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Paul Spoonley calls for the Govt to reduce migration 'a bit' to strike a better balance between incentivising migrants & unemployed locals to help grow regional NZ

Paul Spoonley calls for the Govt to reduce migration 'a bit' to strike a better balance between incentivising migrants & unemployed locals to help grow regional NZ

By Jenée Tibshraeny

Massey University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor is the latest high profile New Zealander to call for the Government to ease back on the number of migrants it’s welcoming to the country.

Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley says migrants are filling desperately needed skills shortages, stimulating the economy and contributing to regional development, but he’s concerned levels are getting out of balance.

Speaking to ahead of the release of his book, ‘Rebooting the Regions’, on September 16, Spoonley says: “Our traditional target has been a 1% net gain, which would be 47,000 [migrants]. At the moment it’s 69,000, so you could bring the numbers back a little bit and that would help… focus attention on what we need to do for locals.

“There’s a group of New Zealanders who are disconnected from the workforce in our regions, and they’re stuck in the regions.

"They don’t have the money, or the inclination, or the opportunity to go somewhere else for work. And if you left that, then there are some regions that are going to experience quite significant social - quite apart from economic - problems in the future.”

‘Migration is only part of the answer’

“If you then go to the migrant option, rather than developing the local workforce option, then you’re going to create further problems. They’re both part of the same issue and solution.

“There’s a tendency politically to play them off against one another, and there’s a tendency to blame immigrants, and they should not be blamed. They are responding to a demand that we have in New Zealand… we need them.

“…But we want to get that balance right. We certainly don’t want to favour immigrants in a way that then displaces or disrupts or disadvantages locals.”

Spoonley says the balance isn’t right.

“I think the policy settings and the way we select immigrants nationally is pretty good. It’s one of the best in the world. I wouldn’t for a moment agree with Winton Peters that we take migrants that have been rejected elsewhere. That’s simply not true.

“But the numbers are incredibly high. They’re at a historic high.”

Spoonley says we could “bring back the numbers a little bit” so that a better balance is struck between using both migrants and locals to fill jobs.

‘Population will always generate demand’

Overall, he maintains migrants play a key role in giving regional New Zealand the boost it needs, in the face of Auckland’s growth.

“Ultimately employers will stay in regions if they’ve got skilled labour supply. If they’ve got people they can employ that will in turn generate jobs in the future. You want that cycle, you want the people to stay, or people to be attracted and you want the jobs to be generated in that region.

“So population will always generate demand and you need people in that region to respond to that demand.

“If the population stagnates or goes into decline, there are a whole lot of industries, but also service that will then disappear. You need a certain number to generate demand for a hospital or a school - that’s employment as well in those regions.”

More incentives needed to boost regions

Spoonley says we need more incentives to attract migrants to the regions.

He commends the Government for increasing the points migrants must earn to come to New Zealand, from 10 to 30, if they live outside of Auckland.

Yet he maintains the Government could go further by requiring migrants to stay there for three to five years, for example.

“I think over that time, migrants would say, ‘Ok Napier or New Plymouth - it’s not a bad place. I don’t have a big Indian supermarket that I could get in Auckland, or a lot of Indian restaurants or the Sikh temple, but it’s pretty good and I’ll stay there.”

Furthermore, he says those in the regions need to develop better strategies to attract and keep migrants.

“I get very concerned about regions that are based on a small number of industries. So white gold, or black gold, or gold.”

Spoonley says regions at the mercy of industries that go through booms and busts, will also go through booms and busts, and suffer major job losses.   

“We need a very proactive, very aggressive regional policy to address those, because those are big changes that are occurring across the world.”

For example 40% to 50% of the jobs we’re doing now, won’t exist in 10 years’ time.  

Elephant in the room: ageing population

The other reality is that our over-65 population is about to double, and a large portion of retiring New Zealanders are in the regions.

Spoonley says: “When I was growing up, you’d expect 10% to 12% of the population to be over 65. We’ve already got towns that have 30% of their population over the age of 65. That age group is becoming much more dominant.

“What compounds the problem of course, is in some regions, the fertility [rate] is dropping and young people are leaving, so that ageing population becomes ever more dominant.

“There are challenges in terms of providing them with services. How do you provide a dementia ward in many regional/rural parts of New Zealand? It’s going to become an even greater issue in the future.”

Spoonley acknowledges the difficulty of funding new infrastructure projects in towns where high portions of residents are on pensions and can’t afford the higher rates necessary to develop their communities.

‘Places grow and die, so that’s not unusual’

Asked whether we should simply give up on dying communities, Spoonley says: “Places grow and die, so that’s not unusual.”

