Herald argues for oppressive values

June 16th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald editorial:

One of those basic Western, liberal values is a tolerance of diverse views and open debate. Muslims who come here may arrive with distinctly non-Western values on the status of women and decency in dress and relationships. They justify their restrictive codes of dress and conduct on a sense of respect and self-respect that they find deficient in Western liberal values. Westerners find that sort of respect oppressive but it is good to have our attitudes challenged. To bar people because they do not share them would be the antithesis of basic Western, liberal values.

Not at all. Does the Herald editorial writer think for example we should welcome in members of the KKK because it is good to have our values challenged? How about neo-nazis from Europe? Would having more neo-nazis in NZ be good for our NZ as they will challenge our values? By the same basis, I don’t want people immigrating here who think gays should be stoned to death, that execution is the appropriate punishment for apostasy or that women are second class citizens.

What are NZ values?

June 15th, 2016 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Should refugees be expected to officially commit to New Zealand values when they get here?

Some political leaders say yes, they should.

Refugees should sign up to a ‘New Zealand values statement’, proposes ACT leader David Seymour as he believes it would help ensure those arriving share our values. 

Just look at Australia, Seymour points out – they have a charter to accompany their visa approvals.

What the Australian charter says:

“Australian society values respect for the freedom and dignity of the individual, freedom of religion, commitment to the rule of law, Parliamentary democracy, equality of men and women and a spirit of egalitarianism that embraces mutual respect, tolerance, fair play and compassion for those in need and pursuit of the public good.

“Australian society values equality of opportunity for individuals, regardless of their race, religion or ethnic background the English language, as the national language, is an important unifying element of Australian society.”

Seymour admitted Australia have a different set of migration circumstances, but “on balance Australia is an incredibly tolerant and liberal place, that many many people from around the world want to go to”.

Seymour said it wouldn’t be difficult to pull together a simple charter, stating for example: “We believe regardless of gender, sexuality, ethnicity or religion, you have the same legal rights as everybody else.”

I quite like the Australian one, but Seymour’s one is also good.

What the Netherlands do is also good. They actually require all prospective immigrants watch a video about life in the Netherlands, and in it they stress things like freedom of speech, that same sex couples are affectionate in public and that if this upsets you, you should consider not moving here, as you’ll be unhappy.

Should we interview migrants

June 7th, 2016 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Immigrants from countries who “treat their women like cattle”, should be interviewed to check their attitude before entry into New Zealand, says NZ First leader Winston Peters.

He went further, repeating party calls for a reduction in immigration numbers, and calling for every immigrant to go through an interview process before their visa is approved. 

He made the comments on current affairs show Q+A, also calling for immigration numbers to be cut to between 7000 and 15,000 a year. 

I don’t agree with Peters on reducing migration numbers to the extent he does (his policy would see no international students in NZ – a huge export earner) but I do have some sympathy for the idea of interviewing those eligible for permanent residence to try and establish that they are likely to be able to integrate into New Zealand and that their values are compatible with New Zealand core values.

 

Far far fewer people in immigration detention in Australia

May 2nd, 2016 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

As unpopular as they are with some people, there is no doubt the Coalition’s turn back the boats policy has led to a massive reduction in both drownings at sea, and also in the numbers of people held in immigration detention.

ausimm1

So the number in detention has fallen from 13,000 under Labor to just over 2,000 under the Coalition.

ausimm2

And the number of children in detention is now zero, down from 2,000 under Labor.

Since 2013 not a single person has drowned at sea while trying to reach Australia.

Under the previous Labor Government a massive 1,138 people drowned.

The simple fact is the hardline policy has worked – it has reduced drownings and massively reduced the numbers in detention. The lesson is that putting the people smugglers out of business was in fact the most humane policy.

A silly Immigration decision

April 21st, 2016 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

New Zealand’s international reputation has been damaged by Immigration NZ’s decision to deny an Iranian film director a visitor visa, a film festival director says. 

Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami was invited to speak at the screening of her film Sonita at next month’s Documentary Edge film festival. 

An immigration officer declined her visitor visa on the basis that she might become an overstayer. 

This is a pretty bizarre decision. Does Immigration NZ think she went to all the trouble of producing a film and having it screened in NZ, just so she could visit here and them overstay?

Jacinda Ardern, Labour’s arts, culture and heritage spokesperson, has added her voice to those frustrated by the decision.  

The denial “does not appear to be grounded in evidence or common sense” and will put New Zealand’s reputation at further risk of damage without resolution, she said.

I agree with Jacinda.

If someone is coming here for no specific reason, and has some risk factors, then you may need to be concerned about overstaying. But coming here to speak at the screening of a film you made is a very specific reason, and someone who makes films for a living is probably not that likely to try and hide in New Zealand, and become an illegal overstayer who lives off ash jobs picking fruit etc!

UPDATE: Immigration NZ has reversed the decision and granted the visa

Fewer overstayers

April 16th, 2016 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Interesting data on the number of overstayers in NZ. The change from 2008 to 2016 is:

  • Total overstayers down 30%
  • Samoa down 42%
  • Tonga up 9%
  • China down 40%
  • Thailand down 52%
  • UK down 26%

Labour follows Trump in saying it will cap immigration

March 17th, 2016 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Leader of the Opposition, Andrew Little, said immigration was “positive for any country” but in times when “our economy is creaking, we need to be able to turn the tap down a bit”.

If that was all he said, I would agree. I think adjusting immigration settings can be quite sensible if there is a strain on infrastructure.

Little’s comments come after a visit last week to Lower Hutt, where he said immigration was having some downwards impact on the country’s wages.

He said the hospitality industry was a good example of where migrant workers could be affecting wages.

