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Only unsustainable net migration fuels “growth”

Written By: - Date published: 10:22 am, September 2nd, 2016 - 107 comments
Categories: accountability, im/migration, national, nz first, Politics, same old national, Social issues, wages - Tags:

In a world where the world’s overall population levels are steadily descending to steady or declining state, the National dipshits have decided to start a new growth industry. They importing unskilled people to extract their savings and using them to generate artificial heat in the economy and to slow wage growth. On the way through they’re also screwing the housing market.

Net permanent long-term migration Trend July 2016

The statistics July figures for migration are pretty disturbing. They show a sustained net growth of PLT (Permanent Long-Term migration) of over 69 thousand for the July year.  Now these aren’t the transient tourist or business. These are the people coming here for the long term, or kiwis flooding back.

Net migration is calculated from PLT arrivals less PLT departures. The larger gain in migrants in the July 2016 year compared with the July 2015 year was driven primarily by more arrivals. Migrant arrivals were 125,000 in the July 2016 year, up 7,900 (7 percent) from the July 2015 year, creating a new July-year record. New Zealand citizens returning to live in New Zealand accounted for one-quarter (30,700) of all migrant arrivals.

The increase in migrant arrivals between the June 2015 and June 2016 years was led by increases from China, South Africa, and Australia. There was a small decrease in migrant arrivals from India.

Migrant departures were 56,000 in the July 2016 year, down 1,500 (3 percent) from the July 2015 year. The decrease was driven by a fall in departures to Australia (down 1,300) between the two July years, as fewer New Zealand citizens migrated there.

Now about this point I’d expect various grades of blinded bigots to start screaming that I’m some kind of a racist – because if there is one thing that is consistent, it is the self-interested fools like to use that as a voice stopper. But lets see if they are capable of looking at the historical levels of net PLT migration first? Or even trying to figure out the basic economics that underlie the sustainable inwards migration.

This neat bit of analysis from Stats says

Each year, typically more Kiwis depart overseas than return after a year or more away, and more non-New Zealand citizens arrive here to stay for a year or more, than leave.

The flow of New Zealand citizens can be large, and at times significantly offset the net gain in non-New Zealand citizen migrants. For example, in the May 2012 year 22,400 Kiwis arrived back in New Zealand and 61,800 headed overseas for a year or more, creating a net loss of 39,400 Kiwis. In the same period, there was a net gain of 35,800 non-New Zealand citizens which was outweighed by the loss of Kiwis, creating a total net loss of 3,700 migrants.

But of course that isn’t what is happening now. We have had the dotted line showing the net loss of kiwis (mostly to aussie) get closer to parity.  But there has been a massive increase in permanent long-term immigration (the greenish line). And so both factors together have massively increased our net permanent and long-term migration to levels that we have never managed to historically sustain in NZ.

ann-net-permanent long term migration-86-16

Ok, so in the last 30 years we have averaged an extra 10 thousand odd extra people per year arriving into NZ. This is something like 0.2% per year. Historically it has been even lower, but as a proportion of the resident population it has seldom got higher than 0.3%

But since 2014 we haven’t dropped to less than 40 thousand net inwards migration.

Since 2013, we have been averaging something over 1.5% per year. and it shows little signs of falling. Right now it is looking like it is plateauing into National’s long-term trend.

Just to make it more difficult to adsorb them – most of them have landed and stayed in Auckland. They dropped into an already crowded Auckland housing and job markets.

There was bugger all building in Auckland after National’s 1990s  leaky building debacle started really hitting the courts in the mid-2000s. Combined with the effects of building resources moving south after the 2010/11 earthquakes in Christchurch and the predicted downstream effects of the National/Act’s 2010 ill-considered ad hoc plan for Auckland’s governance, it had already caused a overheated property market in Auckland.

Then we had a massive increase in net permanent long-term migration inwards. That in turn caused overseas investment money piling into the unregulated housing market, effectively pulling housing stock 

So why is the government deliberately raising net migration? Well you get pyramid scheme growth from it. It isn’t sustainable past the next election because we mostly aren’t getting people who can help grow the economy. We’re being lumped with large numbers of pretty low skilled service industry workers. See this opinion from Bernard Hickey for an overview

Immigration New Zealand awarded 209,461 work visas in the year to June 30 – up 23.5 per cent from two years ago.

The top 20 occupations for those visas show just four were in higher-skilled occupations. If those work visas weren’t awarded, the market would start to generate heat and increase wages at the low end.

That would encourage people to move within the economy, to new regions or into new occupations.

It would also encourage employers to find ways to make existing workers more productive to match those wages, including by improving training and management and investing in new technology. In the long run, an economy gets wealthier by improving productivity.

This is pretty basic Economics 101. You’d think that even a politician would understand the longer term economic costs of having poor quality immigration like baristas and chefs on our productivity growth over the longer term. But apparently these lazy arseholes in the National cabinet simply don’t care.

I guess after the National ministers saw their primitive economic ‘strategy’ based on milk powder flush away, that pile of incompetent dipshits in cabinet thought it’d save their sorry political arses.

Is anyone else thinking about voting for NZ First as a reaction?

We badly need to get below something like an average of 5000 net migration for most of the next decade just to catch up with the resources required for settling the people we have just acquired from National’s binge immigration. The one party whom I am absolutely sure would push that as a priority are NZ First. They are bloody useless in all of their other policy areas, but it is hard to see another area that is as costly as this one is right now.

Perhaps the other opposition parties should take note.

