How’s that change coming? – Emigration

Written By: - Date published: 12:02 am, April 7th, 2010 - 16 comments
Categories: im/migration - Tags: , ,

You’ll remember that one of John Key’s big election platforms was emigration to Australia. Key said too many (white-skinned) Kiwis were going over to Aussie, with the logical collarary that this meant we had to bring in lots of (brown-skinned) non-Kiwis to replace them.

Key told us, the solution to this ‘problem’, as with just about any other problem you care to name, was tax cuts.

Well, tax cuts we had. Labour’s across the board cuts in October 2008 and National’s smaller ones targeted at the rich in April 2009 (that they had to partially cancelled because, as economic geniuses, they had missed that we were in the middle of a global recession). What happened to the number of Kiwis heading over the ditch?

Must have dried up, right? That Nice Mr Key promised.

Sorry kids. There was a brief decrease in net emigration that I’m betting was caused by the same factor that has lowered the number of people leaving their jobs to look for other work in New Zealand – ie. every bugger was afraid of not being able to get work. But Aussie’s labour market has recovered strongly and its wages are moving along nicely while New Zealand continues to lose jobs and wages stagnate.

Sure enough, emigration to Aussie is on the rise again. Just one more promise that Key couldn’t keep.

So why didn’t tax cuts solve the problem? Because tax cuts don’t matter. People don’t know how much tax they pay and tax cuts make a one-off minor increase to net income. They simply cannot compete with wages as a driver of behaviour. People were never going to Aussie because of taxes, they were going to better pay (and better weather).

As we’ve been saying all along, it’s a cyclical thing. When Kiwis are confident about their jobs here and see Aussie doing well, they take a punt on going over. When conditions are bad there, they stay at home. Now, conditions are bad here and good there, and Kiwis are heading over again.

16 comments on “How’s that change coming? – Emigration”

  1. gingercrush 1

    You’ll remember that one of John Key’s big election platforms was emigration to Australia. Apparantly too many (white-skinned) Kiwis were going over to Aussie, with the logical collarary that this meant we had to bring lots of (brown-skinned) non-Kiwis to replace them.

    Um no not really. But well done for showing us that underneath most of your illogical posts with crappy graphs is a racist. Your post actually might be really good. But I didn’t read it. Why would I when you come up with an appalling opening paragraph that speaks more about how you think than anything else.

    • Marty G 1.1

      i’m not the racist. I’m revealing the dog-whistle for those too blind to see.

      • mcflock 1.1.1


        If you give folk an excuse to switch off as soon as they read something, they don’t have have to spend all that effort finding loopholes and minor logical flaws and can get back to basking in the sunshine of our esteemed PM’s smile as soon as possible. 🙂

        Although the mixed metaphor of dog-whistles and blindness was a bit perplexing.

        Fine post BTW (dog-whistles notwithstanding) – I liked the way people came back for Xmas but the spike in emigration started in the New Year. Gotta love family values…

        • Marty G

          there aren’t many things my mate ginge wouldn’t do to avoid having to read 300 words. He’s not made of quarters of an hour, after all.

          oh, that explains the switches been dec and jan 🙂 I was trying to figure it out.

          • prism

            Think there is a Freudian slip on your graphs Marty – mitigation it looks like, instead of migration. Just checked dictionary for mitigate – to make or become less severe – that’s a clever F/slip.

            Gingercrush why don’t you process what you see. There are many people from other countries coming here, while born Kiwis are leaving. That’s a fact and stating it is not racist.

            Something I have noticed is that immigrants tend to be individualistic ambitious people (which makes sense as such people are the ones to make the effort to better their lives) but often they don’t have a sense of social commitment to others outside their family and community. They don’t like contributing to the social welfare system and would like to ignore and condemn the poor as in their own country. The Indian accountant in a press item who supported Labour till he was established then changed to National is perhaps an example of this.

            Immigrants often criticise our commitment to the Treaty as well, wishing to come here for the advantages of the country but trying to divest themselves of the responsibilities of citizens, so they can enjoy the fruits.

          • Armchair Critic

            The second graph might be showing that net migration is at its lowest at about the same time as a change in government.

    • Craig Glen Eden 1.2

      If you read the post you could comment GC , as you admit that you only read the first para its you that looks a bit silly. To label others when you haven’t even read the full text and call MG a racist is a bit over the top to say the least.

  2. spoken 2

    Collateral Murder

    5th April 2010 10:44 EST WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad — including two Reuters news staff.

    Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-site, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded.

  3. It must be hard for you Marty having such a statistic-fetish but not being able to find any stats to prove your point!

  4. The UK has had the same debate except their system is worse. The top tax rate is 50% and on top of this there are also NHS charges and other charges.

    The Guardian’s George Monbiot has a wonderful column about this issue. It starts off as follows:

    “It’s a bitter blow. When the government proposed a windfall tax on bonuses and a 50p top rate of income tax, thousands of bankers and corporate executives promised to leave the country and move to Switzerland. Now we discover that the policy has failed: the number of financiers applying for a Swiss work permit fell by 7% last year. The government must try harder to rid this country of its antisocial elements.

    Executive flight is the corporate world’s only effective form of self-regulation: those who are too selfish to pay what they owe to society send themselves into voluntary exile. It’s an act of self-sacrifice for which we should all be grateful. It’s hard on the Swiss, but there’s a kind of mortal justice here too: if you sustain a crooked system of banking secrecy and tax avoidance, you end up with a country full of crooks and tax avoiders.’

    The article is at

    Given our top rate is lower than the UK’s market forces would suggest that there should have been a flood of executives to NZ. I can’t recall seeing any such flood. I wonder what it means?

  5. side show bob 5

    Why are people going to Aussie?, It’s pretty simple, Shonkey believes he can deliver a socialist NZ and all will be well. He’s got it wrong, this country is crying out for freedom not more regulation (EFS) or (social justice) short for socialism..This country cries out for freedom not government.

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