He says the Government isn’t providing as many incentives to attract people to the regions, compared to in Australia and Canada for example.

“We do that a little bit, but not enough really.”

We have to make a call: “Do we try to keep people in jobs in those regions, or do we allow them to continue to contract and possibly eventually die? It’s a big policy question.”

Spoonley says 60% of our population growth over the next couple of decades will be in Auckland.

“The growth in Auckland is understandable. It’s based on service sector jobs, it’s based on a big city economy, and we need that big city. So having a vibrant, internationally connected Auckland is actually important for all of us as New Zealanders.”

Councils have to ‘get their act together’ around the amalgamation debate

Asked about the political will to make the necessary changes to ‘reboot the regions’, Spoonley acknowledges the National Government is “very much in favour of migration and you can see why”.

Spoonley credits Regional Development Minister Steven Joyce for releasing a package aimed at creating 5000 additional jobs in the Hawke's Bay. Yet he’s interested to see how it’ll be achieved.

On a local government level, he doesn’t understand why councils in Wellington and the Hawke's Bay turned down opportunities for amalgamation within their regions.

He says they’ve opted for local democracy at the expense of a more cohesive strategy moving forward.

“They’ve got to get their act together in terms of getting a vision for that region and driving that vision forward in terms of delivering on economic ambitions, economic goals and population goals.”

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To understand why our migration policy has failed us I would recommend reading
Michael Reddell’s blog
Graph by graph statistic by statistic he completely dismantles the pro-migration 'Think Big" policy of successive governments.

These sorts of comments are made without any foundation and stated as facts
“The growth in Auckland is understandable. It’s based on service sector jobs, it’s based on a big city economy, and we need that big city. So having a vibrant, internationally connected Auckland is actually important for all of us as New Zealanders.”
Why are new migrants more vibrant than older migrants?
Why a big city economy? What about a rich city economy. That would be more interesting


I find it ironic anytime a New Zealander complains about how its migration policy has failed them considering 40,000-50,000 New Zealanders moved to Australia annually over the last 15 years.

650,000+ New Zealanders live in Australia & 1 million Kiwis live overseas in total which is the second highest nationality per capita living overseas just behind the Irish.

Yet New Zealanders complain about how NZ's migration policy has failed them?

"Think Big" migration policy? that sounds more like Australia from 2003-2016 which has grown by the total population size of New Zealand over that time.

New Zealand has had its first migration gain from Australia since 1991. The NZ population has grown by only 2 million people since 1967.

The last time NZ had a population growth rate of 2% was back in 2003.

NZ had only 5 years since 1960 of population growth rate of 2% or more (1962,1973,1974,2003 & 2016).

The highest population growth rate for NZ since 1960 was in 1962 with a population growth rate of 2.5%.

NZ never had a "think big" position on population growth like former Australian PM Kevin Rudd did for Australia.


New Zealanders move to Australia for better opportunities. It doesn't follow that a rush to replace those who left makes New Zealanders better off.


That is the same exact reason migrants move to New Zealand for better opportunities & a better life for their families as compared to the countries they migrated from.

Migrants over the last 15 years kept the New Zealand population stable when New Zealanders were moving to Australia in mass numbers.

New Zealand's population would be much older demographically without that migration over that period & the mass amounts of New Zealanders leaving for Australia or elsewhere.

Just look at the median age of different groups in New Zealand: Pakeha (41), Asian (30), Maori (24) & Pacific Islander (22).

Lets not forget either the mass numbers of New Zealanders over the last 15 years would have contributed to Australia's decline in GDP per capita.


Migrants over the last 15 years kept the New Zealand population stable when New Zealanders were moving to Australia in mass numbers
But that doesn't mean New Zealanders are going to be better off for it. Why would adding more people to a primarily land based economy, far away from it's trading partners improve the living standards of those already here? That is what governments are elected to do: look after their own citizens interests not foreigners who wish to migrate (or vested interests in the non-tradeables sector). The aging argument has been debunked (although Professor Spoonley keeps repeating it).


same old flaw in your argument as usual, these immigrants that replace kiwis age as well, they don't come here then stop aging


What One News never declared in their coverage was that Paul Spoonley has been highly critical of NZ First leader Winston Peters on his immigration stand in the past, and that Spoonley is funded by the United Nations to help the UN plan for immigration.


Foolish citizen. The government listens to nobody.


Michael Reddell

successful countries mostly make their own success, through the skills and talents of their people, the energy and dynamism of their firms, the natural resource endowments they have, and the strength of their legal and cultural institutions. Cargo cults – “there is a better lot of people in other countries, if only we could get them here” – are not the answer.…

Paul Spoonley
Spoonley - who specialises in studying immigration - says overall, the competition for migrants will only increase.

