Editorials on Immigration

May 23rd, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Dom Post editorial:

Immigrants are easy prey for political vultures. Demagogues can win votes by using foreigners as scapegoats, as has happened repeatedly in New Zealand’s history. So the argument about the effect of on housing could easily turn poisonous. It’s important not to let that happen.

The Budget’s big surprise was the revelation of a turn in the usual tide of migration. The outward flow has turned into a net inward movement, mainly because fewer Kiwis are moving to Australia. Now there is concern that the inflow will push up house prices.

Panic measures will not help with this problem, as Labour seemed to realise soon after pledging a cut in net immigration. Asked exactly how big the cut would be, Labour faltered and fudged.

It was almost comical. David Cunliffe said they’d reduce it from 40,000 net to under 15,000. Phil Twyford went further and said it would be 5,000. Then Cunliffe claimed he’d never said what he said and said Twyford had it wrong.

Immigration flows cannot be turned off and on like a tap. The present trans-Tasman inflow could quite quickly reverse as the rebuilding of Christchurch reduces, our growth rate falls, and Australia’s economy rebounds. Big cuts in immigrant numbers would then exacerbate the renewed outward flow.

The country is entitled to control immigration and there might be room for some temporary reduction in immigrants. 

Maybe Labour will campaign on reducing the quota numbers for the Pacific Islands, around South Auckland.

Winston Peters’ anti-Asian campaigns in the 1996 and 2002 elections also caused unnecessary alarm. There is always a receptive audience for this kind of trouble-making, especially among the older, the frightened, and the bewildered.

All the loose talk about the “Asian invasion” and the predictions of racial trouble turned out to be hollow. Auckland now has a large Asian population, but there has been no bloodshed, no ethnic violence, no outbreaks of hatred. New Zealand has shown that it is on the whole a tolerant and welcoming society which copes well with change.

One can debate the size and pace of immigration. These are legitimate topics. But as I pointed out several days ago the number of residency visas is actually lower today than in 2008. The big change is fewer Kiwis are leaving NZ, and more Kiwis and Aussies are deciding to live here rather than in Australia.

The Herald editorial:

In theory, Labour’s policy of managing immigration seems eminently sensible. The party would, said David Cunliffe, aim for “a steady, predictable, moderate flow that’s at a level that addresses skill shortages”. In reality, however, such an approach is impractical. New Zealand has had enough experience with stop-go immigration policies to know that while it might be easy to turn off the tap, it can be extremely difficult to return the flow to the desired level. …

Labour says that threat could be defused by restricting the annual migrant intake to between 5000 and 15,000. It did not dwell on how that would affect the external perception of a policy that could no longer be said to be stable, sage or welcoming.

To reduce net migration to that level, you would need to abolish all residential visas and almost all work visas. Christchurch construction would of course come to a halt.

Additionally, Labour’s policy is based on a false premise. The latest net migration statistics reflect not so much a flood of immigrants as far fewer people being lured across the Tasman, in particular, and an increasing number of New Zealanders returning from Australia. 

I’m glad the leader writes read my blog :-)

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33 Responses to “Editorials on Immigration”

  1. kowtow (8,938 comments) says:

    It’s also too easy to stifle the immigration debate.

    It is ridiculous that we import labour to make beds,serve drinks or milk cows while others draw the dole.

    We need to fix our welfare system first.

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  2. Manolo (14,169 comments) says:

    No followers of the religion of peace, please. :-)

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  3. EAD (1,450 comments) says:

    You are right Kowtow – we are always told that it is only “hard-working” immigrants who come here to do jobs we won’t do. Well who the hell did these jobs 15 years ago? The truth is that Western politicians have made it so lucrative not to work, to claim sickness benefits, to not have to make hard choices such that “low level” jobs like driving taxis or milking cows are no longer perceived to be worthy of our time. This explosion in welfare has left us with an unsustainable debt burden and a large section of the population who have essentially been discarded from society and no longer get to experience living a normal life and gaining the satisfaction of putting a meal on the table for their family through their own effort.

    The uglier truth is that a willful blindness is infecting the West, a blindness to common sense and reality that is steadily and effectively destroying us. Our ruling class and almost all of science and academia and national institutions are infected with the disease of wishful thinking and utopianist pie in the sky perfectionism and that all immigration no matter from what dysfunctional society even if they are diametrically opposed to our traditional values will work out well.

    Not telling the truth because it contradicts this morality construct, deliberately hiding or suppressing or shying away from hard uncomfortable facts and reality has become a dominant factor in the decline of the West.

