National reaffirms pro-immigration stance

May 5th, 2014 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

joining NZ First as anti- may not go down well with, well, immigrants.

The Herald reports:

Prime Minister John Key laid out the welcome mat for foreigners yesterday and said it was a point of contrast between and other parties.

“We don’t put up the fear factor you see from other political parties about the multicultural society that is emerging in New Zealand,” he told more than 300 delegates to National’s northern conference at Waipuna Hotel yesterday.

“We welcome tourists that come from overseas; we welcome people that are going to come and study at our schools and universities; we welcome people who want to invest in New Zealand and we welcome people who want to make their home in New Zealand,” he said. “And yes, we welcome people who want to buy a home here and raise a family. That’s what a multicultural, confident society is about.”

New Zealand’s future lay in selling things to the rest of the world and the future of the world was about being more connected, he said.

Indeed. Barriers are reducing.

There was a larger than usual representation of Pacific Island delegates from South Auckland seats and Mr Key made special mention of it.

He referred to the imminent departure of former economic development spokesman Shane Jones from Labour – to take up a position as a Pacific fisheries ambassador for the Government.

“If you look at Labour, they have lost the only guy in their caucus who vaguely even cares about economic growth or prosperity or people getting ahead under their own steam.”

He said it was critical in the campaign to demonstrate contrast on offer by political parties and opposition by Labour and the Greens to jobs and growth. “You don’t need to take my word for it – take Shane Jones’ word for it, because that is exactly what he is saying, that there is no point being economic development minister in a Labour-Greens Government that doesn’t believe in economic development.”

That’s not much of a paraphrase. Jones has said he wishes he had realised earlier how much Labour has changed.

His valedictory speech will be very interesting.

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38 Responses to “National reaffirms pro-immigration stance”

  1. Jack5 (5,144 comments) says:

    Goes with National’s close ties with Chinese business.

    Multiculturalism will get its big test with the next big economic downturn.

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  2. Judith (8,534 comments) says:

    Its a bit of a moot point.

    It will both win and lose National votes, same as the Labour policy will do for them.

    The question is really, which group has the most voters – those businesses that benefit from the situation, plus immigrants, OR, those that find the immigration levels extreme and think they are negatively affected by them, together with those that lose business to the importers.

    I think they are probably fairly equal in number and so neither policy is not going to make a huge difference. Neither are a win guaranteed.

    I wonder what issue would really make a difference? What is the one thing huge numbers of Kiwis would take issue of, and vote accordingly?

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  3. Ashley Schaeffer (508 comments) says:

    Welcoming immigrants and touting multiculturalism are not the same thing. Key should be more careful with the buzzwords he throws about. Multiculturalism is a bullshit doctrine from the Left that is increasingly being acknowledged as a failure by European leaders. We can welcome immigrants and investment from overseas if the benefits are there, but let’s not also import the problems that other cultures bring with them. The last thing we need is little foreign enclaves being created in our cities where the average New Zealander fears to tread because they are operating by their own sets of rules. This is the result of the European experiment with multiculturalism.

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  4. Nick R (508 comments) says:

    I’m not sure how helpful it is for the Government to be described as rolling out the welcome mat for immigrants. After the revelations about Maurice Williamson’s DIY skills, people might be inclined to take it literally.

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  5. Odakyu-sen (729 comments) says:

    “The last thing we need is little foreign enclaves being created in our cities where the average New Zealander fears to tread because they are operating by their own sets of rules.”

    Agreed. I guess immigrants form enclaves when a) they value their culture and language above those of the host country, b) they feel threatened by what they perceive to be a hostile host culture, c) a combination of “a” and “b.” (If anyone can think of other reasons, please discuss them.)

    The key issue is how the enclave treats members of the host country who enter it. For example, the “Chinatowns” of the world seem to welcome visitors. By contrast, other enclaves may be openly hostile to the entry of “outsiders.”

