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Migration

Written By: - Date published: 7:17 am, June 14th, 2016 - 32 comments
Categories: Economy, im/migration - Tags:

National did their typical thing yesterday and belatedly and half-heartedly moved vaguely in the right direction when put under enough pressure; hoping to go just far enough to keep enough people on side.  Raising the refugee quota to 1000 wasn’t enough and it was good to see them called on it. (It’ll be interesting to see if they give some sop towards Paid Parental Leave to excuse themselves when they – in an unprecedented & undemocratic move – veto Sue Moroney’s Bill before it’s read on Wednesday.)

But what about immigration in general?

I love migrants, and the diversity they add to our country (and we’re all migrants from not that far back…), but we need to slow it down to a rate that we can cope with, that we can build infrastructure for.

We’re at levels unknown in the rest of the OECD.  Net 1.5% of our population arrived last year.  Britain is feeling stretched and complaining with less than half that rate!

We’re adding 800 Aucklanders each week to a housing crisis.  Huge amounts more cars each week to Auckland’s transport problems.  Auckland Council is groaning under all the newly needed development cost (putting water, roads & drainage ever further out) – and, as central government keeps power and purse-strings closely held, the Council wonders how to pay for it.

To National, they see the housing crisis as no problem – how many (paper) millionaires have they created through the Housing Bubble?!  Surely those newly ‘wealthy’ Aucklanders will vote for them?!  (If this fails, blame Auckland Council!  Central government may hold most of the levers, but surely it’s the Council’s fault for not freeing land fast enough?)

Last year our GDP growth was near top of the OECD, another thing for them to crow about.  As long as no-one digs too deep and realises that the GDP growth was pretty much entirely population growth, and wasn’t making any of us richer per capita.  (Indeed with inequality growth, a lot of us were poorer…).

So National feel no need to slow the flow of migration, it makes them look good.  We have a points system that is easily adjustable to control how many we have coming in, but, unlike all previous governments, this is yet another lever this laissez-faire government refuses to put its hands on.  Like Housing, employment, etc “the market will sort it out.”

Bernard Hickey’s piece on Sunday was excellent.

Here we learnt that a large chunk of our migration is now short-term “essential skills” visas, and students.  But what are those “essential skills”?

• Chef 2283

• Dairy cattle farmer 1596

• Cafe/restaurant manager 975

• Retail manager (general) 924

• Carpenter 901

• Dairy cattle farm worker 806

• Retail supervisor 797

• Aged or disabled carer 731

• Truck driver (general) 401

• Registered nurse (aged care)372

So it would appear Andrew Little’s remark about training our own chefs wasn’t so silly…  And how can we need to be importing dairy cattle farmers?  It’s what we do!

Cafe/restaurant & retail managers and supervisors?  These are not essential skills.  We surely can source them here.

Aged care, farm workers and truck drivers are being imported to keep Kiwi workers’ wages down.  Aged care pays just above minimum wage and it should pay a lot more.  If you’re one firm though, you’ll see it as: import foreign labour, or not be able to compete on price with other providers.  If the Government makes you employ Kiwis… well, wages will rise.  But this government’s quite happy to skew the market against the workers.

Carpenter – well we need carpenters and there may well be a shortfall in skills.  But then this government’s been in power for 8 long years and really could have turned out quite a few apprentices in that time.  Remember that earthquake in Christchurch?  You’d have thought they’d make a big push for upskilling Kiwis in the trades after that, but, well…  Y’know, the market will provide…

Y’know, that market that’s working so well for Auckland housing right now…

32 comments on “Migration”

  1. vto 1

    Employers that claim they cannot get enough workers need to up their game.

    They need to pay rates which will attract supply for their work in the free market. Instead they undermine the entire country by importing slave labour for the farms, the orchards, the restaurants in Queenstown, on it goes ….

    Employers like this are free market failures.

    That includes most all of the dairy industry…. bunch of pussies unable to stand up to it. Weak.

