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We must welcome Kiwis home

Written By: - Date published: 12:27 pm, July 23rd, 2020 - 39 comments
Categories: China, immigration, nz first, uncategorized - Tags: , ,

With a new Immigration Minister this week, could we please get some reality to bringing our people home?

People can probably still remember that sweet time where we didn’t have a World War Z immigration policy.

A time where New Zealand citizens were not walled into compulsory hotels, to prove they will not become the Undead and stalk our supermarkets at night.

It’s as if the entire Zombie Apocalypse film and literature phenomenon was one of Hollywood’s most accurate prophecies.

There’s concern from Minister of Everything Dr Wood that we are running out of recovery places. How many empty hotels could she possibly want?

We have had the extraordinary situation of seasonal workers from the Pacific Islands trapped here because their work visas ran out and the work ran out and they weren’t entitled to welfare, so they became pure charity cases. FFS grant them a year-long residency; we get our crops picked and pruned, the islands keep getting desperately needed remittances.

We also have a global pandemic the likes of which we have not seen for a century, which is pushing everyone who can come home, to come home fast. Whatever the Cabinet outcome of charging Citizens and Permanent Residents for the right to get back in to their own land, one thing is clear: immigration policy has gone right up the fu-fu valve.

In April 729 immigrants came in – over 500 of whom were citizens. 681 people left, over 600 of whom weren’t our citizens. Every month for the previous 12 months net migration was averaging 6,500 a month. Work that out.

Pretty much no-one who is not a Citizen or Permanent Resident is going to get approved to live here. It’s hard enough to get an exemption permit to even work here. And you can’t even get a ticket on the plane.

So far, Winston Peters’ wish to cap inward migration at 15,000 looks pretty do-able.

But the demand for our own people to come back into New Zealand isn’t going to stop. It’s been estimated that there are as many as one million New Zealand passport holders out there – and while many won’t come home, under the current global circumstances a lot more will. Historically our annual inflow of Kiwis coming back to New Zealand is about 34,000. That’s usually balanced by outflows, but won’t be now.

Now, I could reach for a great series of abstract nouns about “Welcome Home”….

…. something about the immigration surges we’ve taken in that have helped real people ….

… and weep buckets and wonder at the moral, social, and economic strength this gave us.

But there’s something more practical at hand. This new 2020 immigration surge by our own passport holders is a cornucopia of talent and capital that needs recognising fast in this elections’ policy platform. Precisely when we need it.

No, they are very unlikely to pick grapes. I can’t see changes to the seasonal worker quotas.

But the New Zealanders getting pushed out of Hong Kong by China’s crackdown, tired of the competition in California, the chaos of New York and Washington, and the disease and incoherence of the U.K., what do they bring? Well, they bring the capital of the apartment they just sold, the children providing the dynamism our demography desperately needs, and bring their highly networked careers from overseas firms. And they already understand us, and have the right to be here. They are us.

By and large, these are the people who got out, and made it. More than we did: so we need them.

They may well buy property and stabilise our local market prices, or choose to rent and in so doing still boost overall property demand. For a wealth economy driven on mortgages, that’s pretty important. They may have to change careers and do Masters degrees and support our universities.

Even before Covid19 started in earnest, we had a net migration balance of +11,000 over the past year. Well and truly a record high for several decades.
So it looks like it had already started.

It’s just possible that the effectiveness of the KEA network and others may obviate the need for major policy changes.

And we don’t need to be International Rescue for the super-rich to live here.

In every respect the economic and social devastation of Covid-19 around the world and locally is just beginning to hit. So it’s all hands on deck.

We need immigration policies that actively court these people to bring their networks, their career specialisations, their wealth, back to where they came from.

Open up.

39 comments on “We must welcome Kiwis home ”

  1. Lenore 1

    It would have been awesome if on coming home, there was a quick survey by MBIE about the skills our people are bringing back with them so MBIE could start doing some number crunching of the talent coming home to help our rebuild. Or at least an email address to get in contact with them. This could be done while they are stuck in quarantine and could be done in a way where they feel valued for coming home.