"One of the major strategies for nearly all OECD countries is going to have to be migration: you want to recruit skills, but it is also a form of population replacement," he says, especially for countries like Australia, Japan and Italy, which have already dropped below the birth rate necessary to sustain their existing populations.

And here's the bad news: Spoonley says the two big talent pools in our region, India and China, will face the same challenges and want to keep more young people at home, forcing us to try new markets.…

Massey must be a useless university? maybe they need migrants to replace the challenged academic staff?


If we were using immigration as a population replacement strategy then there would be 'points' awarded based on the number of dependent children an applicant for permanent residency was bringing with them.

The more the merrier - and in particular, extra points if committing to a region with above the national average of 65+ age cohorts..

But there aren't such points awarded to my knowledge.

So why does he and others continue to trot out the argument?

Additional paid parental leave is an alternate way to address the population replacement problem (if we have one) - and this Govt voted against it.


Interesting paper here on sloganisation and academic branding using superdiversity as a case study

Superdiversity and why it isn’t:
Reflections on terminological innovation and academic branding
Aneta Pavlenko,
Temple University…

I feel uneasy about affective rhetoric better suited for advertising than academia (radical changes, tremendous increases, hugely complex linguistic practices) and the process that transformed a newly coined word into ‘a fact on the ground’ and an academic brand.

If anything, superdiversity has been a great success: in the past few years, European agencies funded superdiversity grant proposals at the University of Jyväskylä, the University of Birmingham, and the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in Göttingen, to name but a few. This funding shows that the adepts of superdiversity were on the mark when they saw “strategic purchase in the field of social policy” (Arnaut et al., 2016a: 4) as the key advantage of the term. The slogan does indeed have strategic purchase – it is a convenient euphemism that hits the spot with European funding and governing bodies, concerned about the new migration and the management of ethnolinguistic diversity.
But then again politicians are notorious for their predilection for euphemisms and weasel words, astroturfing and doublespeak. Adepts of superdiversity are different: they strive to expose the process by which “negotiations of power become negotiations of truths, which in turn gain factuality” (Fabricio, 2014: 10) and to free us from ambiguous terms that “have considerable ideological force (and as such should certainly feature as objects of analysis)” but “should have no place in the sociolinguistic toolkit itself” (Blommaert & Rampton, 2011: 5). They would not, um, lower the threshold of publishing to impose an equally ambiguous discursive construct for purely pragmatic reasons. Or would they?

Brand name consultants often say that a great name takes reality and alters it just a little
(Colapinto, 2011). This formula also applies to superdiversity in its guise as a descriptive
term. The reality is incontrovertible: international migration reports reveal that between the years
1990 and 2013 the number of international migrants has increased by 50%, from 154 million in
to 232 million (UN DESA, 2013; WMR, 2015). What is altered is the significance of these raw
numbers on the global stage.
The analysis of global migration patterns by Czajka and de Haas
(2014) shows that while an absolute number of international migrants has increased, the world
population grew even faster, as a consequence, the proportion of global migrants has actually
decreased from 3.1% of the world population in 1960 to 2.7% in 2000. Their data also show that
in the Americas and the Pacific, the numbers of immigrants have increased but the diversity of the categories has not. These findings are echoed in recent migration reports that highlight
marked differences between the developed North, where migrants constitute 10.8% of the
population and developing regions where they constitute only 1.6% and where some countries are neither an important source nor destination for migration flows. They also show that in 2013,
51% of the world’s migrants were living in ten countries: USA, Russian Federation, Germany,
Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, France, Canada, Australia, and Spain
(UN DESA, 2013; WMR, 2015). The concentration of migrants in a “shrinking pool of prime
destination countries”
(p. 315), many of them small countries in Western Europe, led Czajka and
de Haas’ (2014) to conclude that “the idea that immigration has become more diverse may partly
reveal a Eurocentric worldview” (p. 314).
The bias becomes even more apparent when we face the fact that Europe in discussions
of superdiversity is a stand-in for Western Europe, while Eastern Europe is summarily dismissed
as its bland and irrelevant periphery.


