A new Insight from the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) shows that increasing net migration would lift incomes not just for immigrants but for the native population.
An additional 40,000 people a year for 10 years increases GDP per capita by a chunky $410 a year.
“A more ambitious population policy is needed to increase New Zealand’s population.” said Dr Kirdan Lees, Senior Economist at NZIER. “New Zealand’s point-based immigration framework gets the mix of migrants required about right. But we need to do more to keep lifting the number of migrants that come.”
Almost one-in-four New Zealanders are born overseas but the current policy of 45,000 to 50,000 migrants a year is too low and very arbitrary – bringing in more migrants would lift incomes.
Immigrants provide firms with new skillsets, allowing firms to access new markets, new ideas and new products. A deeper population base also helps firms to get big and offset initial start-up or fixed costs that can be high. But our work shows that the impact on incomes outweighs the inflationary impacts of migration.
International studies also point to positive effects of immigration.
“So let’s grow for it and plan to entice more migrants.”
I am a supporter of more migration. However we need to make sure our infrastructure is resourced enough to cope with the population growth. Also we need to make sure that the rate of migration isn’t so large that we end up with groups of migrants who do not integrate into NZ. But with those caveats, the benefits of migration are considerable.