A lot of Chinese and Indian migrants with “particular cooking skills” could actually be sourced locally and the country didn’t need to rely on immigration to fill that skill-set, he said.

Are they going check surnames of all the chefs now?

Does Little have any evidence to this claim that there are lots of NZers with these skills who are out of work?

Also most ironically the FTA signed wth China (negotiated by Labour) explicitly mandates up to 200 Chinese chefs a year can come and work here. So Little is now campaigning against Labour’s own FTA!

On Wednesday Little stood by those comments and said if he was in Government he would put a cap on immigration right now.

That’s a nonsense statement. He can’t. Here’s why.

  1. You can’t cap Australians migrating to NZ
  2. You can’t cap NZers returning home to NZ

You can adjust the number of points you need to qualify for a residential visa and there may be a case for that. But that will not cap immigration. Most of the net migration flows (Australians and NZers deciding where to live) are not subject to Government decision.

Key said he couldn’t work out where Little was coming from.

“One minute they’re saying they don’t want people with Chinese-sounding names buying houses, now they’re saying they don’t want people with Chinese-sounding names making chicken chop suey.”

“Look, there are some Chinese migrants who come to New Zealand but they’re hard working and they do a good job,” he said.

It is obvious Little is dog whistling at Asian immigrants with his comments.

I dare him to go to have announced at Pasifika last weekend that he thinks we have too many immigrants and he wants to curtail Pacific Island immigration!

Maybe the reason he is targeting Asian immigration, not Pasifika immigration, is because Labour doesn’t get so much of the Asian vote?

Free movement between some Commonwealth countries?

March 16th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A new poll shows majority support in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Britain for reciprocal rights to live and work freely in each other’s nations.

The poll’s release yesterday came as new measures were about to take effect to tighten working rights in the UK for citizens of non-European Union countries.

The poll, commissioned by the Royal Commonwealth Society, shows 70 per cent of Australians, 82 per cent of New Zealanders, 75 per cent of Canadians and 58 per cent of Britons support free mobility between their nations.

The British Government is moving in the opposite direction, however, under public pressure to stem migrant numbers following an influx in recent years, particularly from eastern Europe.

Interesting that while most in the UK don’t want their borders open to the EU, they would open them to NZ, Australia and Canada.

I for one would be happy to have open access to Canada and the UK (we already have it with Australia) in exchange for them having open access to NZ.

Curia was one of the companies that polled for the RCS.

UPDATE: A more detailed story at Stuff.

Guest Post: David Garrett on A case for immediate cessation of all Muslim immigration

December 3rd, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

A guest post by David Garrett:

I recently found myself in an argument with the wife of an old friend over Muslim immigration. By an accident of sychronicity, I had just finished Volume I of Sir Winston Churchill’s WW II memoirs, “The Gathering Storm”, which covers his period in the political wilderness in the 1930’s. In developing my argument with my friend’s wife, I saw striking parallels with where we are now with regard to Muslim immigration, and the position of Western Europe during the latter 1930’s. [Yes, I know…Godwinning myself in the first paragraph. So be it.]

When pressed as to why she thought Muslim immigration was such a good thing, my opponent frequently used the word “diversity”, as if that in itself explained all, and  was the end of the argument. I tried in vain to get her to expand on just what she meant, and why diversity of that kind was something good.

To try and get her to think more deeply, I gave an example. I asked her to imagine that next door to their bungalow in leafy  Remuera there lived a strictly observant Muslim family, the mother in her black tent walking dutifully behind her husband, carry the groceries and anything else he required his subject wife to do.  The little girls of the family with their heads but not yet their bodies covered, and their mode of  playing tightly prescribed. The boys modelling themselves after their unsmiling bearded father, and doing none of the things my host’s children did.

Mrs Remuera was unable to say quite how the presence of that imaginary family – with their way of life so utterly different from ours – gave a richness and vibrancy to her neighbourhood, the wider community, or our country. Her husband, gallant gentleman that he is, tried to assist his wife by wanly suggesting that Arab food was “really very nice.” I think he was only partially serious. I’m sure there  are cafes in Auckland serving Arab food, but  I have not seen them. “Much wider choice of ethnic foods” is of course one of the best and most commonly cited  examples of how diversity enriches us.

Why should we worry?

It is really very simple. Every western country which has allowed its Muslim population to exceed 2% has experienced problems generated by that community – or at least arising because of their presence within those societies. The severity of the “problems” appears directly related to the proportion of Muslims in any given western society.

In Britain, France, Germany, Holland, Sweden – and now Australia – there have been civil disturbances which can be directly linked to the presence of a sizeable Muslim community. Those disturbances range from harassment of women dressed “immodestly” at the low end, to mass murder – most recently in France – at the other.

I have always thought that George Santayana’s famous dictum about those who do not learn from history being destined to repeat it is the crème de la crème of philosophical observations. I have asked the question many times – on this very blog and in my life in the real world – “why would our experience of allowing a Muslim population to develop above 2% be any different from that of all other western countries’?”  The usual response is that there is no evidence of anything bad happening here. The response to that non-argument is of  course “not yet – we  have not yet reached what appears to be  the tipping point of 2%”.

I truly believe we are, in a very real sense, in exactly the position Western Europe was in the  early 1930’s. The prevailing sentiment among both  the political elites  and the population of Britain at large was then, as ours is  now, one of tolerance, or at least wilful blindness to the dangers posed by the rising tide of fascism in Germany. It is important to be reminded that the very word “fascism” had none of the pejorative connotations in 1933 that it most definitely carried ten years later.