107 comments on “Only unsustainable net migration fuels “growth” ”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    We badly need to get below something like an average of 5000 net migration for most of the next decade just to catch up with the resources required for settling the people we have just acquired from National’s binge immigration.

    Personally, I’d go for a moratorium of about 5 years and then carefully open for immigration again. Make it so that only skills we don’t have in are allowed in and that those who do come are in teaching positions so that we can build those skills here.

    • yep and maybe we can send some back to where they came from – say if first generation without children – go back unless you can prove you aren’t a drain on fellow citizens or look too different. Perhaps even nullify citizenship from the last 10 years and send them back too.

      we can’t even grow enough to feed and look after our current citizens – it is time to be tough so that we can maintain our stuff.

      • left_forward 1.1.1

        I haven’t got a clue how you justify these ideas marty mars – or are you trying to be ironic?

      • lprent 1.1.2

        KInd of pointless. We cut off the immigration tap and the usual movements in and out of the country plus our declining birth rates will take care of the excess over a couple of years.

        For me this is a bit of a turn around as well. I’m usually pro-immigration purely because I see what a effective positive difference that skilled immigrants make to developing our employing industries. But I look at the rate and the lack of useful long-term skills that are coming in at present and all I see is the waste. Price of aviation fuel goes up, tourism plateaus or drops, and all of a sudden their minimal skills aren’t nearly as useful.

        Silly short-term thinking in immigration seldom works. But it is what National specialises in. From Aussie Malcolm to the present day, they appear to mainly be interested in making a short-term buck off migrants.

        • marty mars

          mate those minimal skills you rubbish are going to become the essential skills of the future and all of the IT skills are going to be worth less than nothing – that is long term thinking – I think the argument you put is still short term thinking.

          • Lanthanide

            You think there’s going to be more future demand for baristas and chefs than their is for IT workers?


            Do bear in mind, that if there isn’t as much demand for IT workers any more, and the workers see the writing on the wall, they can retrain themselves as baristas (easily) and chefs (if they wanna put in some effort).

            • marty mars

              Well no, fair point. Unless we get coffee beans growing (which they may be somewhere now? or could be at some point) then the coffee and the ‘buggy whip makers’ are going out of business. My real point is that we plan for tomorrow not today, we take Climate Change into consideration in our planning. And we accept that unskilled or semi skilled or skilled in the wrong things isn’t a permanent position, it is instead a great place for retraining to begin.

          • Draco T Bastard

            mate those minimal skills you rubbish are going to become the essential skills of the future and all of the IT skills are going to be worth less than nothing – that is long term thinking

            No, that is pure stupidity.

            IT isn’t going away because the benefits it brings far outweigh the cost of providing them.

            • Matthew Whitehead

              Indeed, to some degree IT will remain an important field with a skills shortage for the foreseeable future.

              That said, other areas are going to become more important too, if we don’t take drastic action to arrest climate change.

    • lprent 1.2

      NZ has had a pretty consistent skills shortage in many skilled areas as long as I have been around. Mostly these are the types of hands-on skills that you simply don’t develop unless you are in a tight over-populated market that needs to develop them.

      We also seldom have many positions for more than a few people like that in NZ. It is why we have so few pathologists or pneumatic engineers. It means that there are also few positions to train people for. They tend to go overseas to pick up the experience after basic training.

      It is also why we in my software development area keep importing people. Skilled immigrants are mostly used to fill crucial skills gaps in hands on positions.

      The economy is quite unlikely to depart from this need in the future. After all most of the kiwis who are returning are also our lower-skilled ones. It isn’t like we pick up large numbers of the highly skilled from them. Those tend to stay with their high paid mobile jobs in areas with better housing prices.

      • Brigid 1.2.1

        I finished my computing degree in 2004 and have never been able to secure a job in that field.
        Why? Because no company will employ someone who doesn’t have 3 or so years employment experience.
        Why do companies always expect someone else to train the post graduate?
        Conversely, my sister started programming in the 70s, she never needed to study at university because her employers trained her. She’s one of the ‘sort after skilled’ who has worked here, in the USA and the UK, and all of the companies she’s worked for has gained because her first employer took on the responsibility of training her.

        • lprent

          Agreed. Experience is what all employers of computing people are after. The expense of training a newbie up on how you actually code is immense for whatever senior programmer has to take you under their wing. Right now I have a few in my team.

          I have been working as a computer programmer for 25 years without having ever bothered to finish a degree in it. I do have a number of 3rd and 4th year papers – many of them unfinished 🙂 because I was too busy doing contract work.

          I’d been interested in programming since 1980. I’d finished an MBA in Dunedin in 1986, but had to wait while my partner at the time finished her Llb/BCom, so I did a few years extending my computing hobby by doing computer support. Management jobs were a bit sparse in Dunedin in 1986, but a lot of the management skills went happily into supporting computer systems.

          Kept flipping back and forth between management and programming for a few years until I decided that I just outright preferred writing code.

          On the other hand, my niece did a low level web programming course after I’d run her through the basics of coding while she was at school. She had the knack and keeps doing that to earn a living. Being able to point to the actual working sites she’d built in late 00s was probably got her into that first job.

        • Lanthanide

          My company routinely hires graduates from university.

        • Infused

          You havent tried hard enough or weren’t willing to start at the bottom

          • Draco T Bastard

            No, the jobs advertised really do require 3 or 4 years of experience to get in at the bottom level.

