Labour’s immigration policy

The Herald reports:

Prime Minister Bill English’s strenuous opposition to ’s proposed “breather” in draws a clear battle-line in the election.

Labour leader Andrew Little wants net migration cut from the current 70,000 a year by up to 30,000 – mainly targeting overseas students – saying it will relieve pressure on Auckland road by 20,000 cars and 10,000 houses annually.

But English says Labour’s policy is based on a misunderstanding of the export education sector – 70 per cent to 80 per cent of such students left New Zealand at the end of their study, the students did not buy houses and not many had cars.

English also said the cut would stall the momentum in the economy which was producing 10,000 new jobs every month.

Some of the changes proposed by Labour are worthwhile, such as encouraging more degree based courses. But there is no way they will see a reduction of 30,000 a year – and if they did, it would have a significant economic impact.

Migration has cycles, and the projections are net migration will start reducing soon. Better to have this done gradually and in a sustainable way.

English rubbished the so-called “Kiwibuild visa” outlined by Labour to address demand for skilled workers under Labour’s policy to build 100,000 houses in 10 years.

Residential construction firms would be able to hire a foreign worker for three years without testing the market for Kiwi tradesmen if they took on an apprentice for every worker hired.

The Kiwibuild visa would be limited to 1500 at any one time, and additional foreign workers would have to be hired under current rules.

“Mate, who thinks you can build 100,000 houses with another 1000 people?” English said to an Australian reporter who questioned it. “It is completely unrealistic.”

So each person builds 100 houses each – that is about as realistic indeed as many of Labour’s policies!

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