While some laughed at Hitler’s histrionic posturing, there was widespread support for the view that both Hitler and his model Mussolini had “made the trains run on time”, had reduced unemployment in their countries, and that those countries were handling the effects of the depression far better than the democracies. In all European countries there were fascist parties openly advocating the same type of polices. In Britain, the British Union of Fascists – led by a brilliant former cabinet Minister – had a great deal more support than those few surrounding Churchill, who was derided as a war monger, and “yesterday’s man.”

Do we not now have a very similar situation?  Our rulers and the political elites seem blandly unconcerned about Muslim immigration into our country, and deride people like me who warn of the possible consequences of it. I recently received a letter from the colourless Minister of Immigration in response to my letter expressing concern. The Hon. Minister tartly informed me that: “New Zealand does not select [immigrants] on the basis of race or religion.” How utterly un-reassuring. One can almost see the rolling eyes of the 22 year old staffer drafting a reply  to “another crack pot”. The letter did not even warrant the Minister’s signature.

Why act now?

Again it is very simple – if we don’t act now, it will be too late if doomsayers like me are right. We are endlessly lectured by the greenies about “tipping points”; that if this or that greenhouse gas emission is not reduced to some unfeasible level  by next week,  unstoppable catastrophic climate change will ensue. Once it has happened, we are told, it will be too late to reverse it.

Well, I know very little about climate change, but simple logic tells me that if I am right about the dire effects of a Muslim population above 2%, it will be impossible to do anything about it. The reason is again simple. We have 50,000 odd Muslims now, a bit more than 1% of our population. There are nowhere near enough of them to cause any significant trouble – yet.

Even if we closed our borders to all of the Muslim faith immediately  – I would go further than that, and exclude all  immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries – we could not stop the ones we already have from multiplying. Given their greater birthrate, it is a certainty that in 10 or perhaps 20 years at the most, we will have a Muslim population well above the crucial tipping point of 2%.

If I am right, and we are then seeing harassment of women dressed in ways the bearded ones do not like – or much worse – what then could we do about it? Very little. Again, if we follow overseas experience,  the harassment and terrorism will be perpetrated not by the immigrants we have so blithely let in ten or twenty years before, but by  their New Zealand born children.

 All of the atrocities that I am aware of in Western Europe have been perpetrated by young Muslims born in their host countries (although early reports suggest that some at least of the terrorists responsible for Paris have slipped in with “genuine” refugees.) If the same thing were to happen here ten years down the track, there is absolutely nothing  we could do about our local Muslim community. As we have just learned from the Australians, we are stuck with our citizens, however unsavoury they may be.

Let’s just say for arguments sake that I am wrong – not being a leftie, I am never absolutely certain of anything. What do we lose by stopping Muslim immigration right now? My argument is that we lose absolutely nothing of value. Unlike the vibrant communities which have developed from our South East Asian immigrants – which by and large have had overwhelmingly positive effects on our society – there is nothing from overseas experience which suggests there is anything of value to be gained from having communities of stern bearded men and their subjucated women among us. And that’s assuming none of them are or could be  terrorists

Except, perhaps, a few cafes serving  the cuisine of Somalia, Saudi Arabia, or the Sudan. I can do without that, thanks very much. I much prefer that my beautiful daughter is allowed to go to the beach wearing whatever she likes, and that my son isn’t influenced by people who think his wife should also be his servant. Muslim immigrants are a very real threat to our way of life. We should not take one more of them.

For the avoidance of doubt, the post is the opinion of the author, not of Kiwiblog. Kiwiblog accepts guest posts, even when I disagree with the views in them.

Don’t lie on immigration forms

November 29th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

An immigrant family faces being kicked out of the country after their mother failed to include details of her disabled son on her residence application.

Kirsten Biltoft and her three boys immigrated from Denmark in 2011 after a divorce.

She was granted a business visa and her sons, including youngest Rosario, were given student visas.

In 2012 Biltoft applied for residency with Rosario but later withdrew him from her application after advice their applications would be denied because of his health.

Rosario, who is a 16-year-old with Down Syndrome and autism, has delayed development and functions at the level of a two-year-old.

So you knew you would be declined, filed a false application that omitted to mention him, and now complain to the media?

I have great empathy for the family, but if you decide to deliberately hide relevant information, then it is no surprise that you get into trouble.

Krauthammer on immigration

August 24th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Charles Krauthammer is arguably the most powerful conservative writer in the US. He writes on Trump and immigration:

For years, immigration has been the subject of near-constant, often bitter argument within the GOP. But it is true that Trump has brought the debate to a new place — first, with hisannouncement speech, about whether Mexican migrants are really rapists, and now with the somewhat more nuanced Trump plan.

Much of it — visa tracking, E-Verify, withholding funds from sanctuary cities — predates Trump. Even building the Great Wall is not particularly new. (I, for one, have been advocating that in this space since 2006.) Dominating the discussion, however, are his two policy innovations: (a) abolition of birthright citizenship and (b) mass deportation.

Abolishing a right to citizenship is no small thing:

If you are born in the United States, you are an American citizen. So says the 14th Amendment. Barring some esoteric and radically new jurisprudence, abolition would require amending the Constitution. Which would take years and great political effort. And make the GOP anathema to Hispanic Americans for a generation.

It would never ever happen. No Congress would approve such a change, let alone by two thirds majority. And You would not get 38 states to ratify it. I doubt you would get five.

And for what? Birthright citizenship is a symptom, not a cause. If you regain control of the border, the number of birthright babies fades to insignificance. The time and energy it would take to amend the Constitution are far more usefully deployed securing the border.

That is right.

Last Sunday, Trump told NBC’s Chuck Todd that all illegal immigrants must leave the country. Although once they’ve been kicked out, we will let “the good ones” back in.