    • Colonial Viper 1.3

      I think we need to slash immigration numbers and take far tighter controls over our borders.

      And we need to get back a sense of what is in the best interests of our nation long term instead of the current naive open slather laissez faire whatever goes.

      NZ has become known internationally amongst the rich as a “bolthole” against climate change and its resulting economic and social chaos, and these people will be more than happy to wreck our country like they did theirs.

      • Anno1701 1.3.1

        “known internationally amongst the rich’

        i prefer to call these “stockpiles”

        ripe for the picking when the time comes, i say let em come !

    • save nz 2.1

      Maybe if there were high paid jobs with great working conditions then maybe skilled Kiwis would come back. I think the aim should be to lure the high skilled Kiwis back… It is not just the Kiwis leaving due to poor working conditions in NZ, typically all the migrants leave too (once they have their citizenship in the bag) and often then we just have the migrant women, kids and grandparents living here in multi million dollar homes and cars, with no income, (so they need welfare). Not sustainable!

      There should be proper statistics kept, what is actually happening in this area. Certainly the skilled migrants I know have already left the country but when they are old they have the right to return here. Many migrants I know are unsatisfied with NZ and just here to get what they can, they have little interest in Kiwi culture or have any value for it. They think their culture is superior and actually want to change Kiwi culture rather than adapt to it. They also complain about the low wages and high costs of NZ, it is not a figment of people’s imagination. NZ is a rip off in many areas and migrants know it too.

      So as well as ethical and social reasons of looking after your own people first, (which globalism discourages), there are obviously economic reasons too with aging populations and pollution and climate change…

      And for the 1.5% increase in population – that is massive change. Think about in the 9 years of National being in power at that rate they can change NZ’s ethnicity 13.5%. So in under 10 years they can move nearly as many people into NZ, than the current Maori population. Now we have the people’s party, so if it did get political clout, they could get more votes than the Maori roll.

      And the Maori party are supporting the Natz to make it all happen.

      While it is normal for ethnicity to change over time, that level of change over 10 years seems more like population engineering.

      • Brutus Iscariot 2.1.1

        It is, and they have the tendency to vote National too.

      • lprent 2.1.2

        Many migrants I know are unsatisfied with NZ and just here to get what they can, they have little interest in Kiwi culture or have any value for it. They think their culture is superior and actually want to change Kiwi culture rather than adapt to it.

        I think that every wave of immigrants to this land has said that. Certainly every one that I have known since the 1960s certainly started that way (apart from a few sports nutters)

        Their kids and their grandkids tend to ignore them.

      • Sam C 2.1.3

        Are you living under a rock? Skilled kiwis ARE coming back.

  2. esoteric pineapples 3

    “I guess after the National ministers saw their primitive economic ‘strategy’ based on milk powder flush away, that pile of incompetent dipshits in cabinet thought it’d save their sorry political arses.”

    They have also started to claim tourism as their own as well, even though they have done no investment in it and actually been busy destroying the natural environment which tourists come here to see.

  3. Chooky 4

    +100 …good post…this is why I will be giving NZF my party vote…

    • b waghorn 4.1

      bit of a gamble there chooky , there is no way of knowing what Winny will do add to that ron mark and the spectre of jones the greens would be a better bet

  4. Bearded Git 5

    Excellent post. As I said in a couple of posts before, the massive immigration is NOT due to Kiwis coming home; there is still a net outflow of Kiwis.

    Key has to be called to account on this oft-repeated lie. He is trying to make out that most of the immigration is made up of Kiwis returning to mollify voters.

    Incidentally the level of NZ immigration over the last 2 years equates to around 900,000 people migrating to Britain each year…the Brits are whinging about 300,000 arriving. Kind of puts it into perspective.

    • Bearded Git 5.1

      See, right on cue here is the lie again in the Herald today:

      “Asked if it was time to reduce immigration levels until the heat was taken out of the property market, Key said he viewed the fact many New Zealanders were choosing to stay in the country or return from overseas as a positive.”

  5. Lanthanide 6

    It’s only going to get worse, as peak oil and climate change bite.

    • lprent 6.1

      In economic terms the demographic shift to a move to a more vertical age banding is starting to bite in almost all countries outside of Africa. Our economic systems simply aren’t geared up for populations that aren’t going to grow, and are more likely to contract.

      It is going to hit pretty fast over the next couple of decades, and it isn’t particularly hard to argue that the current worldwide economic moribund is directly related to it. Hell even the developing ‘tiger’ economies are starting to have significantly lower growth rates than their exampled ancestors.

  6. Michelle 7

    Yes! It is about time NZers started to see immigration is being abused by those Tories b…s and there cronies and who does unskilled immigration benefit the most and who does it hurt the most. The same people the tories are putting the boot into the poor. This drives down wages and maintains and increases profits for there mates. This is the same old shert they have been doing for ages. Hard to see the brighter future Donkey promised us when people are being treated like commodities.

  7. AmaKiwi 8

    We need MORE immigrants, except they’re not the ones we’re getting.

    40% of general practitioners intend to retire in the next 10 years.

    It is the same across all professions. Baby boomers are retiring which is opening huge gaps at the top of the food chain: medical specialists, educators, scientists, engineers, managers, and alike. There is no way we can train enough replacements.

    Of course the shortsighted fuck wits in both the major parliamentary parties have done nothing, not even such simple solutions as “bonding,” i.e., cancelling the student debts of anyone who works in NZ for “X” number of years after graduation. So our best and brightest leave just when we need them most!

    A curse on both your houses.

