 in that time. Say what?”

    The problem is there is no investment in higher value jobs in NZ. So then there are few higher value jobs for locals and high skilled immigrants. Wages and work conditions are dire, especially if you just want to get something done for public good!

    But here is a very good article about why high skilled immigrants leave…

    “Wellington Hospital lost its leading cardio-electrophysiologist, Dr Alejandro Jimenez Restrepo. Born in Colombia and trained in the US, Jimenez had arrived here in 2012 with his wife and young family, intending to settle permanently in New Zealand. Within two and a half years, he was gone. In late November, Werewolf contacted Jimenez at his new post in Abu Dhabi, to discuss the reasons for his departure.”

    Then there is the issue why we are taking in low skilled low wage workers while we have high unemployment and low housing levels.

    And why so many temporary work visas competing with Kiwis and local students for jobs.

    Remember the Campbell Live article about the Israeli “students” hard selling thousands of dollars of ‘dead sea beauty products’ to Kiwi elderly and mentally ill. No follow up – I guess that is ok from this government.

    • Treetop 3.1

      About 10 years ago two child oncologists based at Wellington Hospital left. No money to run the department the way they wanted it run. This meant that families had to go to Christchurch or Auckland.

      NZ specialists protect their own interests, for years those with overseas experience e.g. Britain, America who initially trained in countries from the middle east get shut out. Put another way, their careers flourished in Britain or America, in NZ they are stone walled or they leave after being permitted to work in a NZ hospital.

    • dave 3.2

      if there is no higher paid jobs our half trillion house hold debt can not be repaid income levels can not support this level of dept collapse will be the inevitable result.

  4. Colonial Viper 4

    Can someone help me answer this please. Is the Political Left for or against increasing the GDP of New Zealand?

    • Once Was Tim 4.1

      Maybe CV, the committed left/ left of centre/ once-were-centre are wondering whether or not the current measures of that ‘GDP’ are actually valid anymore – and even whether they ever have been (goan forwid).
      If you want to rely on GDP stats, or any form of measurement over the past 25-30 years – fill ya Amarni boots – I’m sure they look gorgeous darling!

    • Craig H 4.2

      Varies from party to party, and also depends on how one defines it. The perfect result would be an increase in nominal GDP and a fall in real GDP.

    • Colonial Viper 4.3

      Do you guys reckon that the Political Left have finally connected the idea that achieving more economic activity = achieving more fossil fuel use and greenhouse gases?

      Or has that mental link not been made yet?

      • Draco T Bastard 4.3.1

        Have you worked out yet that we could do more stuff without fossil fuels at all yet?

        • Colonial Viper

          In theory, but today, next year and the year after, and the year after that, the NZ economy would disintegrate without fossil fuels. Most people wouldn’t be able to get to work, the productivity of most farms would collapse, and supermarket shelves would be half empty.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Which, of course, means that your assertion of

            more economic activity = achieving more fossil fuel use and greenhouse gases

            Is completely fucken wrong.

            Farms would collapse – unless we transitioned them over to not using fossil fuels.
            People could get to work on electric trains and buses.
            Supermarkets shouldn’t exist any more. Order online and your shopping gets delivered by a person in an electric van. Hell, even just getting rid of the supermarkets and having shopping delivered would seriously cut down on fossil fuel use (and save a hell of a lot of money as well while, interestingly enough, actually increasing
            economic activity and decreasing uneconomic activity).

            • Draco T Bastard

              Even though I still had over 8 minutes on the timer could not edit that comment.

              • Colonial Viper

                Oh I think all the things you mention are possible in theory, but none of that will be implemented this year, next year or the year after.

                More to the point, you don’t appear to have any political idea to make your own ideas implementable or viable within the time frame we have left.

                Please correct me if I am wrong by explaining your perspective.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Oh I think all the things you mention are possible in theory, but none of that will be implemented this year, next year or the year after.

                  But that’s not what you asserted and I was replying to your false assertion.

      • Richardrawshark 4.3.2

        Spare me, what are you on about? Some connection to productivity and greenhouse gases, I don’t think you can blanket a simplistic thing like fossil fuels to productivity mate. Just saying.

        You could argue hydrothermal power generation or hydro dam, solar wind creates electricity that powers industry that creates products and therefore productivity.

        Some argue that the planet and also that sun working on 11 year cycles and when certain astrological and natural (el nino weather patterns) conditions exist we get extremes of weather.

        Now the Greenies will say it’s a proven fact that climate change is occurring and that’s totally correct not arguing.

        I still don’t think though the concrete evidence is out that it’s all due to fossil fuels and not a mixture of that and climate change(as in natural occurring climate change cycles).

        The planet used to burn coal at the turn of the 1900, smog was shocking, London was invisible at times way worse than you see of pollution in China and we had no global warming then. I dare say pollutants are less now than they were in the late 1800’s early 1900’s.

        • KJT

          Anthropogenic Global warming has been apparent since the industrial revolution.

          Refer Arrhenius.

          In fact smog mitigates some warming, as it reduces sunlight reaching the ground.

          We have reduced visual pollutants from coal with technology, but the greenhouse gas, invisible, emissions are still the same per ton burned.

          Total energy use from hydrocarbons worldwide, including coal,and hence carbon emissions, is increasing rapidly.

          NZ now exports more coal than we used to burn in the 1930’s, for other countries to burn.

    • weka 4.4

      Who are the political left and why do you think they all believe the same thing re GDP?

      • Colonial Viper 4.4.1

        That’s a good point weka, I am making assumptions there.

        So, which part of the Political Left in your view believes that it would be a good thing to reduce GDP?

        And which part of the Political Left in your view believes that we should halt all GDP growth and keep it basically steady?

        • weka

          Not really my area CV, esp as I think GDP is a nonsense measurement anyway.

          Plus I’m still not sure what you mean by parts of the political left. I mean, you could ask people here the question (about GDP increase) and get a range of some LW views. Or you could look at political parties. Or ? I don’t think there is such a thing as the Political Left, even in parts, in the way you are implying.

          Or you could just get on with making your actual point so we know what you are talking about 🙂

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            He hates the Labour Party, which he’s a member of. That’s his point.

            • weka

              Great. So now we know that trp doesn’t like Bomber, that Bomber doesn’t like trp, that Draco thinks I hate technology and so every single comment I make about it is to be disregarded, and that you think that CV has no argument on GDP/immigration because he hates Labour. Anyone else wnat to express their personal feelings as political debate?

              Seriously, we’re better than this.

              • Colonial Viper

                Are there any parts of the political left you can point to which wants to see GDP fall? Or at least held static?

                • weka

                  Make your point CV, I don’t yet know what you are talking about.

                  • Colonial Viper

                    It’s a simple question. If there are no sections of the political left which want to see GDP held static or dropped, it is not a crime to say so.

                    • weka

                      Then why don’t you say so?

                    • One Anonymous Bloke


                      “Simple” in this context, translates as “a study in passive aggression”.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      No sections of the political left, particularly the establishment left in Wellington, want to see GDP held static or dropped.

                      Do you agree with this statement, weka?

                    • weka

                      @CV 🙄

                      You get round to making your point, I’ll comment on it.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Do you agree or disagree with my statement that no section of the political left, especially the political left based in Wellington, want to see our GDP held static or dropped.

                    • Karen

                      CV – Who the fuck are the “political left” that you are demanding answers from? As I am sure you are aware there is a very wide range of views from people who claim to be left. So what is the point of your question?

                      You seem to be always looking for an opportunity to attack supporters of Labour, or the Greens, or anybody else who doesn’t accept that you are some kind of expert on every aspect of politics and the state of the world. You seem to have become a very bitter and negative person. I find that sad.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Hi Karen,

                      Can you point to any part of the political Left, especially (but not exclusively) the political left based in Wellington, or any “left wing” organisation eg unions etc, who want to see NZ reduce or freeze the size of its economy, drop its GDP or hold its GDP static.

                      Or do they all want additional economic growth.

                    • Henry

                      blah blah blah….whats your problem?

                    • RedLogix

                      @ weka

                      The only answer to CV’s question is “None”. No part of the political left could afford to take to the electorate a policy that stated or implied GDP would be held static or even reduced.

                      In isolation such a policy would be electoral suicide.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      RL, excuse my language, but thank fuck someone is willing to acknowledge the bleeding obvious.

                    • weka


                      “The only answer to CV’s question is “None”. No part of the political left could afford to take to the electorate a policy that stated or implied GDP would be held static or even reduced.”