 On its own terms, this is crackpot. Wouldn’t you save a lot just on Mayflower moving costs if you chose the “good ones” first — before sending SWAT teams to turf families out of their homes, loading them on buses and dumping them on the other side of the Rio Grande?

A good point.

Less frivolously, it is estimated by the conservative American Action Forumthat mass deportation would take about 20 years and cost about $500 billionfor all the police, judges, lawyers and enforcement agents — and bus drivers! — needed to expel 11 million people.

That is a sum of money greater than NZ’s GDP.

This would all be merely ridiculous if it weren’t morally obscene. Forcibly evict 11 million people from their homes? It can’t happen. It shouldn’t happen. And, of course, it won’t ever happen.

A mass deportation of 11 million people, some of whom were citizens, would bring back memories of Europe in the 1930s.

But because it’s the view of the Republican front-runner, every other candidate is now required to react. So instead of debating border security, guest-worker programs and sanctuary cities — where Republicans are on firm moral and political ground — they are forced into a debate about a repulsive fantasy.

Trump is Hillary Clinton’s best friend. As doubts about her grow, he is destroying the ability of the Republican party to win the electoral college in 2016.

Donald Trump has every right to advance his ideas. He is not to be begrudged his masterly showmanship, his relentless candor or his polling success. I strongly oppose the idea of ostracizing anyone from the GOP or the conservative movement. On whose authority? Let the people decide.

But that is not to say that he should be exempt from normal scrutiny or from consideration of the effect of his candidacy on conservatism’s future. If you are a conservative alarmed at the country’s direction and committed to retaking the White House, you should be concerned about what Trump’s ascendancy is doing to the chances of that happening.

Ironically Trump’s antics may help Marco Rubio win the nomination, as he may be the only candidate who could stop the Latino vote going the same way as the African-American vote – 90% Democrat.

Dickinson on global impact visas

July 28th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

Michelle Dickinson writes:

“One hundred inspired New Zealand entrepreneurs can turn this country around.”  Sir Paul Callaghan

I was there specifically to hear his announcement on something I’m passionate about and have recently had a small involvement in called Global Impact Visas (GIVs).

Today the government officially announced it would be considering them.

John Keys official speech said that the government “will consider a new global impact visa targeted at young, highly-talented and successful technology entrepreneurs and start-up teams, who want to be based in New Zealand, employ talented Kiwis and reach across the globe.”  The bigger question is what should these visas look like in order to shape a global export focussed New Zealand?

Remembering that GIVs do not yet have a formal policy framework, I think its an exciting time to be in as we can create something with a unique design for a fast changing economy.

From think tank conversations I’ve been involved in, the purpose of the visa seems to be to give a limited number of high impact entrepreneurs and investors the ability to establish or be involved in new ventures each year by moving to New Zealand.  My arguments with this visa design is that it must be flexible around the concept of how success is measured, which can not just be financial success if we are to attract entrepreneurs with global impact potential.

So why might we want this flexibility?

As I spend time on the West Coast of the US, some of my entrepreneur friends who live in Silicon Valley and LA find themselves stuck because they dropped out of university (or never even started) in order to pursue their tech creating dream.  This is great until you see the points system that our immigration systems rate you on which focus points on how much work experience you have, how many tertiary degrees you have and how much money you have, which scores unfavourably for many incredible young tech entrepreneurs.  We only have to look at our current non degree holding home grown stars, Sam Morgan, Peter Beck and Sir Peter Jackson to see that our current scoring system can let incredible people fall through the cracks.

The GIVs offer a way to rank potential candidates on merit which can include their local and global impact potential.  How this is measured however is still very much being debated, but I think it needs to ensure that those who do not qualify under our existing visa schemes but have potential for impacting New Zealand enterprises have a visa entry route which recognises their unique skills.

If they can come up with a scheme that is fair but flexible, I think it is a great idea.

Fallow on Immigration

June 29th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Brian Fallow writes in the NZ Herald:

The net inflow of migrants hit a new high in the year ended May, eliciting ritual denunciation from Winston Peters.

“The Government is condemning more Kiwis to the dole queue and to a life in rental houses,” he said. “Soon there will be anger as so many miss out on the Kiwi dream of home ownership, especially in Auckland, where over half the record net 57,800 migrants are settling.”

The first point to make in response to this is that the statisticians’ definition of permanent and long-term migrants includes Kiwis.

Indeed. In the last 12 months 29,510 New Zealanders “migrated” home.

In the latest year there was a net loss of 5800 New Zealand citizens, compared with an average net loss of 26,600 a year over the previous 10 years, and 13,200 in the year to May 2014. Harder times across the Tasman explain a lot of that.

In 2012, the net outflow of New Zealanders was 38,910, so it is now one sixth of that.

So who are the immigrants Peters is keen to scapegoat?

A breakdown of visa types gives us a clue. Of the 80,000 visas issued in the past year, 35,100 – 44 per cent – were work visas. That is 13,800, or 65 per cent, more than four years ago, before the need to rebuild our second-largest city boosted demand for people in the building trades. By all accounts Auckland could do with some of them too.

There are definite areas where not enough Kiwis are available for work.

Student visas are the second-largest category, representing 32 per cent of all visas issued in the past year. The total of 25,600 issued in the past year is up from 17,600 in the previous year and 9500 10 years ago.

“Indian student arrivals of 12,100 are double the previous year and Chinese student arrivals were up 22 per cent to over 7000 in the past year,” Peters said.

Whatever his source for these numbers was, it was not Statistics NZ, which put the number of student visas issued to Indians at 10,100 and to Chinese at 4800.

“Young Kiwi workers are also missing out on low-skilled jobs as foreign students, most of whom want permanent residence, take over in supermarkets, service stations and hotels,” Peters said. “Why should foreign students be allowed to work at all? Our supposed export education industry is supposed to be bringing in foreign exchange.”