    • Lanthanide 8.1

      National has brought in bonding for medical professionals who work in “hard to staff” locations. I believe the maximum entitlement is after you’ve worked in one of those locations, you get $30,000 wiped off your student loan after 5 years (at a rate of $10k for 3rd, 4th and 5th year).

      So it is incorrect to say they have “done nothing”.

      Andrew LIttle also recently mused on some sort of bonding scheme to “wipe” student debt for people who work in the regions.

      • save nz 8.1.1

        Funny before student loans and fees, the doctors came back to NZ, now they leave, and we pay for overseas doctors to come… doesn’t really seem efficient.

      • b waghorn 8.1.2

        They may of done something but it hasn’t worked , in rural nz you are lucky if you get the same Dr twice (and i’ve only had one kiwi born one in the last 10 years) and at times a practice nurse is all you’ll get,

      • AmaKiwi 8.1.3

        @ Lathanide

        You are correct, technically.

        It’s a minuscule gesture compared to enormity of the potential problems equal to, “I think I’ll prevent global warming by walking to work today.”

    • weka 8.2

      “We need MORE immigrants, except they’re not the ones we’re getting.”

      Why more? Why not the same or less, but make sure we include doctors etc in that?

      • AmaKiwi 8.2.1

        @ weka

        My apologies for my loose language.

        I agree that the total numbers must be cut dramatically AND those admitted must fit the country’s skills requirements.

    • Colonial Viper 8.3

      We need MORE immigrants, except they’re not the ones we’re getting.

      40% of general practitioners intend to retire in the next 10 years.

      That can’t be right; Otago Medical School around the corner from me is chocka full of students.

      Oh yeah, they’re mostly Asian looking to head back overseas ASAP after they finish studying.

      Maybe if we didn’t make life so hard for GPs to do their job well and get decently rewarded for it, we would have a few more stay in this country.

      • Stuart Munro 8.3.1

        Smart bond would be year for year student loan writeoff. Doctors who stay in NZ for seven years wouldn’t need the savings of a foreign job. & in seven years they’d have roots here.

      • AmaKiwi 8.3.2


        “40% of general practitioners intend to retire in the next 10 years.” That can’t be right.

        Unfortunately, it is right. The GP’s surveyed themselves and that is what 40% of them said they intend to do.

    • jcuknz 8.4


  8. Keith 9

    I can vouch first hand that Nationals hidden agenda in immigration is real and very damaging.

    I changed occupations a few years back and found an industry dominated by people from India. This particular department was not high skilled and it was beyond me why they just didn’t employ New Zealanders and then it struck me. These migrant workers were putty in the hands of their employer. They would work more hours for less pay and have their safety compromised because they wanted residency. Quite simply they were cheap and expendable and in turn that made the rest of us the same if we put up with it. Now these migrant workers did not all remain so complaint and many became down right militant and I had to laugh. I guess they got residency but then when the immigration tap is wide open you just go back to the well and get more where they came from.

    It was an eye opener to me, I never realised it was happening until I witnessed it first hand. What a cheap easy way to crush wage growth and drive down working conditions and never have a complaint about it. All the laws to protect workers sit there unused and everyone turns a blind eye. The government can pretend its all innocent and unknowing but by god they know exactly what they are doing.

    Of course all of this avoids another bug bear of quick buck business; training. I hear industry squeal in NZ about “skill shortages” and whomever the minister is will woodenly pretend to seem all objective and look into it but it’s a rort, cheap labour today equals quick profit which equals growth for National to crow about. And the few get richer.

    Is it that John Key and other millionaires in National made their money from short term hit and run profit making that has translated into NZ’s dodgy economy today? The trouble with that as you have explained is the long term damage is happening and its real!

  9. Pat 10

    Nailed it…bloody good post…as you say other political parties should take note, no maybe. It would appear with projected growth of 3 % forecast Treasury has changed its mind about net migration declining…..a whisper in their ear?


  10. McFlock 11

    The student loan system encourages a permanent skills drain, but I don’t have a problem with lower-skilled immigration levels at the moment.

    I’d much rather the economy were run more efficiently so that we actually needed those workers.

    At the moment, the economy is intentionally hobbled because of one or two macro indicators that are largely skewed by a couple of sectors: the Auckland housing market and the corporate banking money-go-round. Failure to address the increasingly and more rapidly overheated conditions in these areas is beginning to fuck with everyone in other regions. Regional housing markets are beginning to create the same landed class vs rentier population that we have in Auckland. The farmers are next on the chopping block.

  11. Stuart Munro 12

    One of Key’s pre-2008 lies, along with building more housing, was 170 000 jobs. Delivered no jobs, but 220 000 foreign workers – and that’s only the legal ones.

    Coming soon to a failed state near you: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_1998_riots_of_Indonesia

  12. Macro 13

    Give priority in the skilled migrant category to skills needed for a sustainable society and economy.
    Require strict scrutiny of applications in the investor category for overall benefit to Aotearoa/NZ
    Only make decisions to use immigration as an instrument of economic policy openly by an Act of Parliament

    Ensure that the setting of immigration levels would be reviewed regularly, based on:
    net population change;
    the need to have spare population capacity for returning NZ citizens and climate change refugees
    the capacity of systems in place to cope fairly and effectively;

    the ability to encourage settlement outside areas under infrastructure and population capacity stress;
    the ability of our environment to cope with population increases

    New Zealand’s humanitarian obligations with regard to refugees

    The above policy guidelines are IMHO more just, than a blanket ban on immigration.