                      Yeah, but CV didn’t say political parties, despite my very first response to him being to ask him to define what he meant by the political left (which he avoided answering). I looked at Hickey’s point this morning when I first read the article and thought shame about the framing around the GDP, but he’s a mainstream commentator, of course he’s going to do that.

                      I have no idea what CV is on about. If he wants to make a point that GDP increases aren’t desirable in a resource contrained world, he would have done better to have said that straight up instead of playing games all day.

                      It’s not like he’s the only one here to have those thoughts, and we could have had an interesting conversation instead.

                      I’m not really a mainstream economics person so I don’t think in terms of GDP, but I am on record many times on ts as supporting degrowth. I’m not the only leftie who thinks that.

                    • McFlock

                      Actually, CV, ISTR the Greens (and possibly others) have talked about a “triple-bottom-line” for years, and the Greens’ economic policy clearly establishes economic priorities other than GDP, including sustainability.

                      So the simple, 30sec-google answer to your sanctimonious, passive aggressive “question” is “yes, and this yes is obvious”.

                      Hmmm: I might have an addition for Bierce’s The Devil’s Dictionary: Polymast, n; One who has sufficient knowledge of many topics to publicly humiliate himself in each.

                    • weka

                      I’ve been having that argument with CV for weeks. Apparently the Greens understood the way of things back in the 70s when they were the Values party, but are either now completely ignorant of their history and the continuity of their policies (including what you just linked), or they’re just a bunch of lying, power grabbing arses like everyone else who pretend to believe in their charter, principles and policies but don’t really.

                      He simultaneously agrees with Red that no party could strongly advocate a reduction in GDP because it would be electoral suicide and believes that the Greens should get some guts and return to their radical roots and tell the bald truth about it all.

                    • McFlock

                      are you sure he didn’t get his Green Party membership on the sly? 🙂

                    • Colonial Viper

                      McFlock – triple bottom lines date back to the corporate dogma of the 1990s.

                      Your contention that the Greens “triple bottom line” implies their official backing of freezing or reducing GDP is a stretch.

                      So much of a stretch, I’d say that it was an unsupportable contention, as the idea of a triple bottom line is around being able to make more money, while maintaining performing in social and employee responsibility measures.

                    • Bill

                      Laughing my arse off here CV. It did seem like a pretty straight forward question. Talking from the perspective of a market abolitionist…

                      But as for the ‘mainstream’ left (the political parties and unions etc), then the answer is no – they don’t want growth halted, never mind reversed. (Green growth is a dangerous ‘have’ – it’s still growth)

                      Have they made the connection between growth and fossil use and other GHGs? Only on a detached intellectual level that bows down to a faith in markets, economic growth and a belief that it has always been thus and always will be thus – that TINA.

                      Fortunately for them, there’s a wee man in a pokey hat who’s going to pull all types of carbon capture and storage tech out of his bag, his hat, and his sleeve some time soon, that will remove about 36 Billion tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere every year and thus, what has always been, will continue to be, and there’s no need to change course… just carry on and wait for the wee man in the pokey hat.

                      I actually think that every politician and policy maker who sells that line (explicitly or implicitly) should be put before a court of ‘hard evidence’ presented by the no-nonsense members of the scientific community, and when they fail to win their case, they should be jailed for a long time. A very long time. I mean, that’s what we do to people who willfully commit acts that result in death, yes? And since we’re talking 100s of millions and possibly billions dying as a direct result of what politicians and policy makers are suggesting or mandating we do today….

                    • weka

                      Bill, did you just imply that the Green Party believes that CCS will save the day? If so, can you please explain what you mean? It’s definitely not in their policy (that I can see). Have you heard any Green MPs talking about CCS?

                      In the meantime,

                      The charter is the founding document of The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand.

                      The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand accepts Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the founding document of Aotearoa New Zealand; recognises Maori as Tangata Whenua in Aotearoa New Zealand; and commits to the following four Principles:

                      Ecological Wisdom:
                      The basis of ecological wisdom is that human beings are part of the natural world. This world is finite, therefore unlimited material growth is impossible. Ecological sustainability is paramount.

                      Social Responsibility:
                      Unlimited material growth is impossible. Therefore the key to social responsibility is the just distribution of social and natural resources, both locally and globally.

                      Appropriate Decision-making:
                      For the implementation of ecological wisdom and social responsibility, decisions will be made directly at the appropriate level by those affected.

                      Non-violent conflict resolution is the process by which ecological wisdom, social responsibility and appropriate decision making will be implemented. This principle applies at all levels.


                    • McFlock

                      Whatever, CV. TBL was my phrasing.

                      You obviously didn’t read the link to Green policy. Green policy definitely juxtaposes sustainability and social welbeing against GDP. Therefore, Green policy allows for shrinking GDP as a desirable economic goal should sustainability and other factors be contrary to the growth objective.

                      In fact, Green Policy seems to go so far as to not even consider GDP expansion/reduction because they want to replace GDP with a more appropriate measure of economic and social well-being.

                      The Greens seem to be so far ahead of you that your “question” is nonsensically old-fashioned: you might as well ask whether they’ll abandon the groat as a form of currency. Why would they care overmuch about the precise level of an obsolete index? It might have some niche value to specialists, but as a general measure the Green response could well be along the lines of “why do you even give a fuck about GDP?”. Only not with the f-bomb, because a common failure of that party is its tolerance of fools.

                      But, as the Once and Future Leftie, you can no doubt see right through that neoliberal facade.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Hi Bill,

                      Worthwhile noting that virtually all the deals out of COP21 Paris rely on the world achieving “negative emissions” by 2050 in order to prevent dangerous climate change.

                      It’s dream land stuff.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Hi weka,

                      referring to dead documents is hardly definitive. The start of the Labour Party constitution is pretty inspirational as well. If they lived up to half of it, it would be a completely different Labour Party than the one we have had.

                    • weka

                      you’ve made that argument before CV, but there is a big, critical difference between Labour and the Greens in that regard. Labour have a very well documented history of betraying themselves and their purpose. The Greens don’t.

                      If you could demonstrate how the document is dead, you might have a point, but assertions are free and meaningless without that. McFlock nailed it in his last comment. You criticise the Greens but it appears you don’t even know what they do.

                      Bill might be finding all this funny, but I find it deeply sad that we’re going to watch you spend the next decade attacking our allies.

                    • Bill

                      @Weka – How the fuck did I get drawn into that with some kind of accusation thrown in for good measure?

                      CV asked a question – a pretty straight forward one to my way of thinking. I found the (non) response, response rate ludicrous (and amusing).

                      You want to understand the Greens relationship to Carbon Capture and Storage? Their entire ‘Climate Change Policy’ is predicated on reports and models that have CCS assumptions built into their projections (ie – the IPCC) . The Greens don’t mention that ‘minor’ detail when proposing the likes of a 40% reduction by 2030…

                      That either means they either aren’t quite as knowledgeable as they like to make out when it comes to AGW (they’re unaware that CCS is built into IPCC scenarios and projections), or that they’re willing to mislead people.

                      edit – straight from their policy doc (they reference this with no questions asked) – “Global emissions must reduce towards zero by 2100 or earlier to have a likely chance of keeping global warming to less than 2°C and avoiding the worst effects of climate change.”

                      That statement is wholly dependent upon CCS tech. There is no likely (ie – 30%) chance, even we hit zero today.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      edit – straight from their policy doc (they reference this with no questions asked) – “Global emissions must reduce towards zero by 2100 or earlier to have a likely chance of keeping global warming to less than 2°C

                      Holy &$%*.

                      Is that really from an official Green Party policy doc?

                      I expect land temperatures to consistently hit 2 deg C warming (1880s basis) sometime during the 2020’s.

                      And overall warming (surface land and sea) to hit 2 deg C during the 2030s.

                      Not sure how they expect reducing GHG emissions “towards zero by 2100 or earlier” to keep global warming to less than 2 deg C when it will happen in the next few years.

                    • Bill

                      Christ knows where this will fall….

                      Yes, it’s directly from their policy doc (page 7) dated 2015. They’re quoting ex IPCC Chairman RK Pachauri


                      And the source for their quote, which I’m providing because the very next line reads…

                      That will require a range of technologies that by 2100 can remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, including carbon capture and storage, a developing technology that buries carbon dioxide but carries risks, Pachauri said.


                      edit. My bad. It’s not the very next line. It looks as though they paraphrased this – To avoid the worst effects of climate change, the world will have to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly by 2050 and then become carbon neutral by 2100, the latest IPCC report says.

