So what will Labour cut?

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.


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


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?


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.

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