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Immigration and economic growth

Written By: - Date published: 8:16 am, June 14th, 2017 - 54 comments
Categories: economy, im/migration, labour, national - Tags: , , ,

National’s go-to response to anything that Labour suggests is scaremongering. Case in point:

English says Labour’s immigration ‘breather’ would stall momentum in the economy

Prime Minister Bill English’s strenuous opposition to Labour’s proposed “breather” in immigration draws a clear battle-line in the election.

English also said the cut would stall the momentum in the economy which was producing 10,000 new jobs every month.

I’m not sure that English has thought this through, because all it does highlight our fundamental weakness.

New Zealand’s economic growth driven almost exclusively by rising population

New Zealand’s economic growth is barely keeping up with the speed at which the population is growing, amid a slowdown in the primary sector.

But while the construction industry is expanding at speed, economists said almost all of the growth was being driven by population growth, currently at a 40 year high, boosted by record immigration. …

National are such “great” economic managers that per capita growth is anemic, the illusion of growth is just an increasing population. It’s not such a great plan.

Record migration boosts growth short term, but will it make NZ richer?

But the growing population comes with pains, from the need to increase infrastructure spending to added pressure on the housing market, especially in Auckland where prices have surged.

While economists largely agree that a rising population boosts short term demand, some warn it shifts resources away from investment which will boost long term prosperity, towards simply coping with the pressures of a growing population. …

Thanks for bringing this to our attention Bill. Labour is focusing on abuses of student visas, with increases in other sectors such as the “Kiwibuild visa” for construction. If that is able to cripple us, then what kind of economy do we have after 9 long years?

https://twitter.com/andykirton/status/874714404935221248

54 comments on “Immigration and economic growth”

  1. Keith 1

    Is it not amazingly remarkable that the whole open the flood gates on migration unofficial policy was a very deliberate well planned but well hidden policy. And there is lies how the National Party business works.

    All those bums on seats have to live somewhere. Calling all investors, we will provide you tenants you can shit all over and use as competition to up rents.

    The Nat’s knew damned well that these migrants have an element of pure desperation wanting residency and all are supremely exploitable. And best of all they give the illusion of growth vis-a-vis National look masterly at economic management.

    None of this was an accident but it absolutely stinks of get rich quick for the few from its inception. But long term it is very damaging.

    I can’t ever recall National going to the voters to say, “In the Brighter Future we will bring in lots and lots of supermarket and Warehouse shelf stackers, bus drivers, Uber Cab drivers, actually any cab driver, kitchen hands and any other menial shitty low paid job you care to name to increase the labour pool competition to drive down wages and expectations or at least freeze them”. No wonder they have to artificially raise wages via the minimum wage. Things were looking bad if not.

    I didn’t receive the manifesto that told us that to do so we would crank up a dodgy education industry to allow such low skills into NZ by way of student visa’s.

    Maybe because Joyce and his fellow schemers in National realised it may actually look bad if New Zealanders realised what they were up to!

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      I can’t ever recall National going to the voters to say, “In the Brighter Future we will bring in lots and lots of supermarket and Warehouse shelf stackers, bus drivers, Uber Cab drivers, actually any cab driver, kitchen hands and any other menial shitty low paid job you care to name to increase the labour pool competition to drive down wages and expectations or at least freeze them”.

      Like John Banks, National would never get elected if it actually told people their policies.

    • AB 1.2

      Yes – I see a lot of these students as part of my work. It seems to me that:
      a.) the whole thing is a cynical, integrated exploitation machine. With a combination of predatory pricing (immigration consultants and private tertiary institutions) and creating market pressure – rents up for landlords, wages down for employers – there is a lot of money to be made. And the students who don’t get work and residency at the end can be booted out and a fresh lot will come in every year.
      b.) It’s the next stage of outsourcing. Those high- personal interaction jobs in customer service and hospitality that unlike (say) IT can’t be outsourced to India – you solve the problem by bringing India and China here. ‘Domestic outsourcing’ if you like.
      The whole thing is ugly and greedy enough to have come straight from the mind of Stephen Joyce.

  2. tc 2

    Such great managers they’ve allowed our waterways to be poisoned, our state highways to degrade for holiday highways, gutted education and health, not addressed their last efforts (leaky homes), left ships, cities and people to decay as a shining monument to their beloved market, flogged the money spinning state assets, screwed akl etc.

    Games up and Bill knows it, watch them continue gutting and passing legislation to make the next govts job even tougher.

  3. Keith 3

    In fact when you look at Nationals economic management model, it is quite chilling.

    Essentially the masses are thrown into a pit to fight it out. The wealthy stand back, cream the labour market competition and get richer whilst everyone competes and struggles to make any headway in life. By tipping in an endless supply of third world labour they can keep this going for years to come. Third world people kept third world by the very wealthy who manipulate this country.