    I am sure the NZ government was well aware of the likelihood of enclave formation when they changed immigration policy in the late 80’s. //

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  6. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (894 comments) says:

    Jones will be under instructions not to say anything to harm Labour…. Now wait for the communist media to come up with some statistics about immigration ruining New Zealand….

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  7. campit (467 comments) says:

    Labour joining NZ First as anti-immigration…

    Why do you say that?

    [DPF: Thy are now also blaming house prices on the level of migration]

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  8. wreck1080 (3,956 comments) says:

    I’m quite happy to reduce immigration.

    Just don’t want us to become like the UK.

    Chinese are nice enough people but I don’t want to live in Beijing (which auckland is very quickly becoming).

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  9. hj (7,059 comments) says:

    We have already had 20 years of deliberate population increase and it has failed:

    2.3 Changing policy expectations
    While useful, models do not capture all the effects policymakers expect from immigration.
    When New Zealand moved to increase the numbers and skills of immigrants in the 1980s
    and 1990s, policymakers appear to have considered that these changes had the potential
    to have major beneficial impacts on the New Zealand economy, reinforcing the gains from
    22
    the other liberalising and deregulating economic reforms undertaken during that period.
    5.
    At that time, it was considered that skills-focused inward migration could: improve growth
    by bringing in better quality human capital and addressing skills shortages; improve
    international connections and boost trade; help mitigate the effects of population ageing;
    and have beneficial effects on fiscal balance. As well as “replacing” departing
    New Zealanders and providing particular help with staffing public services (for example,
    medical professionals), it was believed that migration flows could be managed so as to
    avoid possible detrimental effects (such as congestion or poorer economic prospects) for
    existing New Zealanders.

    Since then, New Zealand has had substantial gross and net immigration, which has been
    relatively skill-focused by international standards. However, New Zealand’s economic
    performance has not been transformed. Growth in GDP per capita has been relatively
    lacklustre, with no progress in closing income gaps with the rest of the advanced world,
    and productivity performance has been poor. It may be that initial expectations about the
    potential positive net benefits of immigration were too high.

    Based on a large body of new research evidence and practical experience, the consensus
    among policymakers now is that other factors are more important for per capita growth
    23
    and productivity than migration and population growth. CGE modelling exercises for
    Australia and New Zealand have been influential in reshaping expectations.

    7 Conclusion
    The macroeconomic effects of immigration in New Zealand are uncertain. There are
    plausible arguments but as yet no evidence for large positive or negative impacts of
    immigration. Some economists and geographers argue in favour of high rates of
    immigration on the grounds that migrants can boost productivity through scale,
    agglomeration and innovation. In contrast, some macroeconomists argue that in a low
    savings economy, the resource pressures associated with high migration put persistent
    upward pressure on real interest and exchange rates, leading to a re-allocation of
    resources from more productive tradable sectors to less productive infrastructure, and
    reducing productivity growth.

    The lack of evidence is not symmetric. New Zealand has had high levels of inward
    migration for 20 years now. Arguments for large positive effects invoke the possibility that
    there are long lags, or that more positive effects will occur once some higher population
    threshold is reached. In this case there is presently no evidence, but a possibility that
    positive effects will eventually be reaped. In contrast, stylised facts such as real interest
    rates that are high by international standards and a real exchange rate which has not
    adjusted to the sustained deterioration in New Zealand’s relative productivity performance
    are real and demonstrable, but cannot be definitively linked to migration policy.

    http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/research-policy/wp/2014/14-10

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  10. hj (7,059 comments) says:

    Robert Putman did a study of 30,000 people and found that diversity was inversly related to community co hesion. He then sat on the results for 5 years (didn”t like them).