Elephant in the room: ageing population:
This is what the australian Productivity Commission said:

"It is also a fallacy that higher immigration counteracts population ageing. Beyond an annual immigration level of around 100 000 people, the demographic benefits have been shown to diminish greatly, with migrants impacting much more on the size of the population than on its age structure. The main reason is that migrants age too! We would need to bring in increasingly more of them to ‘backfill’ the age structure over time. Indeed, the Commission calculated that to preserve the current age profile of the population, the immigration-to-population ratio would need to rise to three per cent (triple its peak of 2008-9). This would make Australia a population ‘super-power’ of 100+ million people by mid-century!"…
Julie Fry's Treasury Paper 14-10

3.6 Population ageing
Increases in net migration are sometimes suggested as a solution to the problems created by population ageing. While temporary inward migration may help mitigate the effects of population ageing, those migrants who become permanent residents will also eventually retire and increase the old-age dependency ratio (see Figure 2). Overall, the present pattern of net migration reinforces population ageing, as emigrants tend to be younger than immigrants.

In looking at results for countries and regions including Japan, Germany and Europe, the United Nations (2001) concluded that in order to materially mitigate the impacts of population ageing, flows would need to be many, many times existing population inflows from migration. Jackson (2014) is presently estimating the extent of inward migration flows that would be necessary to compensate for population ageing and outward migration in New Zealand. While exact numbers are not yet available, the same pattern holds: inflows will need to be many times existing levels to make a material impact.
Population ageing is occurring worldwide and competition for skilled migrants is expected to increase. New Zealand has some attractive features for potential migrants, but there are also negative factors to contend with, including distance and declining economic performance relative to other traditional destination countries. Taken together, these points suggest that migration is unlikely to “solve” population ageing.
Migration and Macroeconomic
Performance in New Zealand:
Theory and Evidence
Julie Fry
New Zealand Treasury Working Paper 14/10


Surprising concession by Spoonley.
He has had a very soft attitude to the immigration numbers. Unlike Michael Reddell he does not have the analytical ability to see past his nose. It is unfortunate the academic world protagonists often have the tunnel vision of their limited experience in the real world.
In the real world of an Auckland suburb with some streets over 90% Asian residents is it unreal not to expect future concerns increasing and eventually unrest.
Almost all labour should be temporary on fixed terms. However the forts surrounding student coming here with the expectation to get permanent residency not only for themselves but for one or many family members who themselves are a likely drain on current and future resources.


Eventual unrest due to what exactly?


Because humans are not born with a blank slate; their minds evolved during the Pleistocene where they lived in small monocultural groups who learned to co operate with people like themselves.…

and because people and place aren't fungible; because real incomes aren't rising for everybody and competition for shrinking resources.


Well the median income gap between Pakeha & Asians,Maori & Pacific Islanders is wide.

The only group that is anywhere near close to Pakeha in median income is Asians. New Zealand has population size similar to Ireland with a landmass the size of the United Kingdom.

Asians aren't exactly threatening mainstream New Zealand society to overthrow its government like Muslim communities are in several Western countries.

Just look at groups like (Hizb ut-Tahrir) which has called for a Muslim army to impose Sharia law in Australia. (Muslim Patrols) in Muslim neighborhoods in the UK targeting non-Muslims such as prostitutes, people drinking alcohol, couples who were holding hands, women whom they considered to be dressed immodestly, and harassed others whom they perceived as being gay.

Never heard any Asians say that its “forced assimilation" for their schoolchildren to sing the national anthem, and the citizenship pledge supporting democratic values as some Muslim groups have such as Hizb ut-Tahrir.

Look at Asian New Zealanders who are doing New Zealand proudly in sport such as Lydia Ko & Danny Lee.


China's emergence as a world power is resulting in more Chinese New Zealanders feeling a greater sense of attachment to China than to New Zealand, a study has found.

More than 94 per cent of Chinese permanent residents and more than half of those with NZ citizenship told University of Auckland researchers that they felt a greater sense of belonging and identified more with their country of origin than New Zealand.

Between 2009 and last year, the researchers interviewed 90 migrants originally from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

"An overwhelming 94.5 per cent stated they were Chinese/Taiwanese/Hong Konger, while only 5.5 per cent said they somehow felt they belonged to both New Zealand and their country of origin," the report said.

The study also found that Chinese migrants aged 15 to 44 felt significantly more attached to their homeland identity than those aged 45 and over.…

We are becoming a nation of different peoples in a shared space with no benefit to most Maori and Pakeha.
We are not all migrants. That is a mythical meme first promulgated by Lianne Dalziel in a speech.
100 Crowded Years. National Film Unit 1941


Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley says migrants are filling desperately needed skills shortages, stimulating the economy and contributing to regional development,
OIA Release
1. Chef
2. Registered nurse aged care
3. Retail manager
4. Cafe or Restuarant manager
5. ICT support manager
6. ICT Technician
7. Software Engineer
8. Early Childhood teacher
9. University Lecturer
10. Developer Programmer
11. Registered Nurse
12. Office manager
13. Baker
14. ICT Business Analyst
15. Sales and Marketing Manager
16. Resident Medical Officer
17. Secondary School Teacher
18. Accountant (General)
19. Registered Nurse (Critical Care)
20. ICT Project Manager.…

