“Census” of overseas New Zealanders under way
Kea New Zealand has launched a global ‘census’ of expatriate New Zealanders, Every Kiwi Counts, aimed at connecting the estimated one million Kiwis living overseas.
“New Zealanders living outside the country are some of our most talented people, and already make a big contribution to the country’s future development,” says Sue Watson, Global Chief Executive of Kea New Zealand, which has 29,000 members around the world.
“Every Kiwi Counts is focused on finding out more about these important citizens, and enabling them to make even stronger connections with home,” Dr Watson says.
Unfortunately at the same time the government has its own plans:
Crackdown on student loan repayments
The Government continues to look at ways to crack down on students who have gone overseas and aren’t making their loan repayments. New Zealanders currently owe $11 billion in student loans. Of that total, $2.3 billion is owed by people living overseas.
Paying off their students loan isn’t usually high on the list of things to do, Education Minister Steven Joyce says. …
The crackdown could bring in $400 million in the next four years.
This Nat government always opts for the narrow minded, punitive approach. Instead of chasing our expats for an entirely hypothetical return, we should be reaching out to them, embracing them, making them welcome back home, as Kea is attempting to do. Instead of a crack down, how about an amnesty? I bet the economic benefits would well exceed $400 million.