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Some Thoughts On the Election - 2. Immigration

On the other hand, Wollaston’s “tweaking of immigration settings” is beginning to give the appearance of a Minister totally out of touch with reality. Net migration is currently topping 70,000, and New Zealand has had the highest proportion of  temporary workers in the OECD over recent years. 114,000 in this category has coincided with an increase in unemployment to 139,000, 91,000 of whom are neither in education, employment or training.

It is no wonder that Winston has a permanent grin - everything he has predicted over several election cycles has come to pass, and he appears to have a free run into the election to dictate terms to National as regards his participation, should they even be in a position to negotiate post–election.

Even the Treasury clique who have endeavoured to ignore him over recent years are now singing from the same song-sheet as regards the need for far greater attention to the effects of these immigration statistics on the long-term prospects of young Kiwis. They put their toes into the water in a recent report released under the OIA:

“So we think there is reason to be concerned about the impact that some of our current immigration policies may be having on the labour market prospects of lower-skilled New Zealanders," it warned.  

But the problem for Government is that less than a quarter of the work visas issued, including the temporary, student, and the working holiday ones, are subject to work tests. Tweaks won’t make this problem go away, any more than attempts to denigrate through references to drugs, and attitudes. And meantime the dependence on temporary work visias to undertake almost all rural seasonal work in particular is becoming entrenched, and permanent. Traditional access to work experience through undertaking these tasks  is becoming out of reach for our under-educated youth. Government policies are are allowing this to happen. 

As Bernard Hickey says today in the newly available Newsroom website, Winston’s gleam is ever brighter because

“One of the most eye-opening correlations over the last two decades is that between long term net migration and New Zealand First’s polling.”



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