How many people do we want?

Eric Crampton blogs:

, population 15 million. That’s the target for 2060 in a new NZIER working paper making the case for substantial New Zealand population growth.

The paper says:

A population target of 15 million by 2060 (2.5 times that now projected) is not only “feasible”, it is also likely to be sufficient to achieve the benefits from scale. It would allow four main cities with a population of three million or more each. This would foster competition within New Zealand to create conditions amenable to building local firms that can foot it internationally. It would bring New Zealand’s population into close proximity of the Netherlands (but still nowhere near the population density of that country).

Eric proposes:

Potential policy moves that encourage , and especially higher-skilled immigration? First on my list would be immediate permanent residence for any foreign student completing a Bachelor’s degree at one of the New Zealand universities. This will not only boost foreign student enrolments (helping to cross-subsidize domestic students) but also provide a nice selection mechanism for those who are most likely to really make a contribution. We could also draw in high skilled American migrants by not losing our comparative advantage in civil liberties and sane copyright legislation.

Complementary to increased immigration would be fixing local land use policy that forces up housing prices, but that’s also well worth doing for its own sake.

I broadly agree. I’m not sure about 15 million, but think 10 million is a reasonable target.

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