    Hence we work more and more hours in NZ but we as a nation remain stubbornly unproductive in comparison to countries who have do not have far right governments

    • garibaldi 3.1

      Dead right Keith. Along with that are the problems of crowded roads, struggling infrastructure, extra stress on health and education …. the list goes on and on.
      Nationals economic management model is an uncontrolled disaster.

  4. Louis 4

    But when Bill English had his Finance Minister hat on he implied immigration was not a main driver of GDP like others were saying, now with his Prime Minister hat on in an election year he is now saying it is. Is this right or have I got it completely wrong?

    • Gabby 4.1

      Maybe an opposition MP with a modicum of gumption could ask a question in the House to clarify this.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 4.2

      If there’s one good thing about an absolute monarchy, it’s that being a minister lying to the queen will get you executed.

      • Stuart Munro 4.2.1

        Saudi’s environmental legislation is strangely effective for that reason. Jared Diamond made similar observations about Haiti.

  5. BM 5

    There was 130,000 international student fee paying enrollments back in 2003, why does Labour have a problem with international students now and not back then?

    After the GFC and Christchurch earthquake, international student numbers dropped right off, we’re actually finally back to the levels that we were at 14 years ago.

    https://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/statistics/international-education/international-students-in-new-zealand

    • Keith 5.1

      Even if that number was correct, there were strict controls on working whilst on a student visa. National made all that silliness go away and bingo, a cheap work force is born!

      • BM 5.1.1

        What changes were made Keith?

        • Keith 5.1.1.1

          http://www.visabureau.com/newzealand/news/24-03-2009/nz-student-visa-hodlers-to-get-relaxed-work-permit-regulations.aspx

          2009. The bullshit line from Dr Coleman at the time was we had to do this to remain “competitive with Australia”. Even by Nationals low standards for honesty thats a fucking whopper!

          They had it planned long before they got elected in 2008 would be my educated guess!

          • BM 5.1.1.1.1

            So the issue isn’t so much the numbers of students it’s the fact they can work here while they study?

            Just reading your link this line stuck out.

            Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman has indicated that English-language New Zealand student visa holders could possibly have regulations lifted that are stopping them from getting a work permit in New Zealand.

            Currently, holders of the New Zealand student visa studying English need to pass language tests in order to gain a New Zealand student work permit.

            How many students are here studying English, all of them, half of them?

            Maybe the thinking was if they’re mingling with everyday Kiwis they’ll pick up a more natural form of English,? which will make an NZ course more valuable in the eyes of a potential overseas student?

            • McFlock 5.1.1.1.1.1

              Well, yes, the fact “students” can work here stacking shelves while waiting to qualify for residency does seem to be the objective of the immigration scams.

              Aren’t you worried that the pm seems to believe that if we stop importing berry pickers and shelf stackers we’d risk falling into recession? Such precarious economic management….

              • Bill

                Can I quietly suggest you read Labour’s policy with regards bringing in foreign workers for seasonal jobs?

                Because if you do, you might wonder at what the difference is between international students who are already here ‘picking berries’ and specifically bringing people in from overseas to pick berries.

                And while you’re wondering about it, you might want to do it against the backdrop of why Labour says it’s cutting immigration back – stresses and strains on infrastructure and services.

                It (Labour’s policy) doesn’t stack up McFlock.

                edit – If there are courses that just a sham, why isn’t Labour simply saying it will shut those courses down?

                • McFlock

                  Had a skim through it: firstly, people being imported to pick berries will be subject to closer controls as to whether there is a genuine shortage of berry-pickers, or whether it’s just because the employer is offering shit conditions.

                  Secondly, student visas tightened up to bachelor level and TEC recognised. So if NZ students want to study unapproved things, cool, but if the course is a token for the the paperwork, it needs to be substantive.

                  Thirdly, tightening up post-study residency. Fair call.

                  fourthly: worker scarcities would be judged with a finer, more regional grain.

                  fifthly: unfortunately, sham courses don’t advertise themselves as such. Technically it would be immigration fraud, but good luck getting them to put that on the course prospectus. So there isn’t a magic wand to just “shut those courses down”.

                  • Bill

                    The point was that banning students from taking up work while importing people to undertake seasonal work is incongruous with the stated claim about the immigration policy being about tackling population pressures on infrastructure and services.

                    • McFlock

                      Whereas I think it’s a more nuanced approach than you’re giving it credit for.

                      It doesn’t necessarily ban students from taking up work, but it markedly restricts the eligibility of students to come here in the first place, and makes it more difficult to qualify for immigration just because they’ve been studying here a while.