                      The line they use and that they attribute isn’t in the text of the page they link to

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Thanks Bill.

                      If these are the Climate Change assumptions that the Greens are working to, I can understand why they are being so sanguine about our current predicament.

                      BTW listening to Hansen talk about a thing called ‘system thermal inertia’ it seems that we’ve only seen about half of the warming that today’s CO2 levels will bring. Even if GHG emissions went to zero today, we’d still have a few decades of the remainder warming that we have already committed to.

                  • Richardrawshark

                    What’s the point of just the GDP rising CV?

                    Plastic shit that.

                    You know it’s about life mate, quality of life, good hospitals, loving familys, nice people, how we got here, why are we here, life’s not about god damn GDP’s AFAIAC.

                    People want a good income that leaves them after paying the bills with enough luxury money to enjoy life, and you don’t need 50 mil like Key and the rest of these greedy s..ts to have it.

                    Wages need to be raised, and greedy bloody bosses need to stop being so greedy.

                    Take for instance a kitchen pantry at bunning, plain white mdf laminated 385 fkn dollars..for MDF?

                    The guy who ran the machine that pressed on the laminate 14.50 no doubt.

                    We want NZ back when a man went home after a weeks work with a decent paypacket, the wife could afford to stay home and raise the children if she wanted. You could own a home.

                    Successive governments have wanted more taxpayers and taxes and enabled the death of the wage packet and dare i say the death of being a KIWI, all for what
                    FUCKING GDP’S.

                    So your answer is NO.

                • KJT

                  CV. Many of us, “On the left” have been talking about the impossibility of “infinite growth in a finite world” on here for years. A steady state economy is essential for the long term survival of humanity

                  One of the reasons for a UBI is it helps to make sure that those at the bottom of the pile do not bear all the pain of the limits to growth.

                  Even Treasury has admitted that immigration has dropped GDP(income) per capita GDP. Translation. Excessive immigration has made each of us, except for a few speculators and low wage employers, worse off!!

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Exactly. And ‘degrowth’ has been a topic of discussion even in some governmental circles for years now.

                    I wonder why our political parties are so many miles away from representing our values and what we know as being critical if we are going to make it as a society over the next few decades.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                The biggest problem is misinterpretation, which in certain cases, as you’ve noted previously, looks deliberate.

        • RedLogix

          My answer is that GDP in isolation is an almost meaningless measure. It only makes sense if you look at other critical ratios such as Wages Share of GDP, Debt to GDP and GINI. These are numbers which start to measure how well our economy is meeting the needs of our peoples.

          Economics will only become useful when it comes in from the voodoo wilderness of zombie financial assumptions and becomes a part of the social life sciences. When we finally start defining the goals of a economy to serve collective human needs, rather than controlled by a self-serving elite.

          Since the invention of agriculture 10,000 years ago, human societies have all been riven by the need to control land, migration and the control of slave classes. The primary tools were physical, sexual and economic violence, and the distortion of natural hierarchy into mechanisms to enforce inequality, alienation and powerlessness. These are deeply ingrained habits still dominant in our lives.

          The good news is that world shaped by these forces is slowly dying. It’s disintegration is visible to anyone with eyes to see. The less good news is that the new world that will inevitably rise to replace it, is not yet so plain to see.

          Edit: Or as weka put’s it simply above … we need to be better than this.

          • Colonial Viper

            This sounds about right. Also worth remembering that the neolibs introduced GDP in order to hide the effects of transnational corporation globalisation , effects that would have been clearly visible using the longer established GNP measure.

            • RedLogix

              Yes that is a very good point … because GDP is constrained to measure national accounts only, it misses the vast sums of money swilling about in the gaps between countries, the tax havens and financialised derivative markets.

              And this ties to the other aspect I’ve mentioned from time to time; that because most of the really big problem we face are now global in nature, eg climate change, environmental degradation, poverty. uncontrolled migration and inequality … the only real solutions to them must eventually be implemented on a global scale.

              At the very least we need to start looking closely at global institutions like the OECD, IMF and the UN for a better sense of these trans-national forces and how they play onto our domestic politics. Because the truth is … even if we did manage to elect here in NZ a ‘dream -team’ left wing govt, it would quickly become apparent that while they might be allowed to implement superficial social policy; any serious financial reforms would be very quickly punished.

              While it is true that all politics ultimately condenses down to how it affects people, and is therefore local in impact … the forces that drive it in the modern world are global, and by ignoring them we ensure continued impotence.

        • Pat

          if we are to use a suspect measure such as GDP I assume that GDP increase/decrease is made up of more/less of the same?

        • Rae

          Per capita gdp has fallen, is not growing. And if you want to know there are those of us who KNOW that growth is finite, and reckon it will be the left that eventually accepts that we have to find a way to deal with it and live with out growth!
          It will be the left because more open minds identify with the left.

          • Colonial Viper

            That’s dogmatic nonsense, the Left was founded during an age of massive industrial expansion, and it has nothing left over from that obsolete economic model to offer to the world.

    • keith ross 4.5

      With regards to “Is the Political Left for or against increasing the GDP of New Zealand?” I think I can say I am from the left and to me it is not so much as how much GDP but it is what you do with it. With careful investment in the right policies (generally those proposed by the left) we can see this in action over the history of NZ, when the natz are in -debt goes up- when labour are in then the debt generally gets paid down. Its always better to have a higher income but, as anyone knows, it is what you do with it and it is just the same with countries. The amount of wasteful spending (free sheep and farm to Saudi Arabia )and false economy (build more prisons rather than invest in jobs and education). From the right it is a must to have more money as they have set up so many false economies gigs where save now pay more latter are starting to come home to roost. Now the GDP can be blamed and used to justify false economies (like dairy dams that pollute for short term gain with long term damage to infrastructure and the environment).
      Get it right

  5. Ralf Crown 5

    Skilled people require skilled management. When they come they get subordinated low level skills as beancounters, lawyers, politicians or just ideologists. That is why skilled people shun New Zealand. Medical doctors, New Zealand is ranked by WHO below Cuba in health care, in other words third world. Who want to work at the bottom end in the sludge of knowledge. A guy I know is a doctor engineer in IT&T with an eight year academic education, speaks seven languages, and he had to lie about his competence to get a job. Add the famous New Zealand corruption that kiwis don’t want to understand. They just love themselves.

    • Richardrawshark 5.1

      Hey Ralf –

      What happens though if there is an afterlife, or a god? Not in the biblical sense or any known religion but considering there was a big bang and the universe we live in was once and infinitely dense and hot singularity that within several billionths of a second expanded faster than the speed of light, a creator is a logical consideration amongst other reasons this could have happened.

      If I die and suddenly I am faced with my universes creator, who looks at what I did in my life, do you think he’d be impressed by my ability to run a company, make lots of money, I then spend on myself, whilst the people I employ work on a minimum wage and barely sustain there lives.?

      Is academic learning and making money or success something a god would value over the care for animals environment and each other.

  6. Craig H 6

    I note that of the top 10 occupations for Essential Skills work visas for the 2014/15 year (list at the bottom), per Skilled Migrant Category rules (skill level 1-3 on the ANZSCO), 6 of them are skilled – the top 5 and Registered Nurse (Aged Care). Also, ANZSCO breaks down the occupational group for registered nurse far more than is really relevant to immigration statistics, so there are more nurses than those stats suggest.

    That’s not to say that his general point isn’t a good one since he’s really talking about skill level 1 occupations (on that list, nurse and dairy farm manager are both skill level 1) which are the classic degree-level occupations e.g. doctor, nurse, teacher, engineer, lawyer, accountant, architect etc, but his examples aren’t great.

    Demonising Working Holiday Visa holders doesn’t help either, since most of them move around a lot to see as much of NZ as they can, so they don’t displace NZ staff the way he says they do.

    • KJT 6.1


      Have a look at Queenstown now.

      Locals cannot afford to stay there on the wages they pay, so all the workers are backpackers.

      • Craig H 6.1.1

        Nonsense yourself – the majority of people living in the Lakes district are still NZ-born as at the last census, and there are also resident visa holders (including Australians) in the region as well who are generally considered towards the NZ side of the ledger.

        There is clearly a massive housing affordability crisis, and various other labour market challenges in the region, and resolving or ameliorating those would go a long way to reducing the reliance on migrant labour as New Zealanders could afford to relocate for work, but it’s not like it’s all foreigners, even if that’s the perception.

