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ROB MacCULLOCH - Chris Luxon: Australia has announced a plan to halve immigration. Where's yours?

Australia's immigration level of around 500,000 people has blown fuses there. That level represents 1.9% of their population. Australia cannot cope with the effects of that kind of increase in its population on its infrastructure, which is way better than ours. Meanwhile in the United Kingdom, the immigration rate of 1.1% has also caused huge turmoil for the Conservative Party.


So what is the current rate in New Zealand? Its running at 2.5% per annum, given that in the past year net migration has been 130,000. The Australian government says it will halve the migration intake within two years in an attempt to fix the country's "broken" system. An important part of that plan is strengthened visa rules for international students.


Where is your plan, Mr Luxon? You told the media this year that you want to "rebuild the overseas student industry, which was a huge source of university funding", in other words, the reverse of what Australia is now doing to cut immigration. Are you planning to pack in more immigrants, even as the per capita incomes of native NZ'ers drops, as it is currently doing? I didn't trust your statement this week that our current immigration level is "unsustainable" and related to catching up from the Covid years. The UK and Australia and many other countries are also in that same situation yet their immigration rates are far lower than ours and they have already drawn up plans for cuts. What's more, on 7 September this year, you vowed to increase immigration even more, saying "Migration does have huge tax benefits for us. It does have economic multiplier effects". That was only three months ago.


John Key got away with high rates of immigration, rates that are way higher now, since there was less pressure on infrastructure a decade ago & economic growth was strong, whereas you, Mr Luxon, you are sitting on a stagnant economy, a world situation full of staggering risk, and falling living standards of locals. Meanwhile, Mr Peters, was it you who said in 2017 that the "massive immigration influx is distorting all the economic indicators", creating a "flattering but misleading impression that NZ is an economic success" and "government spin is that we can manage a staggering influx of immigrants each year with no cost"?


As DownToEarth Kiwi warned National many times before, although their Finance Minister, Nicola Willis worked in John Key's office, and their Chief Economic Adviser, Matt Burgess, was also Bill English's Chief Economic Adviser, should the Party run the economy the same way John Key ran it, sentiment may sour on their ability to provide solutions.


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Robert MacCulloch holds the Matthew S. Abel Chair of Macroeconomics at Auckland University. Rob blogs at Down To Earth Kiwi

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65 Comments


Used to be that people immigrated because they wanted to join our culture. Multiculturalism ruined the. Now the come and complain and do not join in. A sure recipe for social disaster, made worse by the Maori separatist movement.

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Bazza
Bazza
Dec 15, 2023

One has to question what all the excess Government employees will do to find work after the shakeup. Working from home on Team and sending out rules how to handle mice in the ceiling of a school building, to working in a facility to produce or trade goods for profit is a big jump for many, especially those with social science dand arts degrees. Being able to read a ruler, or maybe a tally sheet is important in general industry.

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Alan Davidson
Alan Davidson
Dec 15, 2023

We import many illiterate, poor Engish, unskilled migrants, some of who have paid their total family wealth to immigration agents. Also in Australia, some students are students for many years paying for fake courses. In New Zealand, I have met students whose student visas are an immigration device. We must be more careful.

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Octavian Augustus
Octavian Augustus
Dec 15, 2023

In the pursuit of what is, by definition, an impossible goal (i.e. the endless growth in a finite world demanded to sustain a capitalist system), we will also irrevocably alter the culture, demographics and social fabric of New Zealand. So capitalism will necessarily collapse, and we will also be stuck with a society that has little social cohesion.


The aim is to loot the place and profit as much as possible before the average person recognises what has happened. Only the "far right" "racists' like me can clearly see the writing on the wall already. Extrapolate the trends 10 or 20 years into the future, and it ain't pretty at all. People are starting to wake up, but there is…


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Replying to

Thanks , Zekewulfe. Food for thought.

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Robert, I agree we have an issue with immigration, and it was underpinning GDP growth through the Key government period. But, NZ's international student business was worth $5Bn to the economy in 2019, and most universities as you know have been doing it hard financially with our slow rebuild of international enrolments post-Covid border closure compared with Australia, the UK, USA and Canada, who were faster out of the box, and may also have better functioning Departments of Immigration. International enrolments do not equate with immigration numbers as these students are not immigrants, although some get work visas and, later, residency. In some areas such as science and engineering we can do with more of these students to help b…

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