                      It doesn’t renegotiate international obligations, but it does make it more difficult for employers to claim that they can’t find the staff and import workers at a lower rate.

                    • Bill

                      Unless the work is shown to be course related, it can’t be undertaken. And study doesn’t qualify anyone for residency or whatever at the moment.

                      On the broader work front (employers using immigrants to undercut or hold back wages and conditions) over-haul employment law, or all that will happen is that unemployed people will be ‘coerced’ into taking work that is low paid with crap conditions.

            • Stuart Munro 5.1.1.1.1.2

              There’s a little more to it than that.

              We are a democracy, and in spite of decades of neoliberal incursions, the incumbents and their vile MSM nodding dogs and their anti-social media trolls (that’s you BM 😀 ) have not entirely succeeded in stifling the concept of representative democracy.

              Now, when it comes to the suddenly very high and problematic levels of immigration, did we ask for this? Is there a constituency mandate? Did any party honestly stand on a platform of massive or uncontrolled immigration? If not it is clearly illegitimate before we even look at the deleterious effects on employment, housing, and or the vicious and sustained swindling of foreign students and workers.

              This is grounds to clap our worthless fake government in jail and never let the bastards out. Who the fuck do they think they are, playing tiddlywinks with the public franchise? They need a firm message to buck up, remember who you are sworn to serve, and grow a fucking brain.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Lock them up! Lock them up! Lock them…

                No, wait…

                • Stuart Munro

                  We need this guy to reform the Gnats

                  Knox – who is probably the origin of our form of parliamentary democracy was not remotely tolerant of the peccadilloes of self-styled rulers.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    The citizens of a democracy don’t ‘have the right’ to depose a corrupt autocratic government, they have a duty to do so.

              • Philj

                Stuart, “We are a democracy” This is a bold statement.
                Can you provide backing for this claim. IMO our so called demockary has morphed into something different. Voting every 3 years does not a Dumocruptcy make. Otherwise, couldn’t agree more with you. +1

    • Molly 5.2

      …”why does Labour have a problem with international students now and not back then?”

      I don’t know about Labour, but I did. As the funding for education continually went down in real terms, the reliance on overseas students fees went up. This essentially allowed successive governments to continue underfunding the education sector. This indicates how little value is placed on educating our own.

    • Carolyn_nth 5.3

      There has been a steady increase in the numbers of international students in NZ since 2008:

      Chart here:

      The stats of transition to work by overseas students in NZ show more change than the numbers of students, or kind of institutions they enrolled in.

      The has been a steady increase in students who were enrolled in private educational establishments, who then transitioned to work in NZ since 2006.

      The greatest proportion of overseas students transitioning to work in NZ were enrolled in Polytechnics. The numbers of overseas uni students transitioning to work in NZ has declined since 2007.

    • Chch_chiquita 5.4

      “why does Labour have a problem with international students now and not back then?”
      Oh, I don’t know. Perhaps because a big chunk of current Labour MPs were not MPs back then or not in a position to influence policy and they think that was a mistake and things need to be done differently now? Maybe because they looked at the combination with no proper investment in infrastructure and realized this is hurting us?

      • BM 5.4.1

        Didn’t seem to be affecting us that badly 14 years ago?

        • Draco T Bastard 5.4.1.1

          Probably was but we didn’t have the stats available at that time as we do now.

        • SpaceMonkey 5.4.1.2

          Or a critical mass hadn’t been reached for the numbers to be a problem, i.e. we had capacity in our infrastructure to support them.

        • Ch_ch chiquita 5.4.1.3

          Are you suggesting we should ignore how it’s affectng us now because 14 years ago?

    • Draco T Bastard 5.5

      There was 130,000 international student fee paying enrollments back in 2003, why does Labour have a problem with international students now and not back then?

      Perhaps they’ve learned a thing or two since then. Like just how much the system is being rorted and students abused through it.

      • BM 5.5.1

        If the students are being abused why do they still come here? why is the education sector not declining?

        Sure some get ripped off but so do born and bred kiwis, that’s just life, bad people doing bad things, been like that since civilisation started.

        • Draco T Bastard 5.5.1.1

          If the students are being abused why do they still come here?

          You mean Why do people not know when they’re being ripped off and abused?

          Psychology tells us that it’s extremely difficult to tell when we’re being taken for a ride:

          Most people believe that they are pretty good at knowing when other people are lying. But research clearly shows that people are notoriously bad at detecting others’ lies. Even the very best lie detectors are only slightly better than chance (despite what might have been portrayed on the show Lie to Me).

          why is the education sector not declining?