        • KJT

          Your answer is meaningless. In the shops, restaurants, bars and ski-fields you can see the number of temporary back packer workers for yourself.

          Same as we can in Northland and many other areas.

          The census gives no indication, or evidence, of the number of non resident workers.

          The Governments response to bleats from Queenstown business owners was to increase the number of temporary work permits. Making legal what they were doing already.

          Queenstown business owners, who appear to be doing well, by the way, should have been told to raise their wages so workers would come. Good capitalism. Instead they are allowed to bypass the NZ market and pay wages, offer unsteady hours, no permanent local can live on.

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    Helping employers to bring in low-skilled migrants instead of investing in new technology and becoming more productive so they can pay local workers more is essentially stunting our productivity and real GDP per capita.

    Although allowing in low-skilled workers does hold down productivity and GDP/person an increase in productivity doesn’t automatically allow for the workers to get an increase in pay. In fact, an increase in productivity when all else remains the same should result in a decrease in wages. This is actually what we want to happen as it encourages people to produce new goods and services where they will get the higher wages.

    This will never happen under a capitalists system. There are several reasons for this so I’ll just name a couple of the most obvious:
    1. Our society doesn’t provide enough support for the general populace to try to produce new goods and services. The only people who get that support happen to be the rich (SkyCity, Rio Tinto subsidies and state asset sales) – everyone else is actively persecuted (attacks on beneficiaries).
    2. The capitalist will actually try to produce more of the goods/service and either try to sell it locally or export it so as to boost profits from doing more of the same thing. This prevents the development of our society’s economy and thus the economy remains weak and fragile. We see this with farming.

  8. Stuart Munro 8

    Hickey misses the immediate economic threat, though long term productivty loss and skill loss are important, in the short term NZ pays the dole for a kiwi to have a lousy time, while a temporary foreign worker is paid to do what he would’ve done. The employer saves a little, but the country loses the tax on the wage plus the dole. Economic genuis – from the muppets who brought you the rockstar economy.

  9. Ross 9

    Migrant exploitation is a serious problem here.

    Just this week a kiwifruit operator in the Bay of Plenty, Freemind Enterprize, was fined over failing to meet minimum employment standards. About 120 workers were affected. “The company’s director, Gurmail Lally, told the Labour Inspector that because his employees were casual, he did not give them employment agreements.”

    • KJT 9.1

      MOBIE investigated a total of 42 farms. Half were found to be exploiting migrant Labour. 50% of a random, supposedly, sample.

      Haven’t heard any more about it after that. Funny that?

  10. Gristle 10

    Why is that the “power houses” of the NZ economy, tourism and dairy farming are dominated by the majority of people in it receiving something close to the minimum wage? Yes I know that your second cousin twice removed could be a farm manager who gets $100k plus a house to live in, but that’s not the norm for farm workers.

    • Draco T Bastard 10.1

      Why is that the “power houses” of the NZ economy, tourism and dairy farming are dominated by the majority of people in it receiving something close to the minimum wage?

      Because paying the people who do the work more would mean that the people at the top would get far less. There’s a reason why I point out that million dollar incomes could otherwise employ 20 people.

  11. It’s pretty obvious. National want low skilled people from overseas because they will work for less than kiwis and their rich business mates love cheap labour. Despite being advised by treasury that low skilled labour does not grow productivity, National are still hell bent in allowing this excessive migration of low skilled labour to continue. NZ employers have no interest in an economy that provides high wages and offers a high standard of living. They are more interested in feathering their own greedy nests.
    This is the same scenario that happens in the states with Mexicans. Bring in those from third world countries, offer them a job at pathetically low wages and due to their inferior living standards from their home country they don’t kick up a fuss. They accept and do the job that results in bringing down wages for the citizens of the country. Instead of attacking Mexicans as Trump does I think it would be better to attack the businesses that take advantage of these migrants and their situation.
    Back to NZ, another issue is the student visa that National has introduced. There are a lot of employers abusing this. They employ these people, work them longer than 20 hours but only pay them for 20 hours. These people are too scared to report this in fear of being deported. Again, a fine example of employers having too much in their favour and not being held accountable for unscrupulous practice. What is anyone doing about this? Whilst I don’t expect a party like National to do anything, I do expect our opposition parties to be ramming these situations down the governments throat, make it known to the public the abuse that is occurring and demanding that it ends. It’s the same situation as the Mexicans in NZ. Many migrants coming to NZ have no skills, come from inferior standards of living, will work for pathetically low wages and don’t dare report employers for unscrupulous practice and don’t stand up for their rights. They are bring our living stands down, our wages and rights down. And NZ Employers just love it.

    • Draco T Bastard 11.1

      Instead of attacking Mexicans as Trump does I think it would be better to attack the businesses that take advantage of these migrants and their situation.

      True but there’s no way that Trump would attack the rich like that. Especially when you consider that he’s probably one of them even if it is indirectly.

      Many migrants coming to NZ have no skills, come from inferior standards of living, will work for pathetically low wages and don’t dare report employers for unscrupulous practice and don’t stand up for their rights.

      I suspect that many don’t understand their rights because, as you say, they come from countries with far lower standards and they’re still operating as if those low standards apply.

      They are bring our living stands down, our wages and rights down. And NZ Employers just love it.


    • +1 Black Kitten, you’ve said it much better than I ever could.

      And its not just migrants and international students. Anyone at the bottom of the ladder is fair game. I count myself lucky that the worst I’ve experienced was sheer ignorance of the law. My own situation was only resolved because my employer wasn’t banking on the fact that their most insignificant casual employee was already familiar with employment law and due process. I hate to think how many other employees are left deprived by inadvertently ignorant employers who have little time for the little people. Let alone those unscrupulous, even deliberately abusive employers we hear about all too often. The problem is that our country permits vulnerable workers, both migrant and local, to be exploited. We know this does nobody any favours; the only ones who benefit are those underhandedly and unlawfully undercutting everyone else. So why perpetuate it?

      Immigrants aren’t the problem. We are the problem. Even if we barred all low-skilled migrants, temporary work visa arrangements, international students from our country, the problem would just shift to the next most vulnerable group on the list. The outcomes of current policy needs to be transparently reconciled with their original intentions. Then with the necessary solutions so we can move forwards from this sorry situation. Or I don’t know, something like that.

  12. Bill 12

    So the problem with immigrants isn’t immigrants, but arsehole employers being arsehole employers working hard to achieve and maintain low wages and shite conditions and not giving a flying fuck for anything or anyone beyond themselves and their profit margins.

    Oh, hang on…that’s not what Hickey said. He played a version of blame the victim.

    Somewhat ironically given the angle of Hickey’s piece, I’m reminded of the reputation kiwi workers abroad have (the ones who are travelers picking up work visas) – cheap and cheerful.

    • Richardrawshark 12.1


      In farming our reps top notch. I travelled all over working on farms good money good accommodation, well respected.

      • weka 12.1.1

        And yet we know from other people with direct experience that some farms are exploiting overseas labour.

        • Richardrawshark

          No doubt, Weka, Got to have the brains to walk away from the numbnuts and I’ve had to do that a few times, but I’ve had to do that here too so that’s just employment in general I feel. Scotland was amazing for the barley harvest, distilleries 🙂 nice drams 🙂

        • Richardrawshark

          When I thought more about that weka, I had right of abode, working in the uk was ok for me.

          When I worked in Greece for the summer, um yeah I got treated like shit because I had no work visa, none of us had , we just went there found bar jobs etc, and they treated you like a slave and paid fk all. We as a big community of foreign workers used our nightclub and bar accesses to have a hell of a summer we really didn’t need much spending money.

          • weka

            Yeah, I think there is a real difference between those partying on a temp visa here and those here because they’ve come from a country where our low wages look good. This is why I think it’s better to look at immigration policy and what it is doing rather than lumping all immigrants into one lot. We need to understand the details and differences.

            Plus conditions. I’ve heard stories of people being expected to live in converted uninsulated sheds on farms in the SI winter. There really is no excuse for that on a big commercial farm.

            • Bill

              The Indian worker who comes here to work (in say) an Indian restaurant and send money back to India so his kids can go to school or whatever, isn’t coming here because ‘the wages look good’. Better to go to the Middle East, get paid more and be able to afford the flight back to India once a year or whatever if that was the deciding factor. Sometimes circumstances dictate where a person will be and sometimes they will wind up in less than optimal situations in no part due to their own choosing (all things are rarely equal).

