The New Zealand Initiative’s immigration report The New New Zealanders glosses over some of the key immigration challenges that our nation is facing says Labour’s Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway
“While I welcome the report and congratulate the New Zealand Initiative for engaging in one of the most significant current political issues, the report does seem to gloss over important subjects in order to reach a predetermined conclusion.
“The rapid growth in population that New Zealand is experiencing places significant pressure on infrastructure, particularly in Auckland. Not only is immigration one of the key drivers of this population surge, it is the only factor that Government can control. Easing population pressures is absolutely vital as is introducing policies such as KiwiBuild that allow our infrastructure to catch up.
“The report fails to address the inequity of outcomes for different kinds of migrants. People who transition from temporary work or student visas to residency and citizenship earn considerably less and have poorer employment prospects than people who come as skilled migrants. Those people are also incredibly exposed to exploitation from unscrupulous employers.
“The report concludes that, although immigration may reduce wages in the short term, everything will work out OK in the long run. That is cold comfort for people who can’t make ends meet and are struggling to keep up with the pace of economic change.
“Labour is developing policy that will stay true to our tradition of supporting a skills-based immigration system while facing up to the very real challenges that the current immigration settings have created,” says Iain Lees-Galloway.