  13. Stunned Mullet 14

    Agree with you 100% Lynn, although the fact that it’s making me consider voting Winston First does make me feel slightly faint.

    • lprent 14.1

      You have no idea how appalled I feel with even considering to vote NZ First (there are quite a few more people in it than Winston Peters). Their policy platforms tend to define the word “shallow”.

      However I’d also like to live in a country when the value of my apartment hasn’t doubled since 2012 while generally wages have gone up less than 10%. My income went up considerably faster than that after I stopped doing greenfield startups. However I doubt that I could afford to buy this place now on my own, and I’m pretty damn well paid.

  14. weka 15

    I was under the impression that both Labour and the Greens intend to limit migration (bring numbers down).

      • lprent 15.1.1


        Labour has a problem with too much wellington based thinking about polling and not enough thinking strategically long term. Mind you just being a politician these days kind of means that they all tend to live in a parasitical government orientated bubble.

        The Greens policy looks to me like it’d favour some pretty useless skills. As a group, they don’t exactly have a great grounding in how to build things like technology, companies and export markets. On the other hand, as a generalisation, I’ve found it remarkable how many of them have the strongly defined deaf ear skill.

        Like many Act members, many of them would be perfect in a entrepreneurial role if we could find someone moderately rational to hold their chain. That myopic disregard for everyone apart from their personal obsessions is a perfect food base for entrepreneurs.

        • Pat

          lol…theres some truth in that , although they do say not limited to….for all their faults there is one thing you can say about the Greens and that is they are up front with what they propose and perhaps a little naive, but after 30 years of dishonest BS from our politicians I for one find it a refreshing change and expect much would be tempered by the realities…..and hell ,they can’t make a worse mess than the current lot.

      • AmaKiwi 15.1.2

        @ Pat

        “Labour’s policy is pretty loose.”

        Have you ever tried to herd cats?

    • Colonial Viper 15.2

      Only Winston has drawn a firm line in the sand. Labour just makes meek noises one way or the other depending on what their internal polling shows that month.

      • AmaKiwi 15.2.1


        I have decided to refer to them as the “Parliamentary” Labour Party.

        As a long time Labour party member, there are times when I do not want to be even remotely associated with what that tribe in the caucus says or does.

        Since they don’t ask me or my local LEC for our opinions, I think distancing myself from the Parliamentary Labour Party is fully justified.

    • Siobhan 15.3

      That is understandable, Labours stance on many important issues seems to be along the lines of ‘giving an impression’. Or as Andrew Littles PR people would like to say “Giving a Bloody Impression, of, erm, something”.

    • Macro 15.4

      “the Greens intend to limit migration (bring numbers down).”

      Yes they do.

      “Pay heed to the effects of immigration on our environmental, social and cultural ecology by maintaining a sustainable net immigration flow.

      What we have now is clearly unsustainable – yet we have a commitment to the UN refugees where our paltry quota of 750 per year is clearly not doing enough , the 120,000 Pacifica (including the 1400 people of Tokelau) under threat from SLR, the reunification of families separated by warfare and civil unrest in their homelands, and returning NZers.

      A sensible Policy statement must include all of these factors and recognise the need for a fair and sustainable net immigration.

  15. adam 16

    I’d argue that NZ first have three policies which are half decent. The one Lprent mentioned. There policies around aged and their care. And the Disability policy is pretty solid – well on paper anyway.

    • lprent 16.1

      My problem is that I tend to look at economic policies first. The ones that pay for the other two policies that you mentioned mainly via taxes.

      NZ has an issue that because of demographic change the tax base is simply going to be too small at current productivity levels to pay for this into the future. And this includes me as I’m 57 this year.

      Clearly NZ First thinks that other people should do those all important policies on how we pay for their other favourite policies..

      National seems to think that simply expanding the tax base through low-skilled net migration without increasing productivity will do. The problem is that they’re usually (like most politicians) idiotic technophobes who simply can’t understand the level at which technology is separating the workforce into low skill and high skills with the moderate skills prone to the immediate threat of obsolescence.

      There isn’t a lot of point of getting in mid-level skills long term when those skills are so highly susceptible to technological displacement. All that does is generate low tax take drones.

      • adam 16.1.1

        The disabled policy has a major economic component, in that work and economic participation for disabled is a net positive for them as individuals, and the economy as a whole.

        They have a elderly policy address some of that as well, not just the state paying out cash to old people.

        As for tax.

        I stated publicly once that the national party has only one policy to deal with tax, Filipinos. You could have heard a pin drop, no one was sure if my comment was racist. I was being a bit glib, as I had helped some Filipino immigrants get a lawyer to help them with a fubar employer that morning. On top of helping many other Filipinos who make up a substantial proportion of the low skilled that this government has deemed acceptable to economically pillage.

        I agree, the economics is short sighted. New immigrants can help society immensely. But this approach seems all about ensuring votes in the short term, and dam the long term consequences.

      • Draco T Bastard 16.1.2

        NZ has an issue that because of demographic change the tax base is simply going to be too small at current productivity levels to pay for this into the future.

        It’s not that NZs productivity is too low – it’s that it’s in the wrong places. We’ve got far too much invested in low skill, low return industry such as farming and tourism.

        National seems to think that simply expanding the tax base through low-skilled net migration without increasing productivity will do.

        That’s been National’s position since forever. Hell, Muldoon’s retirement system was based upon NZ having a population of 20 million by 2000.