“The big adverse gap in productivity between New Zealand and other countries opened up from the 1970s to the early 1990s. The policy choice that increased immigration – given the number of employers increasingly unable to pay First-World wages to the existing population and all the capital requirements that increasing populations involve – looks likely to have worked almost directly against the adjustment New Zealand needed to make and it might have been better off with a lower rate of net immigration. This adjustment would have involved a lower real interest rate (and cost of capital) and a lower real exchange rate, meaning a more favourable environment for raising the low level of productive capital per worker and labour productivity. The low level of capital per worker is a striking symptom of New Zealand’s economic challenge.…

Kerry McDonald

The high rate of immigration is a national disaster. It is lowering the present and future living standards of New Zealanders by serious adverse economic, social and environmental consequences.

Auckland is increasingly a millstone around New Zealand’s neck: “its economy is inwardly focussed, driven by consumption, real estate and domestic services”; “measured internationally it’s performance is poor – ranked 69 of 85 OECD metros”; and “ it must shift from import to export-led, but is not a centre of export excellence or innovation” (source: The Auckland Council Plan).

Its population growth is increasing the negatives: more spending on infrastructure and government services; more agricultural land for housing; a less attractive living environment for existing residents; more demand for urban water use at the expense of more productive uses; greater population pressure on the environment generally; and an increasing dependence on the rest of New Zealand to subsidise it’s weak export performance – which reduces the living standards of everyone else.

*Kerry McDonald is a company director, chairman and advisor, with experience in a wide range of industries and other activities in New Zealand, Australia and elsewhere. He has been a listed (ASX,NZX,TSX,etc) company director since 1991 and has been involved with many business, public sector and other activities and organisations in Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere. He was New Zealand Executive of the Year, 1996.…


There was an article in the WSJ in the past few days which noted that in the US - immigrants nationally are mostly from China and India rather than the traditional Mexico.

On a lighter note apparently there is a 20 % chance that our "world" is just an illusion like the Matrix (I did check the date and it was not April the 1st) - does that mean that John Key is delusional in an illusion - Agent Smith must be mortified.


That's because more Mexicans were going back to Mexico than moving to the U.S. as American companies like Ford shifted their manufacturing base to Mexico which has been a trend since the GFC in 2008.…

Some Chinese immigrants moved to the U.S. because of "birth tourism" which their kids born in the U.S. will get instant birthright citizenship which has been abolished in Australia & New Zealand.…


Our smaller centres and rural areas have (generally) been declining in population and share of national income and wealth for forty years.
Being a bulk commodity food exporter (how long have we been saying this) is not going to make us wealthy, we need a revolution to a green sustainable model . The booming success of the Manuka honey industry shows just what people are prepared to pay for a natural high quality product.… High quality environmentally sound production of niche products for the discerning international customer along the lines of the honey industry gives a higher return and more employment. Things as simple as longline fishing instead of trawlers as well for example.
Here in the mid north we have the elite soils of the Kaikohe-Bay of Islands volcanic field and a fantastic growing climate. There's huge potential in horticulture and floriculture for export that has largely gone undeveloped. Our immigrants don't seem to be interested at all - a handful of Northern Europeans getting involved but the Chinese and Indians almost entirely absent, they used to be keen on this sort of thing. Maybe they are more urban now and haven't got a clue on the land; perhaps we need to target immigration towards people that are keen to live in rural areas and to get involved in a revolution in our countryside. Surely we've got enough chefs,taxi drivers and $2 shop operators by now.


There are probably sound reasons for regional decline but why would migrants with talent not seek clustering themselves.I can understand why someone who can earn a living at home and on line may want to live in an isolated area or region but such people would be spoiled for choice?


We do have a lot of immigrants in our area, Kerikeri in particular, so there doesn't seem to be an aversion to isolated small towns per se. These are mostly European or North American with a sprinkling of Asian and South American. What I do find remarkable is that the obvious opportunities that abound here are not being taken up by the current crop of immigrants. They do seem to gravitate towards the cities and into services that have little or possibly negative contribution to the nation's wealth as well as putting severe strain on housing and other infrastructure. What's the point of that?


Asked about the political will to make the necessary changes to ‘reboot the regions’, Spoonley acknowledges the National Government is “very much in favour of migration and you can see why”.