Well, it is. A report by Infometrics on the economic impact of the international education industry estimates that gross spending, including tuition fees, rose 10.4 per cent last year to $2.75 billion, the majority of it in Auckland.

“About 14,500 full-time-equivalent jobs are directly attributable to international education delivered within New Zealand, with another 15,700 jobs being indirectly supported through the industry’s upstream and downstream multiplier effects,” it said.

We make a substantial profit from offering international education. A great income earner.

Is it time to tighten up migration?

March 3rd, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Immigration is set to hit record levels, pushing up house prices over the coming year, but Prime Minister John Key believes immigrants’ skills are needed and enough houses are “in the pipeline” in Auckland to meet the influx.

In their monthly update to ministers yesterday, Treasury officials said net permanent and long-term (PLT) migration in the year ending March was “likely to exceed our [December] Half Year Update forecast of a peak of 52,400”.

Inflows were expected to start easing in the first half of this year, and the impact on house prices and household wealth appeared more subdued in this cycle, possibly because of the concentration of 20-34-year-olds in the numbers.

“However, it is possible that the strength in PLT arrivals recently may begin to impact housing demand more significantly over the coming year,” they warned.

Key said there was no question immigration has some impact on housing.

“Generally, the Reserve Bank takes the view that net migration is positive for the economy but has some spill-over implications.”

 

I agree with the Reserve Bank that net migration is positive for the economy. And we have policy settings that migrants need to have skills and/or wealth. It is actually quite hard to qualify for residency.

However while the medium to long-term effects of migration are positive, the rate of migration can and does put pressure on infrastructure such as housing, schools, hospitals. That is not an argument against migration, but for making sure that the net inwards flow is at a reasonable rate.

The challenge is the net flow in is made up of four components. They are:

  1. Residents leaving NZ – Government has no control
  2. NZers returning to NZ – Government has no control
  3. Australians migrating to NZ – Government has no control
  4. Other nationalities migrating to NZ – Government has control

The first three components are all strongly increasing net migration to NZ. This is going to put some stress on infrastructure. So the question is should the Government make it harder for people in category (4) to migrate?

For NZ’s long-term good, the settings are at the right level. Overall migrants boost NZ’s economy and skills. But for a few years, the Government may want to consider increasing the number of points needed to gain residency, as a way to reduce the overall level of net migration to keep it to a level which won’t strain the infrastructure too much.

Increasing the points may not have much impact. The other three components are strongly supporting net migration, and the Government has no control of those. And it is a good thing fewer Kiwis are leaving, and more are returning home. But there will be infrastructure challenges.

David Howells on immigration and prosperity

March 2nd, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

ACT had a competition for people to submit their vision or views on what we could change to make New Zealand better. The five finalists presented their essays to the ACT conference, and delegates voted on the one they most thought deserved to win. There were questions from the audience, to which the five finalists had to answer and respond to.

All five did well and won $500, with the winner getting $3,000. That was David Howells for his speech. He probably got the most hostile questions but answered them well, and still won the vote. I thought his essay deserved a wider audience.

More Immigration, More Prosperity

New Zealand is a country built on immigration. We have more ethnicities in New Zealand than there are countries in the world – quite an achievement for a population of only 4-and-a-half million.

Our immigration regime has come a long way:

In 1944 New Zealand abolished the poll tax, which for decades was a discriminatory tax imposed on all new Chinese immigrants. In 1987, New Zealand came to the realisation that not just British citizens would make good immigrants. We have now stopped accepting immigrants based on British heritage, and now look at ones skills, and family connections when considering new immigrants.

This has led to people from a much wider range of nationalities being allowed to become New Zealanders.

But despite this, today in our schools, in history and social studies classes, it is always taught that New Zealand is bicultural nation.

Perhaps this is a useful description of New Zealand society in the 1800s. But history can only explain how things were – it is not a guideline for how things ought to be.

The idea of New Zealand being a bicultural society is outdated. We need to recognise New Zealand is home to diverse range of cultures. 

In our economy, immigrants bring skills to the workforce that New Zealand companies need. 

With technology advancing and more free trade agreements accelerating the process of globalisation, it is impossible for governments to be able to predict our future competitive advantages or even what skills will be in demand in the future.

In a globalised world it is now more important than ever to have flexible labour markets. An open immigration system is key for future New Zealand business to be able to get the skills they need to grow.

Immigrants also own businesses that employ New Zealanders. They work hard, sometimes in multiple jobs, to give themselves and their family opportunities that they might not have in their home country.

There are many opponents to our current, relatively open, immigration regime. The objections are not unique to New Zealand – the same arguments are used as justification to oppose immigration all over the world.

 On the surface the opposition to immigration often comes across as plain xenophobia. But underpinning what on the surface looks like simple xenophobia, are some of the oldest economic ideas around.

It is often expressed in the form; if an immigrant gets a job, or purchases some capital asset – it is at the expense of a local. This is the same kind of economic thinking that views the economy as a finite amount of pie, where for someone to get a bigger slice, someone else has to have smaller slice.

Immigrants do not take the “pie” from locals – they help grow it for all of us. 

The benefits immigrants bring are not just economic. Diversity enriches society by exposing us to a broader range of people with backgrounds, perspectives and languages we might not otherwise encounter. (And my god – fantastic food!).

And while we should be proud of our relatively open immigration system – there is more to be done.

I know of small businesses having to jump through burdensome regulatory hoops with immigration services to prevent good employees from being sent back to their home county.

I recently met a man who has lived and worked here in New Zealand for two years. He is seeking a better quality of life for himself and his family. But he has not even seen his wife or son for two years – waiting for immigration to grant them visas.