    The ruling class and establishment have taken to seeing the world not as it is but how they would like it to be or how they perceive utopia would be in their imagination, this leads to a growing group think renunciation of hard headed reality based common sense approach to life.

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  4. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    What is going on here? Ahmed Zaoui with his family of 23, has been granted NZ citizenship, orchestrated by the evil D. Manning, who now, with McCarten, run Labour. I do not think Cunliffe should start mouthing off, this terrorist was allowed in on his watch, and as these evil mongrels vote Labour, there would be many more.

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  5. SW (249 comments) says:

    “It was almost comical. David Cunliffe said they’d reduce it from 40,000 net to under 15,000″. Did he?

    Are you talking about this quote – “And we always used to try to manage to a zone of say between about 5000 and 15,000 net positive. They’re looking at 41, 42,000, that is just too much and it will overheat the property market even further.”

    On the Nation didn’t he say explicitly say that you couldn’t just reduce migration to the levels it was under Labour?

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  6. mjw (401 comments) says:

    So what is the right level of immigration? Until the opponents of Labour’s policy are able to articulate an alternative, they will have very little credibility in my book. Throwing up your hands and saying ‘nothing to do with us’ is hardly inspiring government.

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  7. Simon (780 comments) says:

    Labour to close the borders. Will that go on a pledge card?

    Cunnlife to campaign in South Auckland “this is my promise to youse fellas. Big bird no more land from Chinaland to hurt youse hard working kiwis me much like”

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  8. kowtow (8,938 comments) says:

    As if on cue the Herald runs this piece of pro Muslim immigration propaganda.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11259918

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  9. Viking2 (11,674 comments) says:

    They’re looking at 41, 42,000, that is just too much and it will overheat the property market even further.”

    Well plenty of regions could do with some firing up. Tauranga hasn’t reached the 2007 values yet but we have plenty of retirement villa’s for sale. More per head of population than any other area. We don’t need any more especially now the companies are starting to finally build plenty in Auckland and Hamilton.

    And really the issue is to ensure they just don’t fill Auckland and then require the Govt. to bleed the rest of us dry to support them.

    I know its a dirty phrase but regional incentives would be good. Plenty of nice places needing population especially the kind that will bring new enterprise.

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  10. kowtow (8,938 comments) says:

    Plenty of coal to be extracted and timber to be milled in Southland.

    Plenty of laid off workers too.Last thing needed is immigrants.

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  11. ross411 (906 comments) says:

    kowtow (6,935 comments) says:
    May 23rd, 2014 at 9:43 am
    Plenty of coal to be extracted and timber to be milled in Southland.

    Plenty of laid off workers too.Last thing needed is immigrants.

    If this is such a winning combination that really exists, then you’d start up your own businesses and just milk the money. But hey it is easier to make unsubstantiated statements against immigration and immigrants.

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  12. ross411 (906 comments) says:

    EAD (383 comments) says:
    May 23rd, 2014 at 9:16 am
    You are right Kowtow – we are always told that it is only “hard-working” immigrants who come here to do jobs we won’t do. Well who the hell did these jobs 15 years ago? The truth is that Western politicians have made it so lucrative not to work, to claim sickness benefits, to not have to make hard choices such that “low level” jobs like driving taxis or milking cows are no longer perceived to be worthy of our time.

    “Our time” ? I think you mean “their time”..

    Have you ever done any of these jobs? Are you doing one now? If not, then perhaps you should switch your argument to one which more honestly tells the lower class how they should be doing your proscribed bidding, which you’ve left unsubstantiated without real solutions based on your generalisations and grievances.

    If you really wanted to know who did these jobs 15 years ago you could go ask a farmer. But hey, using it as a reason to question why we should allow immigrants or not, is easier.

    You want to know the difference between the native or Filipino farm hands that drive around here? I often hear people mention how the latter are always smiling. And they certainly are when I wave at them as they pass. If I had to choose between an immigrant who enjoys the life, or a native who is forced to do it because you’ve taken away their welfare, I’ll take the former any time.

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  13. davidp (3,585 comments) says:

    At Christmas I holidayed in the Coromandel and Rotorua, and kept running in to construction industry workers from the UK and Ireland. They were all working in Christchurch. Is it Cunliffe’s intention to slow down the (already glacial) Christchurch rebuild?

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  14. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    “As if on cue the Herald runs this piece of pro Muslim immigration propaganda.”

    Exactly. The push by Islam to gain concessions from us has started. IIRC there are already a number of swimming pools around the country that have “Muslim women only” swimming sessions “because swimming with others makes Muslim women uncomfortable”.
    This (of course) can be debunked by a web search – there are a number of photos out there of Muslim women swimming with *men*.