Corrin Dann
you don't want to get immigration down , to fall though, do you. I just got to say something. I saw you in a speech after the budget and you were in a big room of business people, now some of those were the biggest business minds of the country and you stood up and said: “don't worry about treasuries figure the estimation that it will go back to 12000, you were confident the figure was going to be a lot higher than that.

I just think it is likely to be higher than that

Corrin Dann
But it's like telling them you wanted immigration to be up. You were telling them “ don't worry the demand will be there, the economies going to stay there, that's what's keeping New Zealand affloat

No, what I like about the fact that migration is strong is that I think that it reflects both returning Kiwis and that it shows they have confidence in New Zealand and that we have an open economy, but personally I think New zealand is a much more successful country/ for that.…

There is a danger that a sector of the economy is being augmented that is totally reliant on a small domestic economy. Not only do these industries have limited potential for per-capita growth but ‘deriving growth via factor inputs such as labour places pressure on infrastructure such as transport and land supply, and ultimately have a further negative impact on growth (ARC 2005). Finally, as the sector gets larger, it gains in lobbying/political strength and can lobby for immigration regardless if it is the best interests of the economy as a whole. This could be seen in Canada where the development industry has lobbied hard for high sustained immigration levels (Ley and Tutchener 2001).

Dr Greg Clydesdale (PhD)

Superdiverse Auckland in Global Study

Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley, Pro Vice-Chancellor for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, says with $5.5m in funding from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) for the Waikato and Massey project on diversity in New Zealand (Capturing the Diversity Dividend, or CaDDANZ), an opportunity has arisen for Auckland to become the fourth city in the global study.…

Superdiversity The Musical…


Key's argument that migration is a sign of success, 'people have confidence in NZ', is just hogwash.

Most migrants try and trade up - go from poorer to richer countries. That's the pattern in NZ. Most migrants from Philippines, India and China. The reason we're getting more is open door policy and marketing in those countries to get them.

Wish Key would man-up and tell the truth for once. He's selling out NZ. I'm for some immigration, but not to a damaging level, as your posts clearly point out JH.


Immigrants don't "trade-down" - people move to provide a better life for themselves and their children. How many New Zealanders would emigrate to say Iraq. The " best" immigrants are able to gain entry to the US or the UK or Canada, then Australia and finally New Zealand. New Zealand is the runt of the litter and until we acknowledge this we will continue to have an inferiority complex and be unable to acknowledge that New Zealand has multiple problems that we seem unwilling to deal with.


Corin Dann
“With all the pressure put on housing put on infrastructure put on schools can you point to any evidence that long term migration lifts our productivity rate or lifts our exports or makes us more competitive as a country”
“Yes, absolutely. And there was a recent Berl report that came out last month that showed that there
was a very strong and positive contribution being made by migrants (temproary and permanent) and
and that includes taking into account health education and social services. So it’s pretty unequivocal, it’s important to keep in mind that we do have a New Zealanders first policy and when it comes to things like housing supply, it’s important that we get that right. But the contribution to our economy by migration is overwhelmingly positive.”…

The children of migrants are treated as New Zealanders therefore health and early childhood education are subtracted from the net fiscal benefit of New Zealanders.
The study compares a 35 year old migrant with a 70 year old New Zealander (is not over a life cycle)
It doesn't include infrastructure and other government services.


No, what I like about the fact that migration is strong is that I think that it reflects both returning Kiwis and that it shows they have confidence in New Zealand and that we have an open economy, but personally I think New zealand is a much more successful country/ for that."

And commenters complain about "gut feelings" and "anecdotal observations" . This is the guy that is running the country and all he has is these maybe / maybe not points? Naked emperor.


It is rare that I agree with the Prime Minister, but I do in this case. I think it is important to be clear about the benefits of immigration to New Zealand. It is a basic human trait to resist changes, but there are many strong benefits as well. Here my reasons to be positive, based on a [late] comment I made a few days ago:

This is a list of first generation immigrants who added to their communities. The list for second and third generation offspring would be endless.
Albert Einstein
George Frederic Handel
Karl Marx   ;)
Sigmund Freud 
TS Eliot
Robert Maxwell
Zaha Hadid
Kazuo Ishiguro
Mo Farah
John Hemmes
Richard Pratt
Harry Triguboff
Frank Lowy
Sian Elias
Steve Jobs
Eleanor Catton
Roy Crawford
Mahé Drysdale
Roger Hall
Alan MacDiarmid
Maurice Wilkins
Ernest Rutherford
John Clarke
Keith Park
(probably most of the commenters on
Just a few I could think of off-hand. I have probably missed some even more famous ones. More famous local ones.

The point is, all societies are enhanced by new arrivals. They bring energy, different ways of thinking, new ideas on food, art, business, sport, academia, etc. They tend to challenge the locals, help us raise our game. Lazy locals feel threatened.