    • mary_a 1.1

      @ vto (1) … + 100

      You state … “Employers like this are free market failures.”

      True.

      Such employers are also free market bullies. Not only the slave pay rates they offer, but also the appalling conditions workers are expected to work under, such as unreasonable hours, no breaks etc, combined with on occasion, late or no payment of wages!

      I thought NZ had labour laws to protect workers. Obviously not it seems, otherwise a decent caring government would enforce fair employment law!

      Another point is the importation of foreign labour should be stopped, while there are Kiwi workers unemployed who need jobs, many of whom are skilled! And what’s the matter with the government having these unemployed NZers work government contracts, instead of bringing in overseas contract workers to do the work?

    • Once was Tim 1.2

      Couldn’t agree with you more @vto.
      There are some absolutely appalling cases of ‘slave labour’ that the Labour Inspectorate is only now lifting its game with.
      Now that we’ve (the gubbamint) created this mess however, we cannot simply give the immigrants we’ve allowed here the boot – as I imagine many would like to do.

      We’ve fucked up on apprenticeships and are reliant on immigration in the short to medium term.

      We’ve fucked up on orchardists. IF for example MPI again messed up on border control and the PSA virus was to get through again, the Kiwi fruit industry would utterly collapse were it not for the predominantly Sikh community in the Bay of Plenty. (The expertise now exists with predominantly Sikh operators to be able to EXPEDIENTLY and quickly deal with the problem – and even to a lesser extent, expertise rests with them in things like grading, etc.)

      We’ve fucked up on farming and getting people into that sector with good wages and conditions.

      Immigration has been used by many to drive down wages and working conditions (including things we now occasionally see in the media – such as people effectively being paid $4 per hour; or others living in tin sheds that I’ve personally witnessed; or people 6 to a room).

      We need to begin now, but not over-react to those ALREADY here and being treated as slaves. We now also OWE these immigrants we’ve treated like shite!
      We’ve created an education ‘industry’, whereby international students have often been promised the world, only to find courses are near bloody useless, and things like ‘work experience’ on graduation turn out to be total shite. We should be ensuring these international students actually get what they paid for (often their parents have begged, borrowed and mortgaged the shack to send their children here on ‘mis-sold’ education ‘industry’ promises). Some I know have resorted to prostitution and most ‘feel’ obligated to repay their parents debt because they think they’ve had the priviledge of coming here.

      And I agree that cafe managers, and so on do not require ‘immigrant’ labour (this sector is often the frikken worst at ripping off employees), but when I go to an Indian restaurant (or Chinese for that matter), I would hope to see an Indian in some way in charge of the proceedings, but also with local/indigenous employment of other staff members.

      This gubbamint really has created an unholy mess of things and I suspect it was intentional – I can’t figure out any other reason for Mr Joyce’s absolute Bugger’s Muddle of a Munstry (MoBIE) that cobbles together such disparate entities such as Immigration, economic development, the labour inspectorate, and buidling and housing.

      • The New Student 1.2.1

        “We need to begin now, but not over-react to those ALREADY here and being treated as slaves. We now also OWE these immigrants we’ve treated like shite!”

        Hear hear. Absolutely. In a similar vein to what Infused says and like I said before, WE are the problem. We have all contributed in some way (stupid investments, blind consumerism, not standing up for our own rights let alone for those of vulnerable people and probably all sorts of stuff) so we all need to help fix it. Government has the biggest responsibility but we all have our part to play too.

    • Infused 1.3

      Hard to pay those rates when the customers are going for bottom dollar. You don’t really get it.

      You as consumers have caused this problem.

      NZ is a 3rd world country in this regard, we just don’t acknowledge it.

