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