    The next area is usually a push for halal food in workplaces and schools.

    Every one of these concessions is the putting in place of a little piece of shari’a law. If they ever gain control here, they will say “but hey – you willingly *gave us* this stuff!”

    For the benefit of any employers or councils out there – Muslims do NOT have to eat halal food. They CAN eat other food if halal is not available.
    http://www.boycotthalal.com/important-quaran-says-muslims-are-allowed-to-eat-non-halal-food/

    Quote – “Surah 2:173 states:
    “If one is forced because there is no other choice, neither craving nor transgressing, there is no sin in him.”

    http://quran.com/2/173
    “Sahih International
    He has only forbidden to you dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, and that which has been dedicated to other than Allah . But whoever is forced [by necessity], neither desiring [it] nor transgressing [its limit], there is no sin upon him. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.”

    See?

    Not only that, but some of the funds for halal certification go to jihad.

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  15. Keeping Stock (9,380 comments) says:

    Speaking of Deborah Manning, is there any truth to the rumours I’ve heard from multiple sources that she has already bailed from the role of McCarten’s right-hand woman in the War Room?

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  16. dime (10,213 comments) says:

    Cracks me up how people get so riled up about immigrants. Especially them chinese.

    Dime loves em – i like their food, i like their reasonably priced blow jobs, i like that they only seem to commit crimes against each other, i like that they have made me a fortune in property, i like that they built me a kick ass house.

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  17. hj (7,165 comments) says:

    ross411
    You want to know the difference between the native or Filipino farm hands that drive around here?
    ……
    motivation. You don’t step out of the airport and find people lying in the gutter.

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  18. hj (7,165 comments) says:

    dime (8,978 comments) says:
    i like that they have made me a fortune in property
    ……
    As Dr Greg Clydsdale says:

    The housing boom has meant good profits for many New Zealand companies supplying
    materials and building services, but it implies investors would rather invest in their country’s
    homes rather than its businesses (Bollard 2005). The high returns for property has attracted
    finance and reduced the capital available for productive investment (Moody, 2006). The
    consequence is investment is going in to industries with limited capacity to increase per capita
    incomes. For example, real estate and building are domestically bound and do not have the
    market potential of export industries. They also have less opportunity to increase productivity
    through new processes and products. The irony is, as these sectors grow, they have incurred
    skills shortages which in turn has increased demand for skilled immigrants. The Department
    of Statistics ‘Long Term Skill Shortage List’ of 28/3/2006 includes carpenter/joiner, plumber,
    electricians, fitter and turners, fitter welders; all indicative of a nation building its
    construction/property sector.

    There is a danger that a sector of the economy is being augmented that is totally reliant on a
    small domestic economy. Not only do these industries have limited potential for per-capita
    growth but ‘deriving growth via factor inputs such as labour places pressure on infrastructure
    such as transport and land supply, and ultimately have a further negative impact on growth
    (ARC 2005). Finally, as the sector gets larger, it gains in lobbying/political strength and can
    lobby for immigration regardless if it is the best interests of the economy as a whole. This
    could be seen in Canada where the development industry has lobbied hard for high sustained
    immigration levels (Ley and Tutchener 2001).

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  19. dime (10,213 comments) says:

    HJ – sorry dude, i cant read that much.

    Bullet point it for me :)

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  20. Manolo (14,169 comments) says:

    A bit late for the Frogs, but on the same topic: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/nicolas-sarkozy/10848895/France-is-dumping-ground-for-EU-migration-and-visa-free-Schengen-area-must-be-scrapped-says-Nicolas-Sarkozy.html

    Europe migration policy has failed and the need to replace Schengen I has become obvious, he added, as the current system allows immigrants who enter it to “choose the (European) country with the most generous welfare system”.

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  21. MH (830 comments) says:

    And don’t forget many asian immigrants tend to drive in the fast overtaking lane and hold up decent law abiding citizens going about their business….admittedly they haven’t yet taking to driving the big rigs but many are getting free training on buses within the Auckland region. It’s all part and pass the parcel of colonisation.

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  22. hj (7,165 comments) says:

    Editorial: Ko lighting way for NZ’s Asia-embracing future
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11146554
    …..
    no offence to Lydia Ko, she’s first class.
    But why don’t we train PI’s from 4 years old to play golf and win all the opens?

    What sort of image is conjured up when we “embrace Asia”? Asia is X% wealth and Y% poverty. Like embracing a bum with lipstick on.