      • Once was Tim 1.3.1

        “NZ is a 3rd world country in this regard, we just don’t acknowledge it.”
        Absolutely true! There are tea pickers in supposed “3rd World” countries I’ve seen treated with more respect.
        You’re providing Paul with all the ammunition he needs in his daily claims. Thanks for the acknowledgment.
        The pretense and hypocrisy just astounds me at times, although I don’t imagine it’ll change any time soon whilst we constantly preoccupy ourselves with our ‘wants’ rather than our ‘needs’, and until the shit really hits the fan and we realise the I I I me me me/minimalist under-resourced-supposedly-representative gubbamint culture wasn’t such a good idea.
        Actually, as we know – that’s a favourite neo-liberal minded trick (e.g. you under-fund and under resource things like the Labour Inspectorate, or the Ombudsman’s Office, or front line MPI staff, or even front line CYFS THEN WONDER WHY even the staunchest of Natzi suppotas, such as Paul Henry or Peddy Gear start having a go at you over refugees, or the housing ‘CRISIS’ – yes ….. C R I S I S)

      • Draco T Bastard 1.3.2

        You as consumers have caused this problem.

        Nope. The ‘free-market’ BS has caused it fully by undermining wages in NZ through the use of skilled labour elsewhere in the world that are paid far less in working conditions that are quite simply illegal in NZ. In other words, NZ workers can’t actually compete because it’s not actually a level playing field. This seems to be the desired result of this government so that they can force wages down even further – As John Key said that he wanted.

        The low wages then force people to shop on price causing an even further degradation in wages both in NZ and overseas.

        Our present policies are causing the increasing poverty that we see around the world and in NZ.

      • vto 1.3.3

        Infused, not even close to worthy of a response

  2. vto 2

    It is quite clear that John Key and Bill English have opened the immigration taps in order to jolly up the economy and retain power in Parliament.

    It is as simple as that.

    They care not the implications

    • mickysavage 2.1

      Yep their whole economic strategy is cheap labour for their farmer mates and a binge on home prices by allowing increased immigration.

      This is a strategy that is bound to end in tears.

      • vto 2.1.1

        Yes it is already in tatters as a strategy for our fair lands and good people.

        But as a strategy for retaining Parliamentary power it is going to work. The only thing to stop them will be some random sideswipe from unknown quarters, or house price falls.

        It is all about house prices this next election. John Key knows it and doesn’t care on bit.

        John Key does not care.

      • Pat 2.1.2

        don’t forget the inward flow of foreign funds….we don’t need to earn our way (we can behave like a vulture fund) and then borrow the rest……imagine our exchange/growth rate without those inflows.

      • Ad 2.1.3

        Agreed, and hopefully ends in tears under the current government rather than the next one.

  3. Sabine 3

    Shop Supervisors? Are we now saying that in NZ we have a shortage of Shop Supervisors, or only a shortage of Shop Supervisors that refuse to work seven day a week on min wage?
    Same for the Retail Managers – really? Cafe Managers? Fucking really?

    Frankly that is bullshite.

    • vto 3.1

      Yes Sabine, that is exactly it. Exactly it.

      The free-market-loving business owners, employers, and National Party do not operate under the free market one little bit. They can’t foot it. They are weak. They are unable to attract people with their business model and so instead rely on government intervention and effectively slave labour.

      They have extremely poor business models.

      • dukeofurl 3.1.1

        They will be working in dairies and small shops.

        Its part of the immigration game where people who are often graduates take these positions in ethnic owned businesses to get residency visa. The other type of employer is the fast food industry.

        • Sabine 3.1.1.1

          And there is no reason to be on the Skill Migration list.
          IF it is to simply employ of the same ethnicity they can look in NZ. I am sure that we have enough People born of all ethnic back grounds here in NZ that could fill these positions.

          These jobs should NOT be on the Skilled Migrants list. Full stop.

          • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1.1

            I’d expect skilled to mean has a three year degree or better that cannot be gained in NZ.

            • Stuart Munro 3.1.1.1.1.1

              In fact skilled wages need to be supported too. So you did a bachelors in social work or engineering – you need to pay off the student fees somehow, not be shelved while cheaper foreign graduates eat your lunch.

