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Time for fresh approach on immigration

Latest figures showing another record year for immigration underlines the need for an urgent rethink on how this country can continue to absorb so many people, says Labour Leader Andrew Little.

“New Zealand needs immigrants and is all the better for the skills and rich culture they bring. But now, more than ever, we need to pause and rethink our current settings. We need to ensure the people arriving have the skills we need and that our cities can cope with any increase in numbers.”

Over the March year nearly 72,000 more people settled in New Zealand according to Statistics New Zealand.

“Nearly half – 35,772 – decided to live in Auckland putting the city under even more pressure. That’s 4,500 more people than for the same period the year before and equates to demand for about 12,000 homes alone. Auckland only built around 7,000 homes last year.

“National has failed miserably to manage this. They have failed to provide the houses and other vital infrastructure that the expanding population needs.

“We can’t continue to bring so many people into our biggest city which is already suffering from traffic congestion, overcrowded schools and soaring house prices.

“We know many businesses agree. The latest MYOB survey shows 43 per cent of small and medium-sized businesses want immigration tightened.

“Labour will reduce immigration numbers, better match migrants with the skills our industries need, accelerate investment in vital infrastructure and build the houses that a growing population needs.

“National’s tinkering with immigration settings won’t make a difference. We need a fresh approach and only a change of government will do that,” says Andrew Little.