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  23. hj (7,165 comments) says:

    Gareth Morgan says the data is clear on migration and house prices. But he says it is the numbers coming from the UK that are the biggest influence
    http://www.interest.co.nz/opinion/69997/gareth-morgan-says-data-clear-migration-and-house-prices-he-says-it-numbers-coming-uk

    the poor buggers are being chased out by the policies of Labour elites and business elite.
    Up untill 1973 50% of our agriculture came from Britain as did Grandma and Grandad (Moari Grandpa and Grandad also).
    In 19? the UN decreed Human Nature was malleable and made it illegal to discriminate where migrants came from; they would all enter into the great melting pot of the indellible logic of multicultural policies. Kind of funny then when a Chinese businessman argued that he shouldn’t be bound by the minimum wage.

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  24. Unity (637 comments) says:

    A big problem with our own people who are on welfare is that they lack motivation, aspiration and a work ethic, not to mention parents who take an interest in their future. If these ethics could be instilled in them right from Primary School maybe we would see a different outcome and wouldn’t need to import people to do certain jobs. Parenting skills should also be taught because from where I’m sitting, many parents of the young in the bad stats just couldn’t give a hoot about their children. They are more interested in going to the Pub, gambling and having endless parties, while their kids go without, both in encouragement and nurturing.

    I think boot camps along the lines of the Army or even Army training should be brought back in to give the young the knowledge of structure in their lives and how hard work and motivation can pay off. It could give them a good work ethic and a routine. If we got more of our own people into jobs, then we wouldn’t need to import so many from other countries. Just last night on the news it was said we have a really worrying shortage of truck drivers. Now there’s a job that while skilled, virtually anyone could do if they put their mind to it. Opportunity is out there for everyone – they just need to aspire and motivate themselves and get on with it. Having encouragement from one parents is a good start though.

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  25. MH (830 comments) says:

    You wouldn’t need boot camp if schools were manned by men teachers especially in the formative years. When 90% are women teachers and over 50% are head mistresses. Ones parents are exactly that,single mums in low decile schools.

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  26. lolitasbrother (774 comments) says:

    About Immigration and foreign workers :
    I am in Christchurch and we had EQC, EQR into the house for repairs in January.
    About 8 people I think, three were women.
    The solid plasterer was from Dublin. Another Irish dude came and went, he sandblasted the house outside for some reason. I never knew. Our main painter was from Latvia . ; The electrician was from South Africa..; and our second to lead painter was Australian woman,.. and the tile layers were one filipino and a Maori chap..
    It was the old New Zealand dude hiding up in the shed at the back there that gave me all the information I needed.
    He said ‘listen to me, when the boss trys to charge you extra for a non designated ceiling, just say ‘ fuck off’ you and I will do the job ourselves’.
    He said ‘ you tip people, you buy us lunch and that is most unusual’, and now he said ‘ now I just got a warning ring come through from the others, the boss is coming round, in his boig V8, I have to go inside your place pretend to work’, and we laughing and laughing ; the Latvian said to me ‘you think you can import me a Thai wife like you have’ and we laughing and we got the job done in two weeks instead of the recommended 5 weeks

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  27. unaha-closp (1,067 comments) says:

    Oh come on, please have a little bit of sense.

    Labour don’t need to close the borders to reduce immigration, they just need to be Labour. We tax everything, regulate everything else, ramp up inflation, ban investment and pretty soon we have no immigration problems at all.

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  28. MH (830 comments) says:

    And some of these immigrants weren’t even born here.

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  29. kowtow (8,938 comments) says:

    ross411

    Show me on this thread a statement I’ve made against an immigrant or immigration.

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  30. Unity (637 comments) says:

    I agree with you MH. That’s another thing – there should be an age limit for solo mothers. Under a certain age – my suggestion is 21 – solo mothers should not be eligible for a benefit. That would soon see an end to this ‘career choice’ and maybe they would then study harder at school and get some qualifications and a proper job instead of knowing they just needed to have a baby then they would be provided for by the State!! Either their parents would have to provide for the baby if an ‘accident’ happened or it would have to be given up for adoption. There are plenty of good potential parents out there going overseas to third world countries because they can’t get a baby here. Also while they are on the dole, any further children born to mothers of any age, will not mean more money. You see solo parents having children to multiple fathers and the State just keeps on paying and paying. There must be a deterrent against this. There is a State in the USA where this happens and the number of solo parents dropped markedly.

    If we got these potential solo mothers out to work because they didn’t have the option of the solo parent dole, then there would be less need for more immigrants – and imagine the saving of our taxpayer dollars.