First generation migrants tend to want to provide a better future for their children. So they have an outsized focus on education and personal development. There are many benefits for the migrant's families. But the main benefits are for the locals who are challenged out of their comfort zone. Civic, business, workplace and social idea pools are larger because of their involvement. They tend to be more optimistic, have confidence about the future, are prepared to invest in areas overlooked by locals, are less class-structured in their thinking. True, some may challenge boundaries we locals want preserved. And that helps us understand why we have those boundaries. We should, and do, welcome them. The ones we each know personally are fantastic people. It is only when we don't know them and pidgeon-hole them as a 'class' that we feel threatened. They are different, and that confronts some people.

Look at monocultural countries, of which there are many. They tend to be insular, usually very insular. They may be 'safe' but they are stagnant.

A lot of this comes down to your world view and personal outlook. If you view the future with fear, you will fear change and fear new arrivals. If you view the future with optimism, you will welcome new ideas, new thinking, new challenges and be prepared to put up with a few rough edges.

Importing optimism and energy is a very good thing, in my view. I think NZers are good at welcoming them, inherently understand the benefits. We are an even better country because of migrants and our children will have a better society to live in.


I agree with you David some immigration is good. But it is the level of immigration in NZ that is currently the problem. Housing, infrastructure, health etc...overload. We have to get the quantity right or it creates bottlenecks, feeds the housing bubble, creates a cultural pressure. You only have to look at Brexit. There are limits or the costs of immigration become unbearable for the electorate


Exactly. Some journalist should attempt to quantify the total number of overseas students presently studying in Auckland at providers that are not either a university or a polytechnic. In other words, what is the actual number of those persons right here right now in Auckland undertaking a Clayton's qualification. My guess is upwards of 40,000 - no wonder we have displaced so many citizens and permanent residents in terms of housing.


And who owns all the fake language schools, and fake computer schools, and where is the fee money going? While this hypothetical journalist is at it, could do a bit of research at the Companies Office.


Said hypothetical journalist could start here;


Also, I don't understand the logic of allowing the student who is here on student visa to bring his/her spouse over on a work visa. That is a clear pathway to residency, isn't it ? Why that favoured treatment ?


Here's a starting point to answer that question from a Treasury report referenced in a piece I did in June: 'What lies beyond the millions of dollars of fees we're collecting from international students'


Look at monocultural countries, of which there are many. They tend to be insular, usually very insular. They may be 'safe' but they are stagnant.
What about Japan. Japan opened up when a Shogun realised the ships which shelled his city were superior. Glover helped organised a group to go to the UK to study. They came back and that sowed the seeds of Japans industrial revolution. Now they are stuck with limits to growth as is the Western World.

In diverse communities, Putnam observed, people “hunker down”: they withdraw, have fewer “friends and confidants,” distrust their neighbors regardless of the color of their skin, expect the worst from local leaders, volunteer and carpool less, give less to charity, and “agitate for social reform more,” with little hope of success. They also huddle in front of the television. Activism alternates with escapism, unhappiness with ennui.

The Misery Of Diversity


You are quite right David about immigrants adding to the dynamism of a country. It doesn't work so well if they are in excessive numbers or are not able or willing to mix with the native population and come from cultures that are not particularly dynamic to start with. The Mexican immigration into The USA comes to mind - no offence intended. One thing I recall with pride and affection was growing up and going to school in a community where Maori and Pakeha, rich and poor mixed and knew each other well. We are now much less familiar with folk from different backgrounds and it's a real shame to see that developing within the large immigrant communities as well.


You kidding? You obviously know little about "Mexican" immigrants in the US. I had the pleasure of being a manager involved with the Los Angeles waterfront for about 5 years. It was an amazingly positive place. Tough, yes; aggressive, sometimes; edgy, often; but everyone worked hard. Most workers would arrive well before the shift started, and stay back if needed. But the only ones who ran between jobs were the 'Mexicans" (ie: Central and South Americans). They added to an already positive work environment.


You missed a few:
Adolph Hitler
Sirhan Sirhan
Osama Bin Laden
Charles Ponzi
Al Capone (and a host of other well known mafiosi)
"Just a few I could think of off-hand. I have probably missed some even more famous ones".

As for naming Cap'n Bob in your illustrious list, you might want to ask some former Mirror Group employees how their pension's going.

Spoonley - 'On a local government level, he doesn’t understand why councils in Wellington and the Hawke's Bay turned down opportunities for amalgamation within their regions.
He says they’ve opted for local democracy at the expense of a more cohesive strategy moving forward'.