              The traveler who works wouldn’t work if they didn’t need money. And sure, they party too, why not? The ones who are simply and only ‘partying’ have no money worries and won’t be looking for work.

              • weka

                Not sure what your point is there unless it’s that locals should suck it up re scarcity of jobs and housing.

                Re the Indian worker or whoever, again I’m not sure what your point is. Obviously there are lots of factors that affect why people end up where they do. I assume you are not suggesting that there is no-one in NZ working here because the pay is better than at home?

                • Bill

                  I’m saying that neither immigrants nor travelers taking up temporary work are responsible for shit wages, crap conditions, housing shortages or unemployment.

                  For the second bit, you assume correctly.

                  • + 1 Bill – succinctly put – thank you

                  • KJT

                    Their availability however, allows employers to get away with it.

                    • so the employers are the exploiters and the ones responsible for making the conditions, low wages, and so on, and the government and industry create the structure which also allows these conditions, low wages and so on – why don’t we deal with those responsible?

                    • KJT

                      I agree Marty. We should put the politicians who have deliberately made it policy, Because “We would love to see New Zealand wages drop”, in jail.

                    • Bill

                      That’s asinine. The availability of a workforce allows an employer to exploit a workforce…and it’s all the fault of the workforce. They (the employers) would never get away with it, if it wasn’t for the availability of the workforce. Gee. If only all those exploited peeps would just up-sticks and be gone, the world would be a far nicer and fairer place.

                    • KJT

                      Who said it was the fault of the workforce? Only you Bill.

                      Cant blame the immigrants. Done the same thing in Australia myself.
                      Doesn’t mean it should be allowed to the ridiculous extent it is by our Government. We have thousands of unemployed in Christchurch yet we import unskilled people to build. Another leaking building failure in the making, by the way.

                  • dave

                    it our fault for tolerating it allowing and being so apathetic we don’t riot when we should be

          • Bill

            Taking the example of Greece.

            No work permit and no recourse to (officially sanctioned) remedies. No real need for a heap of money to be coming in because (maybe) ‘young’, ‘traveling’, ‘carefree’ etc. That said, some money has to be coming in from somewhere.

            So the need for a work permit and it not being available puts workers at the mercy of employers. And being at the mercy of employers, means those employers can hold wages and conditions to levels that aren’t feasible for the domiciled work force.

            And so, again the immigrant, or the traveler working as they pass through, isn’t to blame.

      • Bill 12.1.2

        Then Hickeys contention that immigrants keep wages and conditions low isn’t true in relation to the farming sector. Fine. (I see that Weka doesn’t have such a rosy take on the farming sector’s wages and conditions)

        • KJT

          If you don’t think the availability of cheap farm workers from offshore does not keep farm wages down, then I have a hotel in the Islands to sell you.

          • Bill

            Bosses create cheap labour. It’s not as though some people have a “cheap labour” gene for christs sake.

            Where you’re argument is going…if I go for a job and I have less money or wealth than the other guy at the interview, then it’s entirely appropriate for the employer to offer me lower wages and conditions than he’s offering the other guy.

            • KJT

              You have missed the point entirely.

              • Bill

                No, I don’t think I have. What you’re saying is that cheap labour from overseas means an opportunity for employers to keep wages and conditions down. What I’m saying is that there is no such thing as ‘cheap labour’ – just bastard employers doing what bastard employers will do.

    • weka 12.2

      Not all employers who hire temp visa workers are arseholes in the way you mean. Hospo in particular is full of businesses that are on the edge and many fail. There is a problem there with the business models being used for sure, but not all those people are out and out arseholes who care only for themselves and no-one else.

      edit, btw, I have no problem with Kiwis overseas being turned down for jobs that locals need to pay the rent.

      • Bill 12.2.1

        All businesses in all sectors are forever failing. What’s that got to do with any debate over whether it’s employers or immigrants who keep wages low and conditions at a less than desirable level?

        Are you suggesting that if an employer can make a business case for ‘doing over’ employees, then they should be allowed to?

        My point about the reputation of overseas kiwis was that here we are suggesting that wages and conditions aren’t what they should be, implying that if it was just kiwis in the job market then improvements would be fought for and won. (Not my experience from years of union work in NZ – fear pervades many workforces in NZ)
        Meanwhile. Overseas (fairly or otherwise), the kiwi traveler stands a better chance of landing the seasonal work than the Aussie traveler due to that ‘cheap and cheerful’ reputation.

        • weka

          “All businesses in all sectors are forever failing.”

          What does that mean? Do you mean in an abstract, capitalism is a failure kind of way? Because obviously there are lots of businesses that haven’t fallen over and have been going for a long time.

          “What’s that got to do with any debate over whether it’s employers or immigrants who keep wages low and conditions at a less than desirable level?”

          I don’t believe that employers or immigrants are keeping wages low. I think our immigration policy in the context of much large economic policies keep wages low. At the moment National use the immigration policy as one of their tools for keeping wages low. Obviously employers have degrees of culpability too.

          “Are you suggesting that if an employer can make a business case for ‘doing over’ employees, then they should be allowed to?”

          No, and that question suggests you are not really hearing what I am saying.

          Let me ask a question in return then. Are you suggesting that every hospo business in NZ should start paying a living wage with fair work conditions this month? Because while I agree they should be doing that already, and would support a govt that regulated to make that happen in a reasonable time frame, I also know that if businesses were forced to do that immediately many would fold. And in the meantime, while we’re waiting for the revolution to come on wages and contracts, there are too many workers and not enough jobs and lowering temp visa immigration for a while would take the pressure off local workers.

          • Bill

            I don’t have the figures for business failures to hand. But it’s high – very high.

            There is nothing in National’s immigration policy that dictates an employer must pay a foreign employee less than a domiciled employee or offer up conditions that a domiciled employee would find ‘impossible’ to live with. Employers, where they’re doing that, are doing it off their own bat. The only thing wrong with immigration policy is that it’s far too restrictive and often forces people into untenable situations due to the work permits regime.

            You did imply that as long as an employer wasn’t an arse-hole, then it was okay for them to offer low wages and conditions. Or maybe you missed the fact that I wasn’t being universal in my original comment and so jumped on something that was never said? ( I was clear, specific and only made mention of arse-hole employers)

            In answer to your question. If a business cannot afford to offer good conditions and rates of pay, then that business should close. Attaining good wages and conditions in no way constitutes anything revolutionary btw.

            Rates of unemployment are ‘built in’ to NZs economic model. (I believe that 5% is the desired target to ensure ‘workforce flexibility’ is maintained). Unemployment has got nothing to do with immigrants or foreigners and would persist even if not a single person came into the country to work.

            • weka

              “You did imply that as long as an employer wasn’t an arse-hole, then it was okay for them to offer low wages and conditions.’

              And yet that’s not what I meant, so please take a step back and check things out.

              “I don’t have the figures for business failures to hand. But it’s high – very high.”

              Think about the number of hosp businesses where you live. Lots are transient and a good chunk are long term. My point was that margins for some business can be very tight, so the idea that they’re all just greedy arseholes creaming it isn’t real IMO. That doesn’t mean it’s ok to pay people badly, it just means that the motivations might be different. I would see it similarly to farming where some farmers who are other wise decent enough people are locked into economic models that they don’t have a huge amount of control over.

              “There is nothing in National’s immigration policy that dictates an employer must pay a foreign employee less than a domiciled employee or offer up conditions that a domiciled employee would find ‘impossible’ to live with.”

              Of course. National are never going to be that overtly draconian when they don’t need to be. The economic models we have mean they can just adjust things here and there to create defacto low wages instead of lowering them through regulation.

              • Bill

                If that’s not what you meant or what you were meaning to imply, then a bit of clarification would be welcome. Or alternatively, what is it that I should be checking out?

                On the employer front – again, I didn’t say that all employers were selfish arseholes who were simply creaming it. That would, as you say, be suggesting an unreality. And happily, I didn’t do that.

                As for paying low wages or offering shit conditions – it’s not acceptable and I don’t care what the motivation might be, or whether the employer is otherwise a nice person or a good person. If their business doesn’t work unless they dump on employees, then their business should shut down or they should sell or declare bankruptcy or whatever.

                What is it in Nationals immigration policy that’s responsible for low wages? You haven’t said. Are you suggesting that National have a deliberate immigration policy that, within the context of our current economic framework, results in lower wages and worse conditions for domiciled employees? If so (and that seems to be what you’re saying) then you’re going to have to draw out those links and explain them because they aren’t obvious.