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  31. hj (7,165 comments) says:

    Brian Fallow
    “Clearly, any policy response has to start with measures to increase the economy’s capacity to respond to surges in demand, especially for housing.

    The sluggishness of the response, which can be laid at the door of both local government and the building industry, is a real problem.

    As economist Julie Fry in a Treasury working paper released last month says, a speed limit is effectively imposed on the economy if population increases quickly choke off performance through some combination of housing market and interest and exchange rate effects.

    She gives some credence to the view propounded by Wellington economist Michael Reddell that a root cause of New Zealand’s disappointing economic performance since the reforms of the late 1980s and early 1990s is the policy adopted then of increasing gross immigration.

    There is a link, Reddell argues, between the fact that New Zealand’s population growth has been significantly stronger than the OECD median and the fact that our productivity and per capita incomes have continued to languish well below the OECD median. “A shortage of labour, skilled or otherwise, is not and has not been at any time in recent history the most obvious gap in New Zealand’s growth performance and prospects,” he says.

    Instead he argues that the investment needed to accommodate the growing population – housing, infrastructure, schools and so on – when combined with our not very impressive national savings rate has resulted in stubbornly high interest and exchange rates, and crowded out investment in the sectors which earn the country’s living as a trading nation.

    A middling ratio of investment spending to gross domestic product by OECD standards masks a higher ratio of government investment to GDP and a low rate of business investment both as a share of GDP and per worker, Reddell says.
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=11259196

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  32. Reid (16,700 comments) says:

    Dime loves em – i like their food, i like their reasonably priced blow jobs, i like that they only seem to commit crimes against each other, i like that they have made me a fortune in property, i like that they built me a kick ass house.

    Problem is dime this issue isn’t about you it’s about the country we’re building now which the generations who don’t yet have a voice will live in.

    I know its a dirty phrase but regional incentives would be good. Plenty of nice places needing population especially the kind that will bring new enterprise.

    It’s only dirty V2 to free market fanatics who can’t get it through their thick skulls that the market, like everything else, doesn’t have ALL the answers and never, ever has.

    The immigration issue does NOT centre round gross numbers it centres around the FACT that a single NZ city CANNOT sustain ALL 45+ thousand immigrants + families choosing to live in it, for year after year, without something giving.

    Which is the ONLY repeat ONLY reason why Akld prices have recently (i.e. last ten-twenty years) gone nuts. I mean, it’s simple. Immigration is the ONLY repeat ONLY delta to cause the phenomena we’ve been witnessing for that long. In this case, correlation IS causation for the very simple reason no other possible cause is in sight.

    Journos like Hoskings are too fucking stupid to pick up on it and therefore pretend any protestations along these lines is about wacism. Politicians like Key know it but won’t confirm it because of the trading fallout such admission would have with you know who.

    But Liarbore has proved it’s the biggest mental in the room with its announcement that they’re not going to focus on regional re-direction but on absolute numbers. Talk about grabbing a pass to the wing with a clear run to the corner and dropping the ball a metre from the line… All they needed to do was talk about regional development and MAKING imigrants move somewhere other than Akld and they have a winner, a defensible winner because it’s not banning people, it’s merely exercising our RIGHT as a host nation to set rules inside our own house. But no, the morons, who do politics for a living, apparently didn’t think of that angle.

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  33. Rex Widerstrom (5,013 comments) says:

    Immigration flows cannot be turned off and on like a tap. The present trans-Tasman inflow could quite quickly reverse as … Australia’s economy rebounds.

    Ummmm… do Fairfax journos in NZ read the stuff written by their colleagues in Australia? The poorest 20 percent of Australian families will pay $1.1 billion more in new taxes… sorry, “levies” and “fees” because we were promised “no new taxes”… than the richest households as a result of the budget; university costs are set to double, so there’s no chance of a “knowledge economy” (a chimera anyway) replacing the declining mining and the dead manufacturing sectors, and the economy is basically stuffed.

    Yet again, the Chinese Purchasing Managers’ Index released yesterday (a measure of demand for ‘stuff’, including the minerals on which the entire Australian economy shakily balances) stood at 49.7 for May, compared with a final reading of 48.1 for April. A reading of 50 or above signals growth, while a number below that suggests contraction.

    In just one example of how tough it is there, China’s SMEs are heading to loan sharks to stay afloat as bank credit tightens.

    Australia’s economy won’t be rebounding any time soon. Whatever else may affect immigration in and outflows, it won’t be that.

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