  4. Greg 4

    National get a lot of self backslapping from rubber stamping work visa’s, they claim it as part of their job creation (no real effort) policy.
    Immigration is a known economic factor in keeping unskilled wages low, its now evidenced and undeniable as National policy. Migrants competing for minimal wage jobs clearly show Nationals high skilled immigration policy is a failure, or worse, a fraud.
    You can bet employers are signing work visa employees to Kiwisaver to get the $400 fee for it, how isnt this a fraud. It should be a easy number to quantify with IRD rejected or withdrawn applications.

  5. M. Gray 5

    So much for bringing in highly skilled labour what a load of bull-shert I went to the New World store in Lower Hutt it was full of Indian workers these are jobs that could be filled with NZers. We all know who is benefitting go to your petrol stations, bottle stores, supermarkets, shops and call centres and who is working in these jobs ? mostly foreigners very sad what this Government is doing to our country and our people.

    • Rodel 5.1

      Went to hospital A&E some time ago . Nearly every doctor and many of the nurses etc. were immigrants. Was very glad they’re here in NZ…..just saying….

      I remember a skinhead in trouble some years ago who complained that just once he’d like to buy his fish ‘n chips from someone who wasn’t a ‘chink’. An unpleasant fellow he was.

      • Puckish Rogue 5.1.1

        He should get out more, plenty around the more rural areas of Otago and Southland so I’m sure its similar in the rural areas of the North Island

        • b waghorn 5.1.1.1

          I Havn’t had a nz born go for over 11 years. Which I’m cool with , it would be nice if I got to have the same doctor for more than a year though.

  6. Lanthanide 6

    in an unprecedented & undemocratic move

    There’s nothing “undemocratic” about it. They are exercising one of the powers of government – a government that was democratically elected.

    As part of the reform that allows private members bills to commit the government to financial expenditure, the government was given the right to veto such spending bills.

    Until that reform was in place, Sue Moroney’s bill wouldn’t have even been allowed to be added into the ballot, let alone drawn and voted on.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      They were elected to do their best for the good of the country Lanth.

      Anything else is a misuse of the power that they have been democratically given.

      • Lanthanide 6.1.1

        If that’s the case, then practically every government in the history of the world has misused their power.

        Anyway, that doesn’t refute anything, because they think what is best for the country is to use the money elsewhere.

  7. Colonial Viper 7

    Are we finally at the stage of admitting that Auckland’s population growth is one major driver (and there are others) of Auckland’s housing shortage.

  8. save nz 8

    Great post – this is an issue that needs a lot of debate in NZ. From what I can work out we have gone from a ‘can do’, ‘ DIY’ ‘moral’ culture to this helpless, get someone else to do our work and someone can cream off a bit from someones cheap labour and a punishment culture. And I don’t think the majority of NZ’ers want this.

    When the finance minister calls youth ‘pretty hopeless’ as workers after Kiwis being known for being ‘hard workers’ previously on the OE type experiences, something is very wrong.

    Neoliberalism has robbed us more than previously thought. Not just cutting off the younger generation from housing but also from being able to get a part time job and learn valuable skills, able to study without incurring eye watering debt by the age of 22, being able to travel and flat with others (increasingly youth have to keep living at home and thus not really having to cope with bills, living with others and budgeting) and finally getting a first job with security and prospects. In effect government policy over the last 30 years is stunting the next generation of growing up and feeling that they have a stake in our country.

    To cover this problem, the government is importing in people to do the jobs the younger generation should be doing, increasing the problems for youth and creating a massive problem for our social security. At the same time other governments like Britain are tightening up immigration for so what a decade ago was available to Kiwi young adults in the acquisition of new skills via the OE experience is now going.

    The answer is to ditch these low skilled immigration jobs completely and start getting back to training our own people in building, engineering, labouring, technology, creative capital and agriculture.

    There should be a criteria like Australia where only committed people who are successful can come into our country and get citizenship. You should have to employ at least 2 New Zealanders and make at least $50,000 in taxable profit to be able to live here.