  2. Descendant Of Smith 2

    I'm not sure that anyone is saying don't come back – it is more about controlling the flow back to not lose our advantage in having no community transmission.

    In terms of welcoming them back I'd utilise our advantage in providing all New Zealanders with free broadband (re-nationalise telecoms) in the same way free local calling was a bastion of my growing up. Make it easy for those returning to utilise those overseas networks, voice over IP systems, etc and build businesses that can utilise local people in an environment where things like working from home become more common and to stop the costs being shifted from employer to staff member. Charge only above a certain, high level usage.

    Now you could up the isolation facilities as well and I agree with the RSE stuff as well – though I suspect many actually want to go home. It is a travesty they haven't been granted at least a benefit while they are stuck here – I just do not get why not when it is specifically in the pandemic legislation. Someone should take the government to court for not enacting it when they clearly should have (I'm not sure though whether employers could claim wage subsidy for those workers – if they could maybe it's the employers that are the main problem).

    But yeah start creating an environment that will attract savvy people here that is both IT friendly and helps us link electronically with the rest of the world. Free network capability helps solve some of the distance barriers that physical products have to endure.

    PS build another overseas cable as well.

    • Matthew Whitehead 2.1

      There are literally people threatening those who want to come back.

      https://twitter.com/LloydBurr/status/1286079734410022918

      • I Feel Love 2.1.1

        yes, unfortunately, I hear this stuff at work, and "why are they staying in 5 star hotels!", I got them going suggesting we should stone them!

        as far as I'm concerned all NZrs are welcome home.

      • Gabby 2.1.2

        Lloyd's being a bit coy as to whom that's from. Ocky incel? Gnatsy party selfproclaimed thought leader?

    • Drowsy M. Kram 2.2

      "I'm not sure that anyone is saying don't come back – it is more about controlling the flow back to not lose our advantage in having no community transmission."

      Well put – growth jeopardises our quality of life. There's no need to entice more ex-pats back while our 'welcome home' quarantine and managed isolation facilities are at capacity. Please let's not risk reversing NZ's great achievement of eliminating Covid-19.

  3. Gabby 3

    Easy to say, harder to do. Singing welcome home butters no parsnips.

  4. hurrah lets turbocharge the housing market yet again so that the most important voter demographic (middle class homeowners) gets more tax free money

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    By and large, these are the people who got out, and made it. More than we did: so we need them.

    This is our biggest problem – our cultural cringe. The idea that everywhere else in the world is better than us.

    We can do here what others are doing elsewhere. If we're not, we're letting ourselves down as we fail to develop our society and our economy.

    They may have to change careers and do Masters degrees and support our universities.

    Depends upon their career. In some cases it would be better make a place for their career rather than having them change. Some will have to change because, as globilisation collapses, their careers aren't going to be of any use.

    And we should be dropping fees for universities anyway so that people have a chance to change career when they need to.

    For a wealth economy driven on mortgages, that’s pretty important.

    If that is the basis for our economy then we should probably just let the mortgages collapse.

    And they already understand us, and have the right to be here.

    They may have a right to be here but that doesn't mean that they still understand us. Depending how long and how they've changed to the place that they were living in they may not understand us at all. My mate, after his trip around the world, told me how much nicer driving elsewhere was due to the better roads (Our roads are cheap and nasty) and other people being courteous on the roads.

    We need immigration policies that actively court these people to bring their networks, their career specialisations, their wealth, back to where they came from.

    As I said the other day, have the government rent a luxury liner or two (They'll be tied up somewhere doing nothing and so should be cheap) and send them around the globe to pick up any NZ who wants to come home. By the time that they get here they'll have been through isolation.

  6. observer 6

    " There’s concern from Minister of Everything Dr Wood that we are running out of recovery places. How many empty hotels could she possibly want?"

    Woods and Webb (whose job is practical, not political) are visiting the hotels, inspecting them and assessing the logistics – as they explain in their regular updates.