    Putnam said nothing about intolerance. If anything, he makes it abundantly clear that he found no evidence of “bad race relations, or ethnically defined group hostility.” Rather, diversity generates withdrawal and isolation. The thousands surveyed were not intolerant, bigoted, or even hostile; they were merely miserable. This is mass depression, the kind that stems from loss, resignation, and hopelessness.

    http://www.ilanamercer.com/TheMiseryOfDiversity.htm
    The good liberal Putman says, however that we should push on regardless:

    As you will see when you read “E Pluribus Unum,”
    my intention is not to argue against diversity and
    immigration but to point out that if we do nothing,
    the reweaving of our communities may take half a
    century, judging from our past experience

    http://www.ncl.org/publications/ncr/98-1/Putnam.pdf

    and modelling confirms it:

     intriguing new study, “The (In)compatibility of Diversity and Sense of Community,”
    After 20 million-plus simulations, the authors found that the same basic answer kept coming back: The more diverse or integrated a neighborhood is, the less socially cohesive it becomes, while the more homogenous or segregated it is, the more socially cohesive. As they write, “The model suggests that when people form relationships with similar and nearby others, the contexts that offer opportunities to develop a respect for diversity are different from the contexts that foster a sense of community.”

    http://www.theatlanticcities.com/neighborhoods/2013/11/paradox-diverse-communities/7614/
    https://www.msu.edu/~zpneal/publications/neal-diversitysoc.pdf

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  11. hj (7,059 comments) says:

    [DPF: Thy are now also blaming house prices on the level of migration]

    4.2 Housing market impacts
    A concern has been house prices rising faster than other prices in the New Zealand
    economy, leading the Reserve Bank to run tighter monetary policy than it would have
    123
    otherwise. This focuses policy attention on: the responsiveness of housing supply (town
    planning and building industry issues); biases in domestic policy settings that potentially
    favour housing as an investment (taxation); and immigration, including the return
    migration of New Zealand citizens, as a potential source of housing market pressure.

    Although agreement between observable national and regional results would give greater
    confidence, it is possible to have large effects at the national level that are hard to identify
    at the regional level. On balance, the available evidence suggests that migration, in
    conjunction with sluggish supply of new housing and associated land use restrictions, may
    139
    have had a significant effect on house prices in New Zealand.

    http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/research-policy/wp/2014/14-10

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  12. wreck1080 (3,956 comments) says:

    Yeah , I find it amusing that people say immigration has no or minimal impact on house prices.

    Just walking around Auckland, there are visibly more immigrants.

    Do immigrants not live in houses?

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  13. hj (7,059 comments) says:

    New Zealand’s future lay in selling things to the rest of the world and the future of the world was about being more connected, he said.

    “Do any of us think we are really going to get rich selling things to four and a half million New Zealanders?” Mr Key said.

    Mr Key blows hot air

    The Reddell story is not about immigration generally being bad or economically negative.
    In fact, Reddell states that “in general, my reading of the evidence is that it makes quite a
    142
    small difference either way.” Rather, Reddell argues that in assessing the potential
    impact of migration, it is important to pay attention to the characteristics of individual
    country experiences, and the possible role of combinations of circumstances. In
    New Zealand, migration policy has made a large difference to population growth,
    throughout history and over the past 20 years.

    In the late 19th century and early 20th century, immigration to New Zealand could be seen
    as reflecting a favourable shock to the tradable sector. Opening up new lands to
    production, falling transport costs, refrigerated shipping combined to lift the population
    capacity of New Zealand while still offering high wages and high rates of return.

    By the middle of the 20th century, New Zealand was settled and producing, and
    technological change in the key export sectors was no longer as rapid (relative to other
    producers). The factor price equalisation justification for strong population growth had
    dissipated, yet population growth remained high. Across the OECD, there is some
    evidence that rapid population growth in post-war advanced countries was associated with
    143
    an apparent cost to per capita growth rates.

    http://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/research-policy/wp/2014/14-10
    I think Mr Key is referring to his FIRE economy and his property investor buddies riding high on taxpayer funded infrastructure?