                • KJT

                  Even if the employer has a conscience. If his competitor is treating his staff like shit and paying low wages, then he is in the same bind as an employee looking for work. Join his competitor in paying low wages or go out of business.

                  ” Are you suggesting that National have a deliberate immigration policy that, within the context of our current economic framework, results in lower wages and worse conditions for domiciled employees?”

                  Yes they do. They have even admitted to it.

      • KJT 12.2.2

        It doesn’t matter if they are arseholes, or not, when the only way to keep your business is to pay less than the coffee shop down the road. Who has a bunch of illegal backpackers working for them.

        My experience, with supporting young people with WINZ and employers is that just about every employer is breaking the law.
        The workers generally are too scared of being sacked to do anything.

        There is a 13 week stand down, and any other penalties a vindictive WINZ case manager can find if they leave.

        I young woman got a stand down for leaving McD’s, after they changed her shifts to hours she couldn’t safely and legally get to work. (Restricted licence and no public transport) Another when she was abused and bullied at her job.
        Both workplaces are now full of young Asian and Western European women. Who can barely speak English.

        Apprenticeships do not exist in Northland because it is much easier to import a trained South African than train an apprentice. Of a mechanical engineering class of 35. ONE got an apprenticeship. Making a joke of the idea that if you get an education you will get a job.

    • marty mars 12.3

      Bill too much analysis – immigrants are the problem because they want to be exploited by nz employers, it makes them happy to earn $5 an hour – after all they would live like kings and queens back where they came from on that. It is a straight choice – kiwi jobs or immigrants ready to rip the food off good honest kiwi workers tables and pull the baked beans out of their kiwi kids mouths. The blame must be placed squarely otherwise the rest of the structure cannot be built. //sarc

      • Bill 12.3.1

        Frighteningly, if that comment had come from ‘far too many’ other quarters on this blog, then bar the last sentence and the /sarc/ tag, it could have easily passed for a genuine and face value wise, serious comment.

      • weka 12.3.2

        Who is saying that marty? I think it’s a gross misrepresentation of at least some of the arguments here.

        I think part of the divide between yourself and Bill, and others is that you and Bill believe in open borders, most other people here don’t.

        • marty mars

          It seems like a general ethos to me of the tone – not put as harshly of course – don’t want to appear unreasonable. For me it is similar to paula bennett pulling up the ladder behind her. So many have gained so much by immigrating here and so many have forgotten that imo.

          • weka

            For me the ethics aren’t around who arrived when, they’re around what’s fair. Is it fair that I live in a country that is reasonably well off and other people don’t? No. I’m very aware that given the state of my health there are many places in the world where I would be either destitute or dead. If I had my way I’d prioritise resource sharing so that wealthy nations like NZ shared our wealth more equitably with the rest of the world. I’d also prioritise immigration from countries that have worse civil and human rights than we do. I’d be more than happy to take a drop in my standard of living to make that real. But it’s la la land, right? In the same way that you wanting open borders is. So for me in the meantime, here is a simply adjustment to immigration policy that gives people already living here better access to income and housing.

            If the 100,000 temp visa workers were raised to 500,000, or 1,000,000, the world would still be full of people needing help. I think the government could adjust the policy so that there were less people here partying and affecting work/housing and more people in genuine need, but to make the system fairer we have to have the conversation and the moment it seems oddly polarised.

            btw, I haven’t seen you or Bill offer solutions to the work/housing issue. You both offer ideological arguments as to why immigration isn’t to blame, but I don’t see the alternative solutions.

            • marty mars

              I’m pretty sure I know the arguments and rationale for those that want to ‘limit’ immigration and for sure it is a natural instinct to want to maintain (or slightly lower) living standards for existing citizens – let’s call them us.

              “If the 100,000 temp visa workers were raised to 500,000, or 1,000,000, the world would still be full of people needing help.”

              and that argument is used by people within the CC debate is it not?

              and sure the government is NEVER going to let people in unless it fits THEIR purpose and this ‘limiting’ when supported by citizens lends strength to the governments arms for when the ‘limiting’ begins for citizens imo, which it must inevitably do imo again.

              Frankly I find the arguments ‘limiting’ or deciding who will or won’t come here to be more than slightly uncomfortable.

              I feel your last sentence is a ‘shaming’ one and I don’t feel shame about not contributing to the debate in the way, manner or content YOU decide is appropriate.

      • Richardrawshark 12.3.3

        This is an education issue Marty. Or lack of, if an immigrant was doing low paid work (and I doubt this as I suspect it would be more the unskilled refugee this would apply to as any immigrant should be categorised as a skill we are lacking and would find well paid employment) why would they be here?

        If a refugee we took in as part of the refugee quota and had little to no skills they are afforded other govt assistance like education. If not they should also learn the pay rate and their is a group of professionals assisting them

        so what’s your argument again?

        Immigrants are pushing down wages?

        Perhaps people on temporary work visa’s taking jobs we could do in the bar or tourism industry for sure.

        • marty mars

          that is not my argument and never has been

          as for the immigrant/refugee distinction – that is a good point – I wonder if the categories, as we distinuish them, are moving closer or farther apart

  13. Henry Filth 13

    An interesting angle on the “who do we want to live here” vs the “who are we saying can live here” question.

    Hopefully to be followed by the “who decides who lives here” question, and the “how do we decide who lives here”.

    But I shan’t hold my breath. . .

  14. Herodotus 14

    When will the govt release its immigration policy with what the expected immigration numbers and where they are to reside so local bodies are able to react as per the Nat Policy Stmt?
    I get from this that this is a govt that is trying to be seen as distancing themselves from the problem when they control much of demand side of the equation and are able to direct investment options with tax law.
    Yesterday the Government released it’s proposed National Policy Statement on Urban Development. My view is that the actions required by councils under this policy are really what any good council should be doing. Yet while the announcement may be business as usual for many other councils, we all know Auckland Council needs to up its game.
    It requires councils to give a clearer and more holistic picture of how much housing will be needed in the short, medium and long-term and be ready to respond to this. Any organisation must be attuned to the importance of monitoring and forecasting future demand, analysing current capacity and then having the preparation, tools and flexibility to respond to any possible shortfall.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 14.1

      we all know Auckland Council needs to up its game.

      We all know that democracy is “inefficient” and “messy” when looked at through the lens of “getting things done”. Meanwhile, Auckland Council has 6.5 years of land plus infrastructure waiting for houses to be built, and the National Party is lying.

      Why are you helping them?

      • Paul 14.1.1

        He idolises John Key?

        • Herodotus

          The quote is from the link from V.Cronin Auck mayoral candidate.
          OAB Auckland does NOT have 6.5 yrs of land stock waiting for houses, the quote is from MBIE and is “The supply of “ready to go” greenfield land is 6.5 years (1.5 year over the Auckland Plan minimum target of 5 years) and up from 6.15…” This is not the same as there is 6.5years of serviced and titled lots await to be built on. Perhaps this will fill in a few gaps in your understanding

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            I note the executive summary. It starts on page three.

            9,251 new dwellings issued with building consents to December 2015 is the best in any 12-month period to December since 2004, over a decade ago
            A 21% increase on the same period of the previous year (up by 1,619 from 7,632 dwellings)
            4,066 dwellings in multi-unit buildings were issued with building consents in the 12 months to December 2015, up by 1,133 from 2,933 in the same period in the previous year
            The share of multi-unit dwellings is growing, and accounted for 44% of new dwellings issued with building consents in the 12 months to December 2015.

            And so-on. It filled some gaps in my understanding: I already knew the National Party is lying and now I have some specifics.

  15. Pat 15

    speaking of cheap labour, exploitation and working holidays is focusing on only one side of the equation (the lesser in importance imo)

    Hickey has been pointing out for years (in relation to all aspects of NZs economy) the glaring lack of investment in new technologies and increased productivity……something well illustrated by Savenz’s link re CCDBH.

    Improved productivity requires investment.

    It is worth noting that if the suggestions of Hickey(and others) were determinedly followed to their natural conclusion and were successful then the higher paid, rewarding positions would be available and many of those low paid mind numbing tasks would not exist…no great loss as if your business can’t survive without importing and exploiting unprotected labour it isn’t viable.

    The only fishhook I foresee is who owns the IP and where does that benefit land?

    And now is the perfect time(though 8 or even 20 or 30 years ago would have been better)

    • KJT 15.1

      Why invest or put effort into a more efficient business when you can make more money simply by screwing down your workforce a bit more, importing cheaper labour, Or, buying a house in Auckland.