This kind of sacrifice is admirable – but it shouldn’t need to be made.
If you are willing to come New Zealand, stand on your own two feet and work hard, you should be allowed to come, bring your family, and stay.

I want New Zealand’s immigration system to become even more welcoming to immigrants and new-New Zealanders. An open immigration system will be a cornerstone of future prosperity and enrich our communities.

The benefits of immigration

February 24th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

From Twitter:

Top U.S. companies founded by 1st/2nd gen immigrants:

1 Apple
2 Google
3 IBM
4 Oracle
5 Facebook
6 Amazon
7 Qualcomm
8 EMC
9 eBay
10 VMware

Steve Jobs’ father was born in Syria.

Sergey Brin was born in the USSR.

Herman Hollerith’s father was born in Germany (IBM).

Larry Ellison’s father was Italian.

Mark Zuckerberg’s great-grandparents were immigrants

Jeff Bezos’ father was a Cuban immigrant.

Worth remembering when some people rail against immigrants.

Winston back to Chinese bashing again

November 24th, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Streamlining rich Chinese into the country because they hold a Chinese-issued credit card has been slammed by New Zealand First leader Winston Peters who said it will lead to corruption here.

But the tourism industry welcomes the new move as knocking down a barrier to growth in getting wealthy Chinese to come to New Zealand.

Immigration New Zealand’s agreement with China UnionPay allows holders of Platinum and Diamond UnionPay credit cards to provide evidence of their “premium card” status instead of information on their employment and source of funds, as part of the visa application process.

UnionPay is the only domestic bankcard organisation in China.

In the joint statement by New Zealand and China last week, the Chinese side welcomed “New Zealand’s recent visa facilitation package for Chinese citizens visiting New Zealand for tourism and business, and is willing to work with the New Zealand side to create more favourable conditions for bilateral personnel exchange.” Chinese visa applicants are also required to meet other requirements such as being of good character and having an acceptable standard of health.

This is about making it easier for Chinese nationals to visit NZ, not making it easier for them to gain residency here. This is a crucial difference.

Nationals from many countries can visit here without needing a visa at all. Is Winston complaining that British people can visit NZ and not need to prove they have a job and a source of funds? Of course not, as they’re not Asian.

Tourism Industry Association (TIA) New Zealand chief executive Chris Roberts welcomed the new credit card immigration policy.

He said the TIA had been advocating strongly to the government for more streamlined visa processing for high-value Chinese visitors.

It is one of the key growth opportunities identified in the industry’s Tourism 2025 framework.

“The Tourism 2025 goal of almost doubling total tourism revenue to $41 billion a year can only be achieved by the public and private sectors co-operating to remove barriers to growth and seizing opportunities.

“Smart schemes to target high-value Chinese travellers to get the visas they need as quickly and easily as possible will make New Zealand more internationally competitive for this crucial market, which has grown quickly to become our second-biggest source of visitors after Australia.”

So again this is about tourism, not migration.

However, Peters said Prime Minister John Key had not learnt lessons from the Kim Dotcom affair which had cost the country “a packet in the courts” and tarnished both the government’s and our international reputation”.

“Instead of saying we have a rigorous immigration programme and policies capable of doing the job . . . he’s now transferred that right onto another country and another country’s system.

“If holding some sort of platinum card is going to be the criteria then you hugely expose yourself and leave yourself open to corruption.

Winston has tried this before. I blogged on almost the same issue in 2012. Nationals from 57 countries can visit NZ without even needing a visa. Chinese nationals do still need a visa, and have to provide

  • Proof of good health
  • Proof of good character
  • A proper purpose for visiting
  • Proof they plan to leave
  • Proof of funds to cover stay in NZ ($1,000/mth), and departure
  • Not have a serious criminal record

They still have to fill in a 16 page form. All this change is that having a platinum credit card is an acceptable substitute for a statement from an employer about what their earnings are.

Winston knows this of course, but can never resist an opportunity to scaremonger.

Boris backs Kiwis to work in the UK

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

The Herald reports:

London Mayor and parliamentary hopeful Boris Johnson is backing a report by a British think-tank which calls for New Zealanders and Australians to freely live and work in Britain.

Mr Johnson has written a foreword to a Commonwealth Exchange report which calls for Kiwis and Australians to be given the same rights to travel and work in the United Kingdom as people from the European Union. …

It recommended establishing a “bilateral mobility zone” which would allow Kiwis and Aussies to travel and work in Britain and Britons to travel and work reciprocally in those two countries. A similar argument was made for Canada.

Sounds a great idea.

For those who argue NZ would be swamped by British workers, well look at the benefits of CER where we have an open labour market with Australia.

It won’t happen of course, but is a good idea.

Dotcom should not be deported for speeding

November 4th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reported:

Immigration NZ says it may need to consider whether it has to deport Kim Dotcom.

Officials were this morning making contact with the police to confirm a previously unknown dangerous driving conviction, revealed by the Herald today.

The conviction was not declared by Dotcom on his application for residency even though it came from a speeding incident just eight months before he made his application to live in New Zealand.

Applicants for residency are obliged to make a full disclosure of previous convictions and seek a “special direction” waiver.

Dotcom did so for a hacking conviction in 1994 and an insider trading conviction in 2001 – but there was no reference to the dangerous driving charge, to which he pleaded guilty on September 14, 2009.

He had been travelling at 149km/h in a 50km/h zone in Albany, on Auckland’s North Shore.

Travelling 99 km/hr over the speed limit is near homicidal, in a 50 km/hr area. I will sometimes drives in excess of the speed limit when I judge it safe to do so, but to drive at three times the speed limit is very very dangerous.