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  14. OTGO (559 comments) says:

    If China is such a communist state how is it that so many of them are freely allowed to move here? By that I mean not by our government but by their government. Seems to me the Chinese that arrive here have lots of money to spend on houses/businesses/politicians which goes against the view I had of communist countries controlling who leaves and with how much money.

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  15. Fisiani (1,047 comments) says:

    I sense a sea change in voting patterns happening in New Zealand. Many immigrants like myself were traditional Labour voters in our past but as immigrants we understand the value of hard work, personal freedom and in fact all the values of National. The old diehard voting by rote gets challenged by the reality of Labour not being the image of Labour and the realisation that National best fits with what we want for our society.

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  16. Alan (1,087 comments) says:

    You simply can’t make Labour “anti-immigration” because you want to.

    A line in an economic policy suggesting we should explicitly tune immigration to meet the needs of our economy, moving it up and down in line with demand. That’s not in any way anti immigration.

    Are National suggesting open borders ? Is that the new policy ?

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  17. mikenmild (11,622 comments) says:

    Good call Alan. When we have the Treasury advice warning against too high levels of immigration, and explicitly connecting immigration levels with house prices, it is hard to splatter the Labour policy with hints of xenophobia.

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  18. Kea (13,293 comments) says:

    China has over 20 million MUSLIM COMMUNISTS !!! (some are gay) just waiting to join us :)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_China#Number_of_Muslims_in_China

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  19. Odakyu-sen (729 comments) says:

    As Darwin discovered in the finches of the Galapagos Islands, isolation fosters diversity.

    Let’s try a thought experiment. Imagine you have Country A, with its own culture and language, then Country B and Country C. Three different countries, each with their own culture and language. Now, lets say that in the interests of “multiculturalism and diversity” you promote policies of immigration so that after a while, Country A is 1/3rd populated by A, B, and C peoples, respectively. Likewise Countries B and C.

    Now you have a situation in which Countries A, B and C are identical, i.e., diversity has been eliminated.

    Perhaps the intention behind “diversity programmes” is to create uniformity. (Eric A. Blair was ahead of his time.)

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  20. wikiriwhis business (4,114 comments) says:

    We going down the same track as the UK who are now admitting multi culturism does not work after 50+ years trying it.

    They should know and we should be listening.

    J Key does not want to upset the Chinese

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  21. wikiriwhis business (4,114 comments) says:

    “Perhaps the intention behind “diversity programmes” is to create uniformity.”

    We all being made to look like bricks in a wall. Plain, flat and unoriginal

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  22. mikenmild (11,622 comments) says:

    Multiculturalism is a inevitability; it’s just a question of sooner or later. It’s happening; that’s all.

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  23. Odakyu-sen (729 comments) says:

    “Multiculturalism is a inevitability; it’s just a question of sooner or later.”

    Mikenmild, what is your definition of “multiculturalism”? Do you think of it as a natural process or as a political doctrine?

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  24. Kea (13,293 comments) says:

    Now you have a situation in which Countries A, B and C are identical, i.e., diversity has been eliminated.

    Odakyu-sen, that is correct. However a degree of mingling is essential to maintain a healthy population. Being genetically isolated is a bad thing and not for politcally correct reasons. Further to that, human knowledge would not have spread and grown if not for mingling of races and cultures. We would all be worse off.

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  25. mikenmild (11,622 comments) says:

    It’s both Odakyu-sen. Populations will inevitably becomes more merged. While it’s possible that cultures could merge as well, I think it is unlikely. Most societies will continue to embrace a range of cultures.

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  26. Kea (13,293 comments) says:

    milky, share with us your stories of the great embrace of Multicultralism in non European countries ?

    Or maybe Odakyu-sen would like to tell us of Japans great love of immigration from vastly different cultures to their own ? :)

    Why all the focus on 10% of the world, which is about all that YT is ?

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  27. OTGO (559 comments) says:

    When we signed a free trade deal with China it seems that we gave them dairy products and they gave us people.

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  28. Odakyu-sen (729 comments) says:

    Kea, my thought experiment is simply to outline a concept. The real world, as you know, is far more complex.