        • Lanthanide

          “Hell, Muldoon’s retirement system was based upon NZ having a population of 20 million by 2000.”

          Citation for this?

          • Draco T Bastard

            Just a recall from the time that National wanted population to be ~20 million by 2000 and the logic needed to support Muldoon’s retirement plan.

  16. “Immigrants are motivated to leave their former countries of citizenship, or habitual residence, for a variety of reasons, including a lack of local access to resources, a desire for economic prosperity, to find or engage in paid work, to better their standard of living, family reunification, retirement, climate or environmentally induced migration, exile, escape from prejudice, conflict or natural disaster, or simply the wish to change one’s quality of life. Commuters, tourists and other short-term stays in a destination country do not fall under the definition of immigration or migration, seasonal labour immigration is sometimes included.

    In 2013 the United Nations estimated that there were 231,522,215 immigrants in the world (apx. 3.25% of the global population).”


    Yep those reasons make interesting reading – funny though furthering capitalism by providing cheap labour and thus decimating the poor of the countries they settle is not there?? – must be an unintended consequence, same as affecting the multiple house buying abilities of the middle class is.

  17. Bill 18

    ~125 000 immigrants, inclusive of children and non-working partners in the year to July.

    ~209 500 work visas issued in the year to June.

    Work visas and immigration numbers are separate phenomenon and can’t be lumped together to make an honest argument about low skilled immigrants weighing the economy down.

    • lprent 18.1

      I didn’t even bother to go into the depressive effects of the excessive work visas. The low skills apparent in the PLT migration were bad enough.

      I was already up to 1000 words just looking over at the permanent long-term migration.

      • Bill 18.1.1

        Yeah, nah. You did.

        You posed the question – “So why is the government deliberately raising net migration?

        Concluded – “We’re being lumped with large numbers of pretty low skilled service industry workers.”

        And suggested people read “Bernard Hickey for an overview”

        And that’s where the 209 000 work visas come into the picture before you flip seamlessly back to “… the longer term economic costs of having poor quality immigration like baristas and chefs on our productivity growth over the longer term”

        Are you now saying you wanted to argue some case about excessive work visas on top of having already shoehorned work visa approvals into some case about immigration levels? 😮

  18. I would vote NZ First if I knew Peters would avoid teaming up with National.

    But he will never tell which way he will go until after election day so that sort of rules NZ First out in my book.
    He needs to wake up to the fact that we all like to know where our vote ends up and MMP has not got a great history in that regard.
    Having the tail waging the dog annoys hell out of me.

    • AmaKiwi 19.1

      @ Stuff the Politicians

      I, too, would like to know which way Winston will go. But he stands to get more votes by keeping us guessing so he will continue to do it.

      It’s not as if National or Labour are ever open and honest with us. I hope you are enjoying “A brighter future.”

      • Not sure re your point about enjoying a brighter future ?

        Stuff the Politician is exactly what I think of politicians over all.

        However, I regard this National Govt as the worst I have endured in my 70 odd years of voting.
        Lies and deceit and looking after their mates, some of the thing that this lot are just all to good at.
        As for Peters getting more votes by keeping us guessing, it is more like which of National or Labour would promise him more of the lime light.
        I think He would be after the speakers role, a role that usually ends up with a high commission job , like London.
        That is how he will decide which way to go.

        • AmaKiwi

          @ Stuff the Politicians

          “Brighter Future” was just a reminder of campaign lies.

          If both Labour/Greens and National can only form a government with Winston’s help, he will be in the strongest negotiating position of the four parties. I can’t read minds so I don’t know what his demands will be.

    • Draco T Bastard 19.2

      He needs to wake up to the fact that we all like to know where our vote ends up and MMP has not got a great history in that regard.

      Well, Peters doesn’t anyway.

  19. If we limit migrants to only so called skilled workers who will do the real skilled work that laborers like road workers etc do.
    The late Mabel Howard once said all workers re skilled .Road work and many workers employed as laborers jobs are not jobs that anyone can do so should we not class them as skilled. Try digging the roads for a few hours and you will certainty class it as skilled.

    • DoublePlusGood 20.1

      Maybe the thousands of New Zealanders who are unemployed? We don’t need to import migrants to find people who can do labouring.

      • jcuknz 20.1.1

        But why should Kiwis dig ditches in the rain and sleet and milk cows at 5am when they get a income siting at home ? [slightly sarc].

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          That’s true: if right wingers had their way they’d still be keeping slaves and bragging to one another about who had more.

          Here’s jcuknz to remind us what trash looks like.

          • jcuknz

            The funny thing about OAB’s answer is that over at KB I am a LWNJ while here I am a RWNJ …. Like when I was in the media to be attacked by both means one is safely sane in the middle like most in the population… taking the good ideas from both sides.

            Reminded of the saying “You are what you call others”

    • Draco T Bastard 20.2

      Try digging the roads for a few hours and you will certainty class it as skilled.

      Digging roads won’t really show you that. Working with skilled and unskilled (experienced/inexperienced) labourers will though. As an apprentice lineman one of the first things that I learned to do was dig holes (No, you can’t just go round sticking the spade in – you need to be able to read the bloody plans just for starters) and it was the skilled labourer that taught me.

      A good labourer has years of experience and learning on the job and yet our system now treats them the same as someone fresh out of school.

      Of course, what’s meant by skilled in the context of immigration is a job that requires years of tertiary study.