The councils didn't turn down the opportunity. In Hawkes Bay, the public voted against amalgamation and in Wellington, public submissions convinced the Local Government Commission to abandon the plan.

In any case, what was the model for those regions to consider? - Auckland Council - and we wonder why amalgamation was rejected.


On Q&A Spoonley says "the whole economic side is overcooked, we need to focus on the population side"
Some see the human economy ( a subset of the worlds ecosystem). Spoonley seems to see population as a resource in itself? Presumably skills are it's anti-gravity drive?

Spoonley Did and/ or does work for the supra national UN [as in funded by]? The UN sees borders as an impediment to solving global problems.

The EU should make sure that its member states are multicultural to ensure the prosperity of the union, the UN's special representative for migration has said.

Peter Sutherland also suggested the UK government's immigration policy had no basis in international law.

He was being questioned by the Lords EU home affairs sub-committee which is investigating global migration.

Mr Sutherland, who is non-executive chairman of Goldman Sachs International and a former chairman of oil giant BP, heads the Global Forum on Migration and Development, which brings together representatives of 160 nations to share policy ideas.

He told the House of Lords committee migration was a 'crucial dynamic for economic growth' in some EU nations 'however difficult it may be to explain this to the citizens of those states'.

He said that an ageing or declining native population in countries like Germany or southern EU states was the 'key argument and, I hesitate to the use word because people have attacked it, for the development of multicultural states'.



Managerialists are becoming the new ruling class. Nations and the particular peoples who lay claim to those nations have become an obstacle to their plans . The constant insistence on deracifying European peoples in order that they be replaced (destroyed) with an 'efficient' multicultural utopia will eventually lead to civil war.


Things are a bit behind on the original planning front, but still proceeding nonetheless......

"Kalergi proclaims the need to abolish the right of nations to self-determination and outlines the break-up of nation states through the use of ethnic separatist movements and the destruction of the nations themselves through mass migration. In order for Europe to be easily controlled by the future elite, Kalergi proposes the creation of a homogeneous mixed breed population, and as to who should be the new elite? Kalergi is particularly illuminating on this point:

Although no textbook mentions Kalergi, his ideas are the guiding principles of the European Union. The belief that the peoples of Europe should be mixed with Africans and Asians, to destroy our identity, to break down traditional ways of living and create a single mixed race, is the reason for community policies that promote minority interests. The underlying motives are not really humanitarian, but because the power behind the ruthless regime dominating the EU plans the greatest genocide in history."…


Prof: Migrants needed to cover pension costs

"Overpopulation is a major concern, and that's where the number of people exceeds the ability to provide them with food, water and housing, and that occurs in many parts of the world. We live in a lucky part of the world - we're not normal," he says.

Refugees have been pouring into Europe in the past couple of years, and Prof Spoonley says it could be in the West's best interests to take them in.

"If you wonder why Angela Merkel agreed to 1 million Syrians last year, yes, it was humanitarian, but the Germans are one of the most-advanced aged societies. They need workers - that's what the million Syrian refugees was about."

New Zealand could do with some too, but not if they all settle in Auckland.

"The numbers coming into New Zealand are pretty high and they're putting a lot of pressure [on infrastructure], but we could do things to change that. One would be to direct more migrants into other parts of New Zealand, not to come to Auckland."

The National Government has long ruled out raising the age people can start collecting the pension, despite the demographic pressures, including our longer lives. Labour did have a plan to gradually increase the age of eligibility, but ditched it.…

On RNZ Professor Spoonley claimed it was agglomeration sucking people into "the golden triangle" (Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga). When asked by Katherine Ryan if it was "all worth it" Professor Spoonley didn't answer directly but went on to talk about raising the age of super he said it "makes him mad" that the government doesn't act.


Are we sure the regions are doing badly. Auckland does not look to flash to me. It has IT moguls living in mansions on Takapuna Beach. But also Otara. Whats the evidence for what Mr Spoonley claims.


If you drive through Tuatapere in Southland you see vacant buildings, but if you drive through Winton it looks very healthy. Places like Ashburton has always been well off. Now, however they seem to be getting crime from riff-raff looking for cheaper living.
Designline started in Ashburton (their hybrid buses drive around the Emperor's Palace in Japan). Eventually they had to relocate to Rolleston to be closer to the port.


Hard Stuff or MBIE puff piece?

Professor Paul Spoonley, an academic sociologist, one of the key academic advocates of New Zealand’s immigration policy, and one of the key figures in the MBIE-funded research programme CADDANZ, a programme that simply assumes the benefits of large-scale immigration. I dealt with some of his overblown economic claims here.…