    Mikenmild, I agree that populations in this day and age are tending to merge. Island isolation and too small a gene pool are not always a good thing. What is more, the dark side of isolation and nationalism is that you may end hating a different culture simply out of ignorance and fear for what is different.

    Ah, the Japanese. Love foreign ideas but are not so keen on foreign people. (Perhaps the West is the opposite in that it claims to love foreign people but is not so keen on their foreign “ways.”)

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  29. mikenmild (11,622 comments) says:

    ‘you may end hating a different culture simply out of ignorance and fear’
    Surely we wouldn’t see any of that on Kiwiblog?

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  30. Rightandleft (668 comments) says:

    Isn’t it interesting that in most other Anglophone countries it is the left wing parties seen as more pro-immigrant whereas the opposite seems to be true in NZ. I think that is down to the fact that as a remote island nation with good control over immigration the majority of our migrants are skilled, educated people who often come with significant assets or business acumen. They are therefore much more inclined to help the centre-right parties. The low voter turnout amongst recent migrants suggests to me that National has demographics on its side, much in the same way the Democrats have demographics on their side in the US. For as migrants begin to vote in larger numbers they are likely to help National.

    The left is also at a disadvantage because they are so nostalgic for a past time when NZ was a much more homogenous place, controlled by a powerful government which extended its influence into every aspect of life. Most migrants never experienced this socialist nirvana that the left pines for. The same can be said for anyone under thirty. As is so often the case with nostalgia it is seriously misplaced, with Labour and the Greens overlooking the fact that the Kirk years which they pine for were actually a time of great instability. New Zealand was in a state of collapse then, the economy cut off from its traditional market but the government unwilling to face the music and liberalise. That isn’t a world today’s business-oriented migrants have any interest in. That’s a big part of why the left is so hostile to them, or at least to skilled migrants anyway.

    When I think of multiculturalism in a positive sense I’m picturing the night market chock full of a dozen ethnicities’ cuisines, international day at school, the Chinese Lantern Festival and such. I think its great to share and mix our cultures in that way. What I have no interest in is a multiculturalism that suggests we all cling to our unique cultures to the detriment of Kiwi culture. We certainly shouldn’t be enshrining cultural differences in law. I may be American born, and I’d like to still have a Thanksgiving dinner, but I’m also a Kiwi now and I embrace NZ as my home. There’s a pavlova right next to the pumpkin pie when the turkey is done! When I hear John Key talk about multiculturalism, that’s what I’m picturing. By no means should we be encouraging ethnic enclaves or separate laws. Native born Kiwis need to be welcoming but new Kiwis have to be willing to adapt and embrace NZ culture too.

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  31. mikenmild (11,622 comments) says:

    Are there any polls which indicate trends in political preference among migrants?

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  32. Odakyu-sen (729 comments) says:

    “Surely we wouldn’t see any of that on Kiwiblog?”

    Don’t forget your “//” marks.

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  33. Kea (13,293 comments) says:

    ‘you may end hating a different culture simply out of ignorance and fear’
    Surely we wouldn’t see any of that on Kiwiblog?

    millky, I have seen no hint of it during my time here. Which is why I feel comfortable thousands of persecuted gay muslims from the Middle East, and the 20 million Chinese Communist Muslims will feel welcome here. :) :)

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  34. Bob R (1,386 comments) says:

    ***[DPF: Thy are now also blaming house prices on the level of migration]***

    How can you honestly discuss house prices without noting the impact of immigration? It’s not a question of blame, it’s a question of acknowledging reality.

    It’s sad to see the right adopting Leftist tactics to try and demonise debate on this.

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  35. SPC (5,770 comments) says:

    The first change to immigration rules, is to require investor migrants to increase housing stock by financing the build of a new property.

    The second change is to give a points plus to skilled worker migrants who can and choose to buy a (higher value) newly built home.