      • Pat 15.1.1

        because none of those options are sustainable and will lead to a uncompetitive economy that becomes less and less productive, poorer, smaller and third world.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Bernard's six-stack of substacks for Monday, April 22
    Tonight’s six-stack includes: writes via his substack that’s he’s sceptical about the IPSOS poll last week suggesting a slide into authoritarianism here, writing: Kiwis seem to want their cake and eat it too Tal Aster writes for about How Israel turned homeowners into YIMBYs. writes via his ...
    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    7 hours ago
  • The media were given a little list and hastened to pick out Fast Track prospects – but the Treaty ...
     Buzz from the Beehive The 180 or so recipients of letters from the Government telling them how to submit infrastructure projects for “fast track” consideration includes some whose project applications previously have been rejected by the courts. News media were quick to feature these in their reports after RMA Reform Minister Chris ...
    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    9 hours ago
  • Just trying to stay upright
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    More Than A FeildingBy David Slack
    9 hours ago
  • “Unprecedented”
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    11 hours ago
  • Bryce Edwards: Time for “Fast-Track Watch”
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    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    12 hours ago
  • Gordon Campbell on fast track powers, media woes and the Tiktok ban
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    12 hours ago
  • The Government’s new fast-track invitation to corruption
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    Point of OrderBy gadams1000
    14 hours ago
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    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
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    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    15 hours ago
  • All the Green Tech in China.
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    18 hours ago
  • Bernard’s pick ‘n’ mix of the news links at 7:16am on Monday, April 22
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    1 day ago
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  • Thank you
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    2 days ago
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    2 days ago
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    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    2 days ago
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    2 days ago
  • The Folly Of Impermanence.
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    3 days ago
  • A crisis of ambition
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    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    3 days ago
  • Have 308 people in the Education Ministry’s Curriculum Development Team spent over $100m on a 60-p...
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    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    3 days ago
  • 'This bill is dangerous for the environment and our democracy'
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    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    3 days ago
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    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    3 days ago
  • The worth of it all
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    3 days ago
  • What is the Hardest Sport in the World?
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    3 days ago
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    3 days ago
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  • Can taxpayers be confident PIJF cash was spent wisely?
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    Point of OrderBy gadams1000
    3 days ago
  • EGU2024 – An intense week of joining sessions virtually
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    3 days ago
  • Submission on “Fast Track Approvals Bill”
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    3 days ago
  • The Case for a Universal Family Benefit
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    3 days ago
  • A who’s who of New Zealand’s dodgiest companies
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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • On Lee’s watch, Economic Development seems to be stuck on scoring points from promoting sporting e...
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  • New Zealand has never been closed for business
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    3 days ago
  • Stop the panic – we’ve been here before
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    Point of OrderBy poonzteam5443
    4 days ago
  • Melissa Lee and the media: ending the quest
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    Point of OrderBy Bob Edlin
    4 days ago
  • The Hoon around the week to April 19
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    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
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    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Nicola's Salad Days.
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    Nick’s KōreroBy Nick Rockel
    4 days ago
  • Study sees climate change baking in 19% lower global income by 2050
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    The KakaBy Bernard Hickey
    4 days ago
  • Weekly Roundup 19-April-2024
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    4 days ago
  • Jack Vowles: Stop the panic – we’ve been here before
    New Zealand is said to be suffering from ‘serious populist discontent’. An IPSOS MORI survey has reported that we have an increasing preference for strong leaders, think that the economy is rigged toward the rich and powerful, and political elites are ignoring ‘hard-working people’.  The data is from February this ...
    Democracy ProjectBy bryce.edwards
    4 days ago
  • Clearing up confusion (or trying to)
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    PolitikBy Richard Harman
    4 days ago
  • How to Retrieve Deleted Call Log iPhone Without Computer
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    4 days ago
  • How to Factory Reset iPhone without Computer: A Comprehensive Guide to Restoring your Device
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    4 days ago
  • How to Call Someone on a Computer: A Guide to Voice and Video Communication in the Digital Age
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    4 days ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #16 2024
    Open access notables Glacial isostatic adjustment reduces past and future Arctic subsea permafrost, Creel et al., Nature Communications: Sea-level rise submerges terrestrial permafrost in the Arctic, turning it into subsea permafrost. Subsea permafrost underlies ~ 1.8 million km2 of Arctic continental shelf, with thicknesses in places exceeding 700 m. Sea-level variations over glacial-interglacial cycles control ...
    4 days ago