    There should be no property investment allowed as this is a closed system for NZ. Instead it should be about exporting and networking and having a collaboration with mutual countries benefiting. The goal should be to provide high value jobs in NZ. i.e. instead of selling our forests and getting nothing, the goal should be for skilled migrants to invest money into creating high value products from our logs and then export the high value products using their contacts in their home country.

    For those migrants getting citizenship they should have to commit to spending at least 5 months of the year in NZ to keep it.

    You should not be able to get migrant family in unless there are real circumstances for other family members to contribute to this country, (not just as unpaid baby sitters who then can then obtain welfare themselves).

    • red-blooded 8.1

      I think this post raises some strong thinking points. I would like to comment on a few matters where I think people have gone too far, though:

      “You should have to employ at least 2 New Zealanders and make at least $50,000 in taxable profit to be able to live here.” Hmm… So what happens in our hospitals and schools, then? Not too many doctors or physics teachers employ at least two people. And yes, I know we could argue that NZ should do more to target training and to keep our own young professionals, but that’s not the whole answer. NZers have always travelled and many spend a number of years living overseas. While they’re away, someone’s got to do the hip operations. And besides, let’s turn this around for a moment: are you saying you want a world in which no NZer can live in another country unless they meet these criteria? That only business owners should be allowed to emigrate? That seems a bit draconian to me.

      “You should not be able to get migrant family in unless there are real circumstances for other family members to contribute to this country, (not just as unpaid baby sitters who then can then obtain welfare themselves).” Again, pretty extreme. I’m very glad that my immigrant sister-in-law, for example, was able to raise her children here in NZ with her parents on hand. They immigrated to join her and her sister (also married to a NZer). Think of everything they, their daughters and their (NZ) grandchildren would have missed if they hadn’t been able to live here.

      Also, who said immigrants are “obtaining social welfare”? You have to live here for at least 10 years to get NZ Superannuation, for example, and other benefits have stand-down periods and depend to a large extent on reciprocal arrangements with other countries. Think about all the NZers who’ve been resident in Australia for many years but can’t get benefits or other basics like student loans. That’s (justifiably) been seen here as unfair for many years.

      Don’t let’s slip into seeing immigrants as lesser than others. The original post was careful not to do that, but not all comments have been.

      • save nz 8.1.1

        I think when citizens of our country are now living in cars and tents and youth are displaying ‘colonisation like’ symptoms of desperation, alcoholism, drug addiction, suicide, criminal behaviour, helplessness, dependancy and achieving below what most others have in this country – then it is time to stop the famous NZ hospitality and say we need to solve problems at home first rather than keeping the status quo going.

        Like climate change there is a tipping point where you continue to do something that is causing a lot of damage to environment/society – I think we have gone past that point already with immigration (something like 1.5% last year alone increase in population) and it is time to stop continuing the problems.

        It is not about blaming migrants – it is about caring for current citizens and valuing the unique culture that they have, no matter what ethnicity – rather than some sort of colonial destruction of a tiny nation being bought and sold on the international stage with it’s citizens being considered valueless and treated like pawns with it’s natural resources to be plundered.

        Supposedly we ‘learnt’ from the 19th and 20th century colonisation, but find that in the 21st century it has been replaced by a kind of plutocracy supported by Kleptocracy.

        At least that is what I feel the National ‘financial hub 0% tax havens and immigration policy” seems to mean.

        Like any ponzi scheme, neoliberalism is held up by the influx of new money and people. Immigration is keeping the illusion of wealth on NZ going, but cracks are growing wider each passing day.

        We need to stop papering over the cracks and start to address the structural integrity and value and preserve our nation’s identity before we turn into a Pacific version of South America.

        • red-blooded 8.1.1.1

          Do you seriously blame immigration for issues like youth depression, addiction and suicide? That’s ridiculous.

          I also note you haven’t addressed any of the points I raised in my comment.

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