Goff on immigration

The Herald reports:

numbers should be reduced until Auckland’s housing and transport can cope with population growth, says Labour MP and mayoral candidate .

“Urgent and bold action is needed to stop the worsening housing crisis and restore the affordability and availability of housing,” Goff said at his campaign launch in West Auckland this afternoon.

He said Auckland was growing by a record 825 people a week, two thirds of whom are new migrants.

“Immigration is good for New Zealand – it brings skills and energy – but it needs to be at a rate transport and housing infrastructure can cope with.”

This is not an unreasonable stance. I broadly share it. I am very pro immigration but when immigration starts to strain infrastructure a reduction in the rate can be justified.

Goff’s housing policy calls for an easing of record migration numbers to allow infrastructure to catch up with population growth.

“This can be achieved by slowing the issuing of temporary work visas currently running at over 209,000 a year or by lifting the threshold for permanent residency,” Goff said.

The level of residency visas is pretty constant at 15,000. You might reduce it to 12,000 with a lifting in the threshold but this will be a pretty small impact.

Issuing fewer work visas would have a bigger impact. But if you did that, then employers would face skills shortages and economic growth would be reduced.

As mayor, Goff would institute an immediate review of council’s consenting process to make it faster and cheaper

Anyone can promise a review. Can he point to any specific change he would make that would reduce the cost or speed it up?

As mayor, Goff said he would advocate for policy changes by the Government which promote the interests of home buyers.

They include further increasing bank deposits for developers, extending the bright line test requiring tax to be paid on capital gains from two to five years, eliminating negative gearing and requiring foreign investors to build new units rather than buying existing ones.

Goff is not standing for Parliament. He is standing to be Mayor of Auckland. Is there a single specific policy he will implement that would actually reduce the cost of housing in Auckland? Just regurgitating Labour Party talking points as Mayor will not reduce house prices. But the Mayor of Auckland can reduce house prices by proposing policy changes to the . So what are the policies he would seek to implement apart from a review of consenting?

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