  20. save nz 21

    Lets face it National would sell their family out to stay in power and be giving any bribe they can to remain on their gravy train. I hope Winston sees through it, he’s been shafted before by National and pushed into political wilderness – so next election it’s pay back time.

    Would way prefer National voters to vote for Winston like the farmers and the rural folk – he is so much better than National and those people are seeing it.

    In my view Labour need to go for middle NZ, homeowners, workers and business owners who want fair treatment for all and get rid of National.

    Greens for the Greenies and those that want social change.

    Mana for Maori and most vulnerable.

    You then get a mix of conservative economic policy with ideas and movements for change but actually caring about those who need help, not supporting those that need the least help with corporate welfare under the Natz. It is also practical with practical ideas like bringing in rail and saving money through green policy. Actually caring about NZ not just your next international career move as a politician.

  21. Observer Tokoroa 22

    . A fine Post LPrent

    . Is The Standard able to take a poll of the views of the people with regard to the massive immigration policy of the Beehive?

    To me it looks as if Kiwis have taken the role of lemmings with John Key and Bill English out front rushing the population over the cliff. Like rats.

    Certainly Winston has been aware of the stupidity of excessive immimgration.

    . It is not the only good thing he has achieved.

  22. Peter 23

    Sounds good but you can’t trust the bastard.

  23. murray Simmonds 24

    This government aims to:

    1. Keep themselves in office for another term

    2. Keep the GDP figures artificially inflated so that look way better than they really are

    3. Keep the property bubble inflated for as long as possible

    4. Keep their corporate mates happy.

    So far, their strategy has worked like a charm.

    And of course, the (“small”) matter of what is good for the country doesn’t even feature in their list of priorities.

    • AmaKiwi 24.1

      @ murray Simmonds

      In their hearts I think the Parliamentary National Party genuinely feel they are doing what is best for the country.

      I would not damn all National voters. Many disagree with certain actions of the Parliamentary National Party. But these voters are right to be scared sh*tless of what a Labour/Green dictatorship will do. These voters can hope for some protection with NZ First because NZF has been pro-citizen initiated referendums for 20+ years.

      But the Parliamentary Labour Party has always been crystal clear: they want to be a left-wing dictatorship. “Parliament is sovereign.”

      • Murray Simmonds 24.1.1

        “In their hearts I think the Parliamentary National Party genuinely feel they are doing what is best for the country. ”

        Yes, AmaKiwi; in that I think you are probably right.

        But, IMO. this only speaks to the capacity of the human mind for self-delusion.

        Lprent has done a great job of documenting the HARM that an unfettered, indiscriminate immigration policy is doing the country both in the short term and in the long term. To think it is doing otherwise is delusional thinking.

        The information documented by Lprent is there in the public domain and has been available to all, including our elected government. Yet they choose to ignore it, for purely pragmatic and self-serving reasons. For them, its clearly “Power, whatever it costs.” Thats my point.

        And i don’t “damn all National voters”. But like all generalisations (or overgeneralisations) some innocent victims at the margins will always get swept up in the “collateral damage”.

        I’ve always had a certain degree of respect for NZ First Policy, And for Winston Peters too. Simply because unlike many of the Gnats (and especially their current leaders) I DO believe that he has the best interests of the country at heart.

        That said, I’m still a greenie at heart, even if the Green Party, again IMO, hasn’t quite “got it right” yet.

      • Draco T Bastard 24.1.2

        In their hearts I think the Parliamentary National Party genuinely feel they are doing what is best for the country.

        That would be true for some of them, perhaps even most of them. But what about the ones in Cabinet? In hierarchical systems scum does tend to rise to the top.

        But the Parliamentary Labour Party has always been crystal clear: they want to be a left-wing dictatorship. “Parliament is sovereign.”

        Yep which is why they also didn’t want MMP.

  24. Macro 25

    For another viewpoint on the abuse of immigrant labour and the consequences for us all, I strongly suggest this post by Mike Treen National Director of Unite Union. This is the first post in a series of 4 planned by Mike and is essential reading.

    We not only have to limit the numbers who come, we must also be sensitive to the needs of those who do come – not just for their benefit – but for us all. By allowing employers to drive down conditions for those on working visas, we also allow them to drive down the conditions for NZ workers as well.

  25. Dale 26

    It’s the tradies that lose. When was the last time you saw a team non Asian house builders or construction workers? That’s if the stupid fucking councils actually freed up some land to build on.
    As a tradie myself,the best move I ever made was to apply my skills offshore. The money is almost twice that of NZ.
    When are Labour going to announce policy that will make it worth doing 10,000 hours of training and study to stay in NZ worth it?

    • Draco T Bastard 26.1

      That’s if the stupid fucking councils actually freed up some land to build on.

      There’s already plenty of land available.

      When are Labour going to announce policy that will make it worth doing 10,000 hours of training and study to stay in NZ worth it?

      And what do you expect them to do?

      Consider this: My nephew’s a builder and I’ve seen him correcting lawyers on matters of law. Sure, it was law regarding building codes and regulations but it’s still taken him years to learn that and more time to keep on top of the changing codes.

      So, how much should builders be paid? As much as lawyers perhaps?

    • Anno1701 26.2

      “t’s the tradies that lose. When was the last time you saw a team non Asian house builders or construction workers”

      “As a tradie myself,the best move I ever made was to apply my skills offshore. The money is almost twice that of NZ.”

      you do realise the irony of having these two sentances in the same post dont you ???

  26. Kevin 27

    Good post LPrent and some very interesting comments.