    That's why Invercargill, Queenstown and Dunedin have been ruled out at this stage.

    Good background info here.

    I'm happy to rely on their detailed analysis and recommendations, rather than armchair assumptions.

  7. Stuart Munro 7

    You're likely to find a significant fraction fled the horrific employment circumstances here in NZ – morbidly depressed wages, productivity which has flatlined, and aggressive and unpleasant employers the likes of Talley.

    Nor do our academic institutions inspire confidence. Years of foreign students and user pays have allowed them to neglect the needs of local students and the community they were created to serve.

    We need immigration policies that actively court these people to bring their networks, their career specialisations, their wealth, back to where they came from.

    Immigration must learn to walk before they run – they struggle at present to even maintain basic principles like equality before the law.

    • Just Is 7.1

      "You're likely to find a significant fraction fled the horrific employment circumstances here in NZ – morbidly depressed wages, productivity which has flatlined, and aggressive and unpleasant employers the likes of Talley."

      Stuart, that number was about 400k

  8. Just Is 8

    Most people understand why Kiwis are returning home, we are THE Country that half the world would like to emigrate to at the moment with our Health based recovery. We are that safe haven.

    We do need to regulate the number of incoming Kiwis for obvious reasons, but they're all very welcome HOME, everyone of them.

    The biggest problem for most returnees is the major adjustment to the current NZ culture, whether its the lack of driving skills here or the very high price of food and rents, or the culture that NZ now has that people living have adjusted to over time and accept which contrasts considerably from most other western societies.

    Many here will disagree, but unless you've lived in another country for at least 2 or 3 years, it is almost imposible make a comparison, visiting another country, for a holiday gives some insights but you need to live there to understand the culture which inevitably you adjust to and adopt.

    NZ has seen rapid immigration into NZ over the last decade, 1 in 6 people in NZ today have arrived here in the last decade, that rate is far too high. Immigration needs to be set a level that allows the population to adjust without feeling alienated, many will know exactly what I mean.

    Immigration is a wonderful thing, bringing in new cultures, skills and ideas, we need it, but at the right rate that the greater society can adapt to.

    • Stuart Munro 8.1

      Immigration is part of the globalisation fallacy.

      Like many other pieces of neoliberal wishful thinking, it is not an unmixed blessing, but a phenomenon with good and bad features. But for getting on for two decades, governments have been pretending otherwise.

      I’m not too sure why they chose to do that, but the possibility of stupidity cannot be entirely ruled out.

      • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1

        I’m not too sure why they chose to do that, but the possibility of stupidity cannot be entirely ruled out.

        Economics and demographics.

        With an ageing population and a declining birth rate there simply won't be enough young people to support the elderly after they retire. This has pushed governments into an unsustainably high immigration policy especially after Muldoon dropped the super-fund that the 1972 to 1975 Labour government set up (not that that would have helped – saving money is, quite literally, saving nothing).

        Believing the economists about how the economy works could be considered stupid.

        • Stuart Munro 8.1.1.1

          Yes. Of course the economists were too "knowledgeable" to understand that if you chronically underpay your lower and lower middle class, they will of course have less children. So they created this problem themselves – immigration is just them robbing Peter to pay Paul to pretend they are something other than hopeless incompetent bums who shouldn't be let near public policy development on a bet.

          • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.1.1

            It's not that the economists were too knowledgeable but that they've based their entire hypothesis upon objectively wrong assumptions which, inevitably, has brought about the wrong answers.

  9. Chris 9

    And an ACC minister who understands the current mess in terms of the history of the scheme. Unfortunately that's going to mean replacing Sepuloni.

  10. KJT 10

    Why the pressing need to keep land prices rising.

    Our economy, and the people who live here, need the opposite.

    The rush to get back to an economy based on resource depletion, speculation and low wages, driven by too many people at once, can surely be put on pause for a bit longer.

    So we can actually develop sustainable and better ways of earning a crust.