In the residency form, Dotcom signed in June 2010, there is a clear tick in the box declaring no dangerous driving conviction.

The Herald obtained details of the conviction from the North Shore District Court, where it was recorded under the name “Kim Schmitz”, the identity under which Dotcom was born.

Did he use his old name, to try and hide the conviction?

In a written statement, Immigration NZ admitted it had no idea Dotcom had a conviction for dangerous driving until it was told by the Herald.

The statement said Immigration NZ didn’t know because it never did a police check.

Well they should. But of course the onus is on the applicant to tell the truth.

The statement read: “Immigration New Zealand (INZ) can confirm that Kim Dotcom did not declare a dangerous driving conviction in New Zealand.

“Normally there is no requirement for a New Zealand Police check if an applicant has lived in New Zealand for less than 12 months at the time their residence application is lodged and there are no reasonable grounds to suspect the applicant has been charged with an offence in New Zealand.”

The statement said it did not check because “Mr Dotcom did not declare any convictions in New Zealand and had been living here for less than 12 months”.

As Dotcom has become such an unpopular figure, it is tempting to say that his failure to disclose his dangerous driving conviction should be used as grounds to rescind the residency decision.

But these decisions should not be based on popularity. If the non-disclosure was a genuine oversight, then the question should be would he have been declined residency in 2010, if it had been disclosed? I doubt, it would have affected the decision.

However if the non-disclosure was deliberate, and the use of his old name part of a strategy to conceal the conviction, then that would be grounds to review the residency decision.

So accidental non-disclosure of the dangerous driving conviction should not lead to the residency being cancelled. But a deliberate concealment could be grounds.

Jamie Whyte on Immigration decisions

July 19th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

ACT Leader Jamie Whyte blogs:

But politicians’ involvement with would-be immigrants is clearly a problem.  Maurice Williamson, Phillip Field, Shane Jones, Damien O’Connor and now Jonathan Coleman have been drawn into controversy.

Even if there has been no improper behaviour, the appearance of politicians doing favours for wealthy would-be immigrants undermines public confidence not only in our immigration system but in politics more generally. People will suspect that politicians are doing favours for these would-be immigrants in return for favours they have done the politicians.

The problem has a simple solution. The Minister of Immigration should have no involvement in the immigration application process. Nor should any other MP. Immigration applications are an operational matter. Political interference should play no role in them.

When exceptions to standard policy need to be considered, this should be done by qualified members of the Immigration and Protection Tribunal (IPT), which already exists. The IPT may need a wider remit to approve exceptional cases. That is a proper matter for politicians to decide. But once the rules and processes are established, politicians should play no further role in the matter. They should have no say in individual cases.

I think there is merit in this suggestion. Either a Judge, or members of a tribunal, should make decisions on cases that fall outside policy. You need the flexibility to make decisions on individual cases, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a Minister.

Even the Socialists are beating Labour up on immigration

June 12th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Tom Peters at World Socialist writes:

Over the past month, New Zealand’s main opposition Labour Party, the Greens, the Maori nationalist Mana Party and the right-wing NZ First Party, have intensified their xenophobic campaign to restrict immigration, particularly from China and other Asian countries. The parties are seeking to make this a central issue in the lead-up to the September election.

Labour, which lost the 2011 election by a landslide, is floundering in the polls and widely seen as no different to the conservative National Party government. Since National was first elected in 2008 it has implemented a series of brutal austerity measures to impose the global economic crisis on working people, leading to soaring living costs and increasing poverty and inequality. Labour essentially agrees with the government’s attacks—including thousands of public sector job cuts, health and education cuts, and an increase in the regressive Goods and Services Tax.

Now Labour and its allies are whipping up hostility to immigrants, blaming them for the deepening crisis, particularly the soaring cost of housing. 

So the Socialists and the Greens are both attacking Labour for their attempt to blame house prices on immigrants.

They also attack Mana:

Depicting Chinese immigrants as a new colonising force, intent on dominating NZ’s economy, provides the rationale to support the US build-up to war against China, or else take a neutral position. At the same time, the campaign reflects the material interests of layers of big business and the petty bourgeoisie, including the Maori elite represented by Mana, who see foreign investors as rivals.

Mana’s statements are further proof that there is nothing remotely progressive about the party, which uses national chauvinism and racial identity politics to divide the working class and block any challenge to the capitalist system.

I think Mana gave up being progressive when they took the $3 million from Mr Dotcom.

Logie defends immigrants from Labour and NZ First

June 10th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Green MP Jan Logie blogs:

Over the last couple of weeks Labour has suggested immigrants are causing our housing crisis and that we should cut the numbers of immigrants coming in, NZ First has suggested too many unskilled migrants are coming and taking our jobs and National wants us stop those boat people. All this adds up to unhelpful and potentially stigmatising conversation.

I wonder how Penjun and his family and all the other migrants like them are feeling in NZ right now.

Immigration seems to be a difficult topic to discuss sensibly. It has been a trigger for racism here in the past and very worryingly we are seeing the rise of racist political parties in Europe targeting migrants. I don’t want to see such conversations leading to anyone in this country feeling as if they are not valued or are missing out because another group of people is getting more.

Let me say clearly now: the housing crisis is not the fault of recent migrants; the unemployment rate is not the fault of recent migrants; and asylum seekers are not a threat to us.

Good to see Logie call Labour out on this.

On the issue of asylum seekers, I don’t think anyone says they are a threat. I think people are saying we don’t want to encourage people to try and sail to NZ, as more often than not they’ll drown doing so.

Labour in full retreat on immigration

June 5th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

David Cunliffe yesterday on Radio Live:

SEAN PLUNKET:        So you’re going to leave family reunification completely out of it?