    I think immigration is good for the country for the diversity in culture and views that it brings, but should be sustainable, real skills based and for skills that we cannot fulfill here.

    I am finding it quite interesting reading the comments where people are considering voting NZF because of their immigration policy and nothing else. I think we are starting to see a real polarization of opinions now and people looking to vote for someone, or a party, that in the past they would not have even considered. Are we going down the same political road as the UK/USA?

    The next 14 months should be very interesting.

    • lprent 27.1

      I know that immigration is a benefit. However I don’t really see whatever you do.

      I have always worked in skills areas where we’d be stuffed without the influx of highly skilled immigrants from a variety of cultures. There is absolutely no way that we could have built our burgeoning tech sector without them over the last couple of decades. Not could have we built the light engineering sector in the decades prior.

      Cultures? Not really too interested in that myself. As far as I am concerned most people don’t really understand and nor are they interested in the culture of my geek peers, and I tend to reciprocate the lack of interest (unless it impacts on a project).

      But the migration issue (ffs get it right) in NZ is an issue at present because we have been running high immigration at the same time we have been getting far more kiwis returning.

      Now if I had my way, I’d probably filter out many of the returning kiwis and offer them incentives to stay in Aussie (where most go to and from).

      We can probably get a far better skill level from the foreign born immigrants.

      But since that is unlikely to happen, and we have have to drop the net migration down to a level that we can sustain in housing (in particular), we’d better drop the immigration by a lot since we can’t stop of less useful emigrants from returning.

      • Draco T Bastard 27.1.1

        There is absolutely no way that we could have built our burgeoning tech sector without them over the last couple of decades. Not could have we built the light engineering sector in the decades prior.

        Actually, we could have. We may not have been able to build them as fast as we have but we most certainly could have built them. It just would have required the government and businesses to support the training necessary to build them up – the same way that all developed countries have built up skills and industries in fact. And most of that was government support.

        As far as I am concerned most people don’t really understand and nor are they interested in the culture of my geek peers, and I tend to reciprocate the lack of interest (unless it impacts on a project).

        Although I understand that (do it myself) you also have to realise that there’s an overall culture that will change, ever so slightly and slowly, with the influx of new cultures to it. We see it happening now as Māori culture becomes more mainstream, i.e, the changing of the name from Mt Egmont to Taranaki.

        Now if I had my way, I’d probably filter out many of the returning kiwis and offer them incentives to stay in Aussie (where most go to and from).

        I wouldn’t. I’d make it so that we can develop better skillsets here and encourage those returning to take advantage of the training. IMO, the biggest loss we have is caused by our determination not to support people in retraining. We seem to say to our people Well, you made poor choices when you were young and so you’ll just have to live with being poor, it’s all your fault. instead of helping them to make better choices now which will also help the country develop.

  27. Exactly right and I have pointed out this immigration, low wages fiasco in other comments.
    The other issue to be aware of is this 20 hour student visa rort. What is happening is many migrants have jobs under this condition but are being worked longer hours and not being paid for it. These migrants, desperate to stay in NZ don’t report this abuse due to the repercussions they may suffer. This is not being done by only the small Fijian Indian employers, it’s also been done by big greedy well known NZ owned companies. The labour department needs to be in a position where they can do a snap inspection on businesses to ensure this is not happening instead of depending on people to report it.
    Migrants flock to Auckland because that’s where all the jobs are. This is another issue we have. All the jobs being in overcrowded Auckland and none in the regions. Business needs to spread out so we are not all squashing into one area putting pressure on housing and infrastructure. I can’t see why businesses wanting to do business in an already over crowed place like Auckland should not be charged an extra tax that could be used for infrastructure costs etc.

  28. Craig H 29

    A strong option without turning off immigration entirely would be to ban Essential Skills work visas for ANZSCO skill level 4 and 5 occupations unless the occupation is on an immigration shortage list. That leaves family categories (e.g. partnerships), working holidays and visitors unharmed, while cutting off one of main sources of issues (low-skilled jobs being filled with migrants rather than unemployed NZers who actually want to work – yes, there are some). There are remote locations which rely on migrants, so a solution would have to be found for them.

    Also, dump work rights on Student Visas, and regulate private training establishments so that the allowable percentage of non-citizens/residents is below 25%. That cuts out most of the rorts as now they actually have to attract NZers to their courses, so they have to be useful and reasonable quality, and migrants don’t solely come here to work.

  29. TopHat 30

    This got my goat!

    “poor quality immigration like baristas and chefs”

    When I was young and making career choices, I was told I’d make a great Chef. I could travel the world, always have a great paying job etc etc etc,

    I did travel the world, trained at some of the worlds top establishments and spent 20 years learning the finer details of Culinary Art.
    Then returned to NZ to be offered little more than minimum wage and produce fare = to well garnished bangers and mash, as to the extent of the Kiwi palate.

    Subsequently, I nor any other discerning Chef wouldn’t spare a solid fart for NZ Hospitality operators as they WILL not provide even the basic of renumeration packages that one could expect anywhere else in the world.
    So this is why we need to import poor quality cooks as skilled labor, because the professionals won’t do it!

  30. Shane 31

    Has anyone noticed the low level of skill our reporters (sic) have? Spelling and grammer errors abound.
    I’ld probably take more notice of articles like this if the writer was literate and didn’t try to be faux hip using bad language (often a sign of lack of vocabulary in a professional writer).
    Reporters … up your game.

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  • Appointment of Judge of the High Court
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