    • Pat 10.1

      "Why the pressing need to keep land prices rising."

      Its called the growth model….its unsustainable but the only game in town…were fucked

  11. newsense 11

    It's also living overseas you pay the christmas and family 'tax' already. I know one friend who has close family in the Islands and Asia- that's a huge chunk of yearly income to filial piety, before you think of the other crap. Charging for quarantine is a terrible idea, when we look at those scamming the housing market or the swamp kauri market and the transfer of wealth with no underlying value, virtue or justice.

  12. joe90 12

    Can we leave this prick where he is?

    Clint Heine crossed the line last month when he displayed an obscene photoshopped image of Helen Clark on his site.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/christchurch-life/mainlander/271267/Bloggers-left-and-right

    • Pat 12.1

      sadly being a fuckwit dosnt disappear with citizenship…hope he has very deep pockets

    • Shanreagh 12.2

      Far out! Was this a predecessor pic to Andrew Faloon's or Michael Woodhouse toilet seat one?

      Clint Heine has sure shown his lovely sparkling credentials. But on past performance surely he is not mad at JC and the Nats as they were the ones who first suggested the $3000 payment charge. Did that news travel by pigeon and has not got there yet.

    • thebiggestfish7 12.3

      +100

      Bit hard to imagine this chap can’t afford it. As a senior legal counsel he will be in the £110-£130k ballpark in London.

      Zero sympathy

      [Fixed typo in e-mail address]

  13. Craig H 13

    Returning citizens aren't covered by immigration at all. If we're talking about border agencies, it would be more of a customs area.

    • Sabine 13.1

      Thanks. that had me confused. Immigration is for non Citizens and Residence Permit holders.

  14. Shanreagh 14

    Got no probs with Kiwis coming back as long as they:

    1 have a decently long stand down period before they are able to claim any benefits

    2 contribute to their stay in quarantine in some way

    3 are moved to areas of greatest need perhaps by way way of bonded type scholarship if they have to call on the state to help them in any job search or benefit payments.

    Then for every returning kiwi we debit one from the general immigration quota until it gets down to Peter's level or preferably lower. That we then concentrate any 'immigration' in its widest sense on resettling refugees.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 14.1

      Do some of your proposed restrictions/demands on returning NZ citizens risk creating second-class citizens? I support limiting the rate at which citizens return to a level that is compatible with the capacity of our quarantine and managed isolation facilities.

      Once returning citizens have been certified Covid-free, I wouldn't support different rules (e.g. different stand down periods) for access to benefits, regardless of where they 'choose' to live. One rule for all NZ citizens, even (much as it pains me) 'Peter Thiels.'

      Not so sure about permanent residents. Ideally they would all be treated the same as citizens, but these are exceptional times – as the number of active Covid-19 cases (currently ~5.4 million) continues to rise, there may be a practical case for treating PRs, or at least recent PRs, differently. Personally I wouldn't be in favour of changing the current rules unless things get a lot worse.

      https://www.immigration.govt.nz/knowledgebase/kb-question/kb-question-3704

      • Shanreagh 14.1.1

        Well DCM perhaps I'll move on the stand-down period but seriously many returning from Aus should have finally swept the wool out of their eyes and worked out that:

        1 Sure Aus is the lucky country or was when you were there but really only for Australians and you were never one.

        2 They surely must have some savings to contribute to their own upkeep otherwise what was the point of going there?

        I would support packages to encourage people to go to other places than Auckland on a bonded regime that diminishes the repayment the longer one stays with the bonded package.

        Allow NZers ( & I count PRs here) to come back subject to quarantine, spacing.

        No more ad hoc immigration of non NZers until we have fed, settled our own first – the only exception being to up our willingness to take refugees.

        • Drowsy M. Kram 14.1.1.1

          "No more ad hoc immigration of non NZers until we have fed, settled our own first – the only exception being to up our willingness to take refugees."