    The more general move would be to restrict offshore ownership of local housing, but allow offshore investment in new property development for sale to New Zealand residents. .

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  36. hj (7,059 comments) says:

    If China is such a communist state how is it that so many of them are freely allowed to move here?
    …..
    A businessman from Taiwan said because China is communists people are maikng their money and “quietly taking it out”. He said it was happening all over the world and the effects are being felt because they have 1.2B people.

    and BTW 50% of Chinese immigrants with citizenship identify more with China than NZ, whereas 94(?) percent of Chinese with residency identify more with China. Also second generation Chinese identify more with China than their parents.

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  37. hj (7,059 comments) says:

    From The Landlord Says:

    Meanwhile the National Party released its immigration policy. You may wonder what this means for the property market. It is clear from research that immigration is one of the key drivers of house price growth.
    The logic is simple. If you import more people into the country, then you need more houses. Supply and demand means that prices are then pushed up, this is particularly so in Auckland.
    While the latest immigration numbers show the number of people coming into New Zealand is starting to rise, the Nat’s policy looks like it wants to increase immigration levels even further.
    (Although it is unclear what sort of number they are targeting.)
    This policy is, arguably, a plus for people who want house prices to rise. (But may be not so good for first home owners wanting to buy.)
    My guess has always been that property investors lean heavily towards the right rather than the left. (This was made clear in an email newsletter I saw from one developer this week.)

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  38. hj (7,059 comments) says:

    Rightandleft (576 comments) says:
    May 5th, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    Isn’t it interesting that in most other Anglophone countries it is the left wing parties seen as more pro-immigrant whereas the opposite seems to be true in NZ. I think that is down to the fact that as a remote island nation with good control over immigration the majority of our migrants are skilled, educated people who often come with significant assets or business acumen.
    ……………………….

    “Claims that immigrants improve the economy, introduce new technology and grow the business sector are being exaggerated,” Clydesdale said. “Much of the literature suggesting immigrants bring in new technology and contribute to a growing business sector is misleading. “There is often no economic evidence to support the claims made.” He quoted Department of Labour figures that showed only 2% of business immigrants introduced new technology. Many new arrivals under the business, investment and entrepreneurial categories bought existing businesses such as restaurants, cafes and takeaways, Clydesdale said. “There is little new activity. There’s no added value, it’s just a change of ownership,” Clydesdale said. There were also very real costs. “An extra $3600 a year in your pocket, or more immigrants? “The question is one New Zealanders should be considering because it sums up the relationship between rising mortgage interest rates and our current immigration policy,” Clydesdale said. He estimated people with an average $160,000 fixed mortgage would be be $3600 a year better off if rates had remained steady in the latest Reserve Bank rate hike. “Of course, immigration is not the only force driving inflation, but we only need to get inflation down within a limited range to stop the interest rate increases,” Clydesdale said. “Dramatically reducing immigration may keep inflation within that range, without the economic casualties. “The Government’s current policy mix is putting real estate agents ahead of exporters.”

    sandbagging Cunliffe:

    Cunliffe said he had seen the research, but disagreed. “House prices are a complex phenomenon which reflect the interaction of a wide variety of factors,” he said. Those factors included interest rates, wage levels and population growth, of which migration was just one component. “Net migration is itself a balancing factor between people leaving New Zealand and people arriving,” Cunliffe said. According to Statistics New Zealand, during the 12 months to December 31, 2006, the population grew by 45,100 to 4,165,600, Cunliffe said. The contribution of net migration to that was just 14,600 people. “Businesses are still telling us that skills shortages are a constraint to their growth,” Cunliffe said. “There is no denying that we have ageing populations, lower birth rates and the need for a growing workforce. “As Kiwis traditionally go overseas and some do not return, immigration is a must to supplement the workforce we need to ensure our country continues to prosper,” Cunliffe said.

    Migrant benefit ‘overstated’ By DAN EATON – The Press | Saturday, 7 April 2007

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