  • Justice Minister to attend Human Rights Council
    Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith is today travelling to Europe where he’ll update the United Nations Human Rights Council on the Government’s work to restore law and order.  “Attending the Universal Periodic Review in Geneva provides us with an opportunity to present New Zealand’s human rights progress, priorities, and challenges, while ...
    9 hours ago
  • Patterson reopens world’s largest wool scouring facility
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    11 hours ago
  • Speech to the Southland Otago Regional Engineering Collective Summit, 18 April 2024
    Hon Andrew Bayly, Minister for Small Business and Manufacturing  At the Southland Otago Regional Engineering Collective (SOREC) Summit, 18 April, Dunedin    Ngā mihi nui, Ko Andrew Bayly aho, Ko Whanganui aho    Good Afternoon and thank you for inviting me to open your summit today.    I am delighted ...
    12 hours ago
  • Government to introduce revised Three Strikes law
    The Government is delivering on its commitment to bring back the Three Strikes legislation, Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee announced today. “Our Government is committed to restoring law and order and enforcing appropriate consequences on criminals. We are making it clear that repeat serious violent or sexual offending is not ...
    12 hours ago
  • New diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has today announced four new diplomatic appointments for New Zealand’s overseas missions.   “Our diplomats have a vital role in maintaining and protecting New Zealand’s interests around the world,” Mr Peters says.    “I am pleased to announce the appointment of these senior diplomats from the ...
    13 hours ago
  • Humanitarian support for Ethiopia and Somalia
    New Zealand is contributing NZ$7 million to support communities affected by severe food insecurity and other urgent humanitarian needs in Ethiopia and Somalia, Foreign Minister Rt Hon Winston Peters announced today.   “Over 21 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance across Ethiopia, with a further 6.9 million people ...
    13 hours ago
  • Arts Minister congratulates Mataaho Collective
    Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Paul Goldsmith is congratulating Mataaho Collective for winning the Golden Lion for best participant in the main exhibition at the Venice Biennale. "Congratulations to the Mataaho Collective for winning one of the world's most prestigious art prizes at the Venice Biennale.  “It is good ...
    1 day ago
  • Supporting better financial outcomes for Kiwis
    The Government is reforming financial services to improve access to home loans and other lending, and strengthen customer protections, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Andrew Bayly and Housing Minister Chris Bishop announced today. “Our coalition Government is committed to rebuilding the economy and making life simpler by cutting red tape. We are ...
    2 days ago
  • Trade relationship with China remains strong
    “China remains a strong commercial opportunity for Kiwi exporters as Chinese businesses and consumers continue to value our high-quality safe produce,” Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says.   Mr McClay has returned to New Zealand following visits to Beijing, Harbin and Shanghai where he met ministers, governors and mayors and engaged in trade and agricultural events with the New ...
    2 days ago
  • PM’s South East Asia mission does the business
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has completed a successful trip to Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines, deepening relationships and capitalising on opportunities. Mr Luxon was accompanied by a business delegation and says the choice of countries represents the priority the New Zealand Government places on South East Asia, and our relationships in ...
    3 days ago
  • $41m to support clean energy in South East Asia
    New Zealand is demonstrating its commitment to reducing global greenhouse emissions, and supporting clean energy transition in South East Asia, through a contribution of NZ$41 million (US$25 million) in climate finance to the Asian Development Bank (ADB)-led Energy Transition Mechanism (ETM). Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Climate Change Minister Simon Watts announced ...
    3 days ago
  • Minister releases Fast-track stakeholder list
    The Government is today releasing a list of organisations who received letters about the Fast-track applications process, says RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop. “Recently Ministers and agencies have received a series of OIA requests for a list of organisations to whom I wrote with information on applying to have a ...
    3 days ago
  • Judicial appointments announced
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister David Jonathan Boldt as a Judge of the High Court, and the Honourable Justice Matthew Palmer as a Judge of the Court of Appeal. Justice Boldt graduated with an LLB from Victoria University of Wellington in 1990, and also holds ...
    4 days ago
  • Education Minister heads to major teaching summit in Singapore
    Education Minister Erica Stanford will lead the New Zealand delegation at the 2024 International Summit on the Teaching Profession (ISTP) held in Singapore. The delegation includes representatives from the Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) Te Wehengarua and the New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) Te Riu Roa.  The summit is co-hosted ...
    4 days ago
  • Value of stopbank project proven during cyclone
    A stopbank upgrade project in Tairawhiti partly funded by the Government has increased flood resilience for around 7000ha of residential and horticultural land so far, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says. Mr Jones today attended a dawn service in Gisborne to mark the end of the first stage of the ...
    4 days ago
  • Anzac commemorations, Türkiye relationship focus of visit
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters will represent the Government at Anzac Day commemorations on the Gallipoli Peninsula next week and engage with senior representatives of the Turkish government in Istanbul.    “The Gallipoli campaign is a defining event in our history. It will be a privilege to share the occasion ...
    4 days ago
  • Minister to Europe for OECD meeting, Anzac Day
    Science, Innovation and Technology and Defence Minister Judith Collins will next week attend the OECD Science and Technology Ministerial conference in Paris and Anzac Day commemorations in Belgium. “Science, innovation and technology have a major role to play in rebuilding our economy and achieving better health, environmental and social outcomes ...
    4 days ago
  • Comprehensive Partnership the goal for NZ and the Philippines
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon held a bilateral meeting today with the President of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos Jr.  The Prime Minister was accompanied by MP Paulo Garcia, the first Filipino to be elected to a legislature outside the Philippines. During today’s meeting, Prime Minister Luxon and President Marcos Jr discussed opportunities to ...
    4 days ago
  • Government commits $20m to Westport flood protection
    The Government has announced that $20 million in funding will be made available to Westport to fund much needed flood protection around the town. This measure will significantly improve the resilience of the community, says Local Government Minister Simeon Brown. “The Westport community has already been allocated almost $3 million ...
    4 days ago
  • Taupō takes pole position
    The Government is proud to support the first ever Repco Supercars Championship event in Taupō as up to 70,000 motorsport fans attend the Taupō International Motorsport Park this weekend, says Economic Development Minister Melissa Lee. “Anticipation for the ITM Taupō Super400 is huge, with tickets and accommodation selling out weeks ...
    4 days ago
  • Cost of living support for low-income homeowners
    Local Government Minister Simeon Brown has announced an increase to the Rates Rebate Scheme, putting money back into the pockets of low-income homeowners.  “The coalition Government is committed to bringing down the cost of living for New Zealanders. That includes targeted support for those Kiwis who are doing things tough, such ...
    5 days ago
  • Government backing mussel spat project
    The Coalition Government is investing in a project to boost survival rates of New Zealand mussels and grow the industry, Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones has announced. “This project seeks to increase the resilience of our mussels and significantly boost the sector’s productivity,” Mr Jones says. “The project - ...
    5 days ago
  • Government focused on getting people into work
    Benefit figures released today underscore the importance of the Government’s plan to rebuild the economy and have 50,000 fewer people on Jobseeker Support, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “Benefit numbers are still significantly higher than when National was last in government, when there was about 70,000 fewer ...
    5 days ago
  • Clean energy key driver to reducing emissions
    The Government’s commitment to doubling New Zealand’s renewable energy capacity is backed by new data showing that clean energy has helped the country reach its lowest annual gross emissions since 1999, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. New Zealand’s latest Greenhouse Gas Inventory (1990-2022) published today, shows gross emissions fell ...
    5 days ago
  • Earthquake-prone buildings review brought forward
    The Government is bringing the earthquake-prone building review forward, with work to start immediately, and extending the deadline for remediations by four years, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says. “Our Government is focused on rebuilding the economy. A key part of our plan is to cut red tape that ...
    5 days ago
  • Thailand and NZ to agree to Strategic Partnership
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and his Thai counterpart, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, have today agreed that New Zealand and the Kingdom of Thailand will upgrade the bilateral relationship to a Strategic Partnership by 2026. “New Zealand and Thailand have a lot to offer each other. We have a strong mutual desire to build ...
    5 days ago
  • Government consults on extending coastal permits for ports
    RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop and Transport Minister Simeon Brown have today announced the Coalition Government’s intention to extend port coastal permits for a further 20 years, providing port operators with certainty to continue their operations. “The introduction of the Resource Management Act in 1991 required ports to obtain coastal ...
    6 days ago
  • Inflation coming down, but more work to do
    Today’s announcement that inflation is down to 4 per cent is encouraging news for Kiwis, but there is more work to be done - underlining the importance of the Government’s plan to get the economy back on track, acting Finance Minister Chris Bishop says. “Inflation is now at 4 per ...
    6 days ago
  • School attendance restored as a priority in health advice
    Refreshed health guidance released today will help parents and schools make informed decisions about whether their child needs to be in school, addressing one of the key issues affecting school attendance, says Associate Education Minister David Seymour. In recent years, consistently across all school terms, short-term illness or medical reasons ...
    6 days ago
  • Unnecessary bureaucracy cut in oceans sector
    Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones is streamlining high-level oceans management while maintaining a focus on supporting the sector’s role in the export-led recovery of the economy. “I am working to realise the untapped potential of our fishing and aquaculture sector. To achieve that we need to be smarter with ...
    6 days ago
  • Patterson promoting NZ’s wool sector at International Congress
    Associate Agriculture Minister Mark Patterson is speaking at the International Wool Textile Organisation Congress in Adelaide, promoting New Zealand wool, and outlining the coalition Government’s support for the revitalisation the sector.    "New Zealand’s wool exports reached $400 million in the year to 30 June 2023, and the coalition Government ...
    7 days ago
  • Removing red tape to help early learners thrive
    The Government is making legislative changes to make it easier for new early learning services to be established, and for existing services to operate, Associate Education Minister David Seymour says. The changes involve repealing the network approval provisions that apply when someone wants to establish a new early learning service, ...
    7 days ago
  • RMA changes to cut coal mining consent red tape
    Changes to the Resource Management Act will align consenting for coal mining to other forms of mining to reduce barriers that are holding back economic development, Resources Minister Shane Jones says. “The inconsistent treatment of coal mining compared with other extractive activities is burdensome red tape that fails to acknowledge ...
    7 days ago
  • McClay reaffirms strong NZ-China trade relationship
    Trade, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Todd McClay has concluded productive discussions with ministerial counterparts in Beijing today, in support of the New Zealand-China trade and economic relationship. “My meeting with Commerce Minister Wang Wentao reaffirmed the complementary nature of the bilateral trade relationship, with our Free Trade Agreement at its ...
    7 days ago
  • Prime Minister Luxon acknowledges legacy of Singapore Prime Minister Lee
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon today paid tribute to Singapore’s outgoing Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.   Meeting in Singapore today immediately before Prime Minister Lee announced he was stepping down, Prime Minister Luxon warmly acknowledged his counterpart’s almost twenty years as leader, and the enduring legacy he has left for Singapore and South East ...
    1 week ago
  • PMs Luxon and Lee deepen Singapore-NZ ties
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon held a bilateral meeting today with Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. While in Singapore as part of his visit to South East Asia this week, Prime Minister Luxon also met with Singapore President Tharman Shanmugaratnam and will meet with Deputy Prime Minister Lawrence Wong.  During today’s meeting, Prime Minister Luxon ...
    1 week ago
  • Antarctica New Zealand Board appointments
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has made further appointments to the Board of Antarctica New Zealand as part of a continued effort to ensure the Scott Base Redevelopment project is delivered in a cost-effective and efficient manner.  The Minister has appointed Neville Harris as a new member of the Board. Mr ...
    1 week ago
  • Finance Minister travels to Washington DC
    Finance Minister Nicola Willis will travel to the United States on Tuesday to attend a meeting of the Five Finance Ministers group, with counterparts from Australia, the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.  “I am looking forward to meeting with our Five Finance partners on how we can work ...
    1 week ago
  • Pet bonds a win/win for renters and landlords
    The coalition Government has today announced purrfect and pawsitive changes to the Residential Tenancies Act to give tenants with pets greater choice when looking for a rental property, says Housing Minister Chris Bishop. “Pets are important members of many Kiwi families. It’s estimated that around 64 per cent of New ...
    1 week ago
  • Long Tunnel for SH1 Wellington being considered
    State Highway 1 (SH1) through Wellington City is heavily congested at peak times and while planning continues on the duplicate Mt Victoria Tunnel and Basin Reserve project, the Government has also asked NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) to consider and provide advice on a Long Tunnel option, Transport Minister Simeon Brown ...
    1 week ago

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