          No argument from me Shanreagh, the point of interest was your idea that (some?) returning Kiwis should be treated differently (have restrictions/demands placed on them that do not apply to the rest of the citizenry) once they've cleared quarantine and managed isolation. Kiwis are all in this together.

          "Got no probs with Kiwis coming back as long as they"

      • Foreign waka 14.1.2

        DMK

        I would be very happy to pay the $ 3000 if I get to stay in a safe country. Just remember that, PR CHOOSE to live here whereas returning Kiwis are only coming back because their country of choice does not pay any benefit and most have lost their job. In 2 years when all has settled, they will be the first to leave and the Kiwis believing that this is god's own will have to pay millions for this. Yes, citizen can come home but they are also subject to the same restrictions under the law of the land with a pandemic being part of that. If they feel that is unfair to pay for their stay in the hotel, then maybe they have to stay on the other side of the border in isolation and proof that they are free of the virus on entry. They can then live with their family or any relatives for a couple of weeks, get checked and are free to go about their business. How hard can this be?

        • Drowsy M. Kram 14.1.2.1

          I hadn't given any thought to charging returning Kiwi citizens for their stay in quarantine or managed isolation – many will be unemployed but if they can afford $3000 on top of the relocation costs then all good. I'd have concerns if there was evidence that $3000 was the difference between returning through proper channels and not returning as all – maybe the government could offer loans to impoverished returnees. Maybe I could vet Kiwis for their 'worthiness' to return.

          IMHO, once a returning citizen has cleared quarantine/managed isolation (and paid whatever fee is deemed necessary), they should not be subject to any special restrictions/demands over and above those that apply to other citizens.

          • Foreign waka 14.1.2.1.1

            Every citizen has a right to return home. The circumstance of a pandemic that has to be contained, coupled with any cost that those who are actually live here have to cough up to get expat kiwis maintained in isolation is changing the logistics of it dramatically. Many kiwis here will loose their jobs, the country will be in debt and the payback will be shouldered by not just 1 but several generations. So in light of that, I feel it is only fair to have expats paying for their isolation and not add another few millions to those who live and work in NZ. Maybe they need a loan, perhaps arrangements can be made with the government. I just hope its not the same as the student loans that are still due.

  15. Observer Tokoroa 15

    Mr Advantage

    Exactly what has stopped the New Zealanders coming back to NewZealand ?

    They have earned high wages in "Advance Australia Fair",

    Sadly, Lots of Kiwis have shown how hopeless they are as mug bastards, without any intention of being decent citizens.

    Giving us here seriously bad reputations.

    No wonder Aussies are determined to send NZ babies back to NZ – Mr Advantage.

    Finally, why are you rubbishing around in life as it was lived a hundred years ago? So Soggy !

  16. Rae 16

    A contribution to the cost of quarantine would be appreciated, everyone has ongoing daily living costs.

    Also, if once the emergency is over people cut and run back to where they came back from, perhaps they should be expected to pay in full.

    It doesn't matter how sympathetic we are to people who have the right to be here, many will be using NZ as a bolt hole till it all blows over.

  17. Sans Cle 17

    From a Kiwi exiled overseas at the moment, kia ora for this post.

  18. novacastrian 18

    Appears some here conflict their own arguments regarding "paying for forced quarantine ", and loosely apply the word "kiwi" when determining who should enter the country and have their wallet emptied by the PM who demands Kindness, yet appears to show little on this issue.

    The PM is very selective on kindness application, as we've just seen over 900 arrivals from flights commencing in India, none of whom had to pay for quarantine, yet only 38% held NZ citizenship or permanent residence. Immigration NZ don't provide a breakdown of the remaining 62%, just they held some other form of visa for entry.

    The point is why aren't these people being charged retrospectively?

    These people also never came home when the Deputy PM announced our borders were closing, yet they get a free ride. Whereas people arriving a few short weeks later are being fleeced for the full costs.

    You can't pick and choose here, either everybody pays or nobody pays.

    Unless your a NZ citizen or permanent resident, then legally speaking your NOT a Kiwi.

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