DAVID CUNLIFFE:     Yep, we’ll leave family reunification out of it.

And Stuff last week:

Labour is taking aim at work visa and family reunification categories as it eyes ways to limit the flow of migrants to the country. …

Labour immigration spokesman Trevor Mallard said there would be no change to the rights of Australians to come here, or to quotas under agreements such as with Samoa or the annual refugee quota.

Instead, it would target the numbers getting work visas, which according to Statistics NZ were granted to about 30,000 last year, as well as visas in the family reunification category.

This is policy on the hoof. They’re making it up every day.

If they can’t even handle opposition, how could they handle Government?

UPDATE: Cunliffe this morning still denying the comments of his own immigration spokespersoon. On ZB with Rachel Smalley he said:

I mean he has frankly made up the suggestion that we would decrease the Samoan or Pacific quotas or cut back on family reunification.  At no stage have we said we would do any of that and frankly it’s not our policy.

The Stuff article makes it very clear they were talking family reunifications.

It seems the only category they’re willing to now concede they may change is investor migrants. We have only a few dozen of those a year. You could scrap the category entirely and impact migration by around 0.5% only.

So what will Labour cut?

June 3rd, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Labour is claiming that it will cut migrant numbers by somewhere between 20,000 and 35,000 to get net migration from 40,000 to somewhere between 5,000 and 20,000.

Most of the change in net migration is about fewer people leaving NZ, and Kiwis returning home. So to get net migration down to level Labour talks about would require massive cuts in some categories. Labour should front up and detail where they will cut, and how much.

Let’s look at the various categories of residency visas granted.

Business/Skilled

Last year was 20,007. This is already 27% lower than under Labour in 2007/08. They’d have to ban all skilled migrants to get to the levels they talk about

Humanitarian/International

Last year was 3,262. Is Labour going to cut our refugee quota, or just the skilled migrants quota?

The Samoa quota had 938 people enter on it last year. Will Labour reduce that? If they can’t name where they will reduce and how much, then how do we know?

Parent/Sibling/Adult Child stream

Last year was 4,401. This is already 15% lower than under Labour in 2007/08.

Family Sponsored

Last year was 11,291. This is 19% higher than in 2007/08. You could make some changes here but if you took it back to 2007/08 levels that is only a reduction of 1,832 – less than 10% of what Labour needs.

Almost all of these categories are people bring partners in. So will Labour ban migrants from having partners come to NZ? How would they reduce the level in this category?

Total

The total number of migrants in 2012/13 was 38,961. Labour is saying they will effectively cut that in half. But in their last year in office it was 46,077 – 15% higher than it currently is.

The reality is that we do not have more migrants being allowed into New Zealand. In fact it has reduced.

What we do have more of are three types of temporary entrants. They are:

  1. Temporary work visas. The Christchurch rebuild is the major factor here. Is Labour going to reduce these, and slow up the rebuild?
  2. Student visas. These generate billions of dollars in tuition fees and also domestic spending. You’d have to be nuts to cap these, as they subsidise the cost of tertiary education for Kiwis.
  3. Working holidays. We have agreements with many countries to allow young citizens from their countries to work here for a year or so on working holidays. We would have to break our agreements to reduce these, and that would mean young Kiwis would lose the right to do working holidays in those countries as they are generally reciprocal.

So everytime Labour says we have too many migrants coming to New Zealand, make sure you ask where will they cut, and how much. That is a question they won’t or can’t answer.

UPDATE: Trevor Mallard is saying they may make changes in the investor category. Well that is fewer than 100 migrants a year. So once again, how will they get net migration down to 20,000? If you say that is where it should be, you need to explain how. Otherwise it is just pandering to fear.

Rudman on Cunliffe

May 29th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Brian Rudman writes in the Herald:

Labour leader David Cunliffe has tried just about everything to put a dent in the Government’s poll ratings without success. He’s now dipping into Winston Peters’ murky bag of tricks and started pointing the finger at migrants as the cause of our woes.

He wants to cut back from projected migration levels of over 40,000 in “total flows” to the “zone of between 5000 and 15,000”.

He wants “enough new migrants to fill our skill gaps but not so many that it overwhelms our housing market or the ability of our schools and our hospitals to cope”. In the case of hospitals, he seems to be forgetting that without migrants as staff at all levels, they would gradually grind to a halt.

At least he’s stopping short of the New Zealand First proposal that migrants spend their first five years in purgatory in Wanganui or Ruatoria or some other remote outpost before being allowed into the big smoke of Auckland, where most migrants want to live.

Labour’s vote is so low, they’re now trying to steal votes off Winston. Hey, I’m in favour if it knocks Winston below 5%!

To his credit, Mr Key has resisted the mob, telling 3 News that “New Zealand is a country that has been built on migration. We’ve done very well out of it and I think we should be very cautious about taking knee-jerk steps”.

Praise for Key from Rudman – very rare.

Virginia Chong, the president of the New Zealand Chinese Association, calls Labour’s policy “scaremongering”, pointing out the obvious that the answer to rising house prices is to build more homes.

Yep, and for that you need more land available for housing as land is the biggest component of house prices.

Without migrants, our hospitals, about which Mr Cunliffe frets, would be so short of staff, there’d be patient queues stretching around the Auckland Domain. The All Blacks wouldn’t be world champions, and my favourite band, the Auckland Philharmonia, would be but a pale shadow of its present self. And goodness knows where we’d dine out.

And the level of migration is pretty much unchanged from when Cunliffe was Immigration Minister. In fact fewer residency visas are being granted. The big change is fewer Kiwis are leaving, more Kiwis are returning home and more Aussies are wanting to live and work here.