          Because the majority of foreign students aren’t being ripped off?
          Because those that are being ripped off don’t don’t realise it until after they get here?
          Because the fact that people are being ripped off by unscrupulous operators has only recently come to light?

        • Psycho Milt 5.5.1.2

          If the students are being abused why do they still come here?

          Why do people in Third World countries want to emigrate to First World ones? Seriously?

        • The New Student 5.5.1.3

          Yo BM are you kidding me?

          Because some bad people have always done bad things, we should all just shut the hell up and take it?

          NO. I refuse.

          These are all real people who have lives and livelihoods. There is no excuse for New Zealand’s continued exploitation of their hopes and dreams.
          We all must take steps to make this right.
          For a start, we can vote for a Government that will put a stop to this shameful racket.
          Vote for a Government that will refrain from the privatising our education system.
          Vote for a Government that refuses to view education as an “export industry”.

          Reminds me – I had better go write that submission on the Education (Tertiary Education and Other Matters) Amendment Bill

    • bwaghorn 5.6

      clark wasn’t any different from the nats , Mr Little appears to be a different beast altogether,

    • Poission 5.7

      After the GFC and Christchurch earthquake, international student numbers dropped right off,

      In Chch international student numbers dropped 40% (still not recovering by 2016)

      Employment increased and underemployment decreased especially for low skilled workers,wages increased in chch compared with AK and the rest of nz and as replacement stock for housing came on stream both rents and house prices have fallen.

      http://www.rbnz.govt.nz/-/media/ReserveBank/Files/Publications/Bulletins/2016/2016feb79-3.pdf

      makes a good case study for why the economic arguments by the NP do not meet reality.

    • Johan 5.8

      BM, Is that the same as 130,000 international fee paying students?

  6. dv 6

    10,000 new jobs a month
    120,000 new jobs a year.

    Yeah right!!

  7. ianmac 7

    Kate Davis above: “When only migrant students are prepared to do a job, the problem is the job.”
    Every interview showing hospitality owners decrying their labour force, I thought what about wages and conditions mate.
    I would have thought you build a business by working with the available market and your means to staff/pay/conditions etc. Not by extending beyond your means.

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      Businesses love applying ‘the market’ to the workers but they cry blue murder when it’s applied to them.

  8. Ad 8

    The big economic indicators coming out tomorrow will be a major direction for this 2017 election.

    If National can continue to show that there is dynamism and population growth, strength in multiple sectors such as milk, wine, tourism, horticulture, and construction, sustained low unemployment, and an impression that we are keeping busy – even if none of us are getting pay rises – then there is very little room for the entire Opposition to get traction on.

    If on the other hand the Opposition particularly Labour said “we will ensure that you all get a pay rise” by shrinking the low-level labour pool, increasing the minimum wage dramatically, and altering income tax rates dramatically, then they would have a strong message.

    Most analysts are predicting sustained 3% GDP growth.

  9. Cinny 9

    The public aren’t buying the outgoing PM’s spin. The reason being they live and see a different world than he does, the facts are right in their faces and no amount of words from the blue team will change their views on how mass immigration changes an unprepared nation.

    Ali Mau interviewed Paul Gold-Smith about the student visa/immigration issues yesterday, he came across to me as a bumbling fool on the subject, was surprised considering he appears rather ‘together’ in the house.

  10. Anthony Rimell 10

    Perhaps the most damning indictment of National’s failed policy is that leaders from the migrant community I’ve spoken are fully supportive of Labour’s plans. They too believe that the use of overseas students as a commodity has done nothing for them, nothing for the economy, and nothing for those people with essential skills who have wanted to come to New Zealand.

    Indeed, these comments from migrant business leaders show that they understand it isn’t a racist policy (as some in the twiteratti are claiming it to be), but an essential common sense one.

  11. Philj 11

    This government is reckless and its position on immigration wreaks the future for many years to come. I have also spoken with migrants who wanted to limit immigration.

  12. saveNZ 12

    Bill English, sore loser!

    • ianmac 12.1

      I think Bill should sit down with PM May and get her to advise him on how to win an Election and follow her advice!

  13. greg 13

    if you read the book the fire economy its worse NZ is hollow debt driven shell
    the brighter future is a bad joke national has done bugger all in 9 long years
    now we are dependent on massive immigration inflows to keep the houses of cards afloat.
    bullshit bill should be honest and tell the new Zealand people the true ugly state of the economy. like everything else nacts do its an illusion.
    http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2015/07/14/the-fire-economy/

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    Decades of dedication to Aotearoa’s unique birds, landscapes, and native eels is recognised in the New Year 2020 Honours List said Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage. “I’m delighted that the decades of dedication to conservation, and fantastic leadership in giving nature a helping hand is being acknowledged,” said Eugenie Sage. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago