A property market slowdown mixed with rising interest rates is a cocktail that'll become lethal if the next government clamps down on migration, says Infometrics

A property market slowdown mixed with rising interest rates is a cocktail that'll become lethal if the next government clamps down on migration, says Infometrics

Infometrics warns we’re in too deep to turn off the tap on migration.

It says the labour shortages, already constraining New Zealand’s economic growth, will become more widespread if the next government cuts back on migration levels fast.  

The company predicts gross domestic product (GDP) growth will slip below 2.0% per annum this year, as labour shortages weigh on construction activity and households, nervous about falling house prices, cut back on spending.

Yet provided businesses can keep relying on a flow of migrant workers, Infometrics sees the economy rebounding in 2018.

Its chief forecaster Gareth Kiernan admits: “High levels of immigration have undoubtedly contributed to stresses around infrastructure and the housing market, particularly in Auckland.

“But employment growth of more than 1.0% per quarter over the last 18 months demonstrates the need for workers across the economy.

“Without these inflows of foreign workers and returning New Zealanders, businesses would have struggled to meet growing demand, and cost pressures would be even more intense in areas such as the construction and tourism sectors.”

Kiernan acknowledges it’s hard to identify a point at which a decrease in migration would really start having a negative impact.

Yet he believes cutting net migration by 30,000 a year, as Labour has suggested, is going too far.

He says a reduction of 35,000 people by 2022 would be a “pull back the economy could cope with”.

Asked how the economy would fare if sharp migration cuts were coupled with policy change to better match migrants with skills shortages, he says this wouldn’t make a difference as our migration system has improved vastly over the last 15 years and is already in good shape by global standards.

Infometrics goes on to explain the inflationary risks associated with any labour cost pressures would also be likely to compel the Reserve Bank to raise interest rates sooner than would otherwise be the case.

“Given the slowdown already occurring in sales activity and house price growth, this potential cocktail of rising interest rates mixed with a government clampdown on migration would be lethal,” Kiernan says.

“Even with modest increases in interest rates from mid-2018, medium-term growth in household spending will be constrained by high debt levels, which have climbed from 146% to a record high of 167% since 2012.

“Faster lifts in mortgage rates and debt-servicing costs would threaten a jump in forced house sales, hastening a correction in the housing market and hammering consumer confidence.”

Infometrics believes that the surge in migration over the last four years could have been more carefully managed, thereby preventing the housing market imbalances from becoming as critical as they have.

Although Infometrics expects net migration to gradually ease over the next five years, it believes a cautious approach is needed to avoid replacing one lot of problems in the economy with a completely new set.

“Ultimately, high migration levels are a positive reflection on New Zealand’s economic performance," Kiernan says.

“We’ve been able to attract and retain workers in this country because our growth over recent years has outpaced that in other developed economies."

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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Have I just witnessed a miracle?

Because this looks like a think tank saying that addressing a demand side factor might lower house prices.


So immigration does affect house prices - who'd of suspected that ?

Kiwis so dumb lah!

Immigration causing pressures on housing? Yeah Nah

What about hospital. Now will have waiting list for flu. Wait and see.

I think this discussion will continue but for now vote for Change.

The housing bubble is not caused by high levels of immigration. See the modest growth in rents and the high levels of purchasing made by investors, not owner occupiers. The bubble is caused by high levels of lending by banks. Whether immigration is 30,000 or 70,000 will not determine the direction of the housing market. It will be determined by whether the banks will continue to lend at the current crazy levels. And the answer is, they won't.


Well lets see what happens if we lose 70,000 people p/a for the next 3-5 years.

If your comment happens then wages would have to rise to attract employees and/or investment/training would occur to improve productivity all of which would create the inflation the RBNZ would like to lower the cost of past debt. It will definitely happen when Father Christmas arrives at my door on 25/12 with sackfuls of goodies I can't afford so I get them free - not holding my breath!

Rentals will become empty. Renter pays the mortgage - no renter - no payment you need to sell the rental says the Bank .
Oh... but 40% of hoses in Auckland are rentals... there would be a lot of houses for sale yeap.

Add economic downturn to the mix.... not a pretty picture!

It appears to actually be combination of things, causing a perfect storm. So you can't say it is one thing, and not another.


gee who would of though high immigration was this governments growth strategy all along,
and when the tide goes out everyone can now see the beach stripped bare


It's garbage when he says. “Ultimately, high migration levels are a positive reflection on New Zealand’s economic performance" Nah. It's a reflection that being in New Zealand is better than being in Mumbai or Yangshuo. And those folk can get into New Zealand when they can't get into USA Australia or Europe.


This man speaks the truth. We're nobody's first, second, third or fourth choice.


Also net immigration is highly influenced by the Australian economy and the benefits/restrictions placed on kiwis living in Australia. Since the mining boom went bust the demand for kiwi workers in Australia has slumped. Note this mining slump has nothing to do with how well NZ runs it economy. Australia is also increasing the restrictions (reducing benefits) for kiwis working in Australia.

So it is not surprising that NZ net immigration balance to Australia has dropped down from tens of thousand a year to being close to zero. Claiming this is a positive reflection of NZ's economic performance is wrong and Informetrics need to be called out on such garbage economic analysis.

Stephen Joyce will take it, though.

Yes it's garbage, like almost all economic 'analysis' in this country.

Sir Bob Jones once famously said that he'd hire an arts graduate any day over a finance / commerce graduate, and you can see why with the myopic, one dimensional garbage we get from economists


We need to build 50 new homes to accommodate the new immigrants and 200 more cars on our road every single day. Share our resource with them for free. This is the GDP growth we get. Do this kind of GDP growth make us wealthier? happier?


Well said. Several Asian expats openly admit to have come here primarily because of the relaxed permanency criteria. These are the ones who could not make it into the green card cut in the US, ILR in the UK or had their PR application rejected by Australia. This hardly calls for bragging rights when all we do is scrape the bottom of the talent barrel.

I wish NZ had an economist who spoke as clearly against the Auckland population ponzi as this one does against the Sydney/Melbourne ponzi's -Leith Van Onselen from Macrobusiness.com.au

Leith is excellent.
Unfortunately we are lumped with the mediocre 'Star' economist Shamubeel 'Swear on TV I'm cool ' Eaquab, who thinks large scale immigration is fine and seems overly sensitive to any one critiquing immigration, perhaps because he is an immigrant

KH - just saw your comment ....I know so many folk from the "Sub-Continent" and that rather large country in the east of the Asian continent (can't mention them, as I will be accused as "racist" !)

I know full well that NZ is the FIFTH CHOICE.... here is how it plays out .... choices are:

1. USA
2 = England/Canada
4. Australia
5. NZ

I have spoken to so many who dream of living of the USA and when they realise how difficult it is to get in, they will look at Canada and England, especially if they have relatives there. Then Australia ....and if that doesn't work, it's little ol' New Zealand !

But the real kicker for me, is the fact they use NZ as a backdoor to Australia ....and Australia got pissed off ages ago ie way back in 2001 they were on to this (not little ol' NZ though !!) ....so for people that were born and bred here, Aussie has shut us out.....and I personally don't blame them !


Immigration is our heroin.


It's a cocktail certainly Jenee. But if like real cocktails lethal if you actually can't give them up. Quite a hopeless viewpoint here actually. Kiernan is so deep in the hole he can't see over the sides.


As I posted yesterday, National has lead this rockstar up a creek and now without a paddle. High immigration and low rates has fueled a property bubble. Risk of correction causing recession. To late now to reverse the immigration levels to limit the extent of the bubble. If they do, economy tanks and probably housing market as well and country goes into recession. 9 years of short term, poll based leadership is now coming home to roost. Congratulations to National and the pro immigration housing ponzi supporters...

It's called painting yourself into a corner..... and a whole bunch of other Govt's and central banks have done it since the GFC. All the tools have been used, now just hang on.....

It's going to end in tears, and it will probably happen a lot sooner than you think. If you ever wondered by John Key bailed out of the blue like that you just have to look at what our future holds. He could see this coming down the track like a freight train and no one can stop it.

National sacrificed our values and society and environment to make itself look good and it is still lying thru its teeth about it. National vote still looking for new home - voted N last time even tho realy didn't want to and not going to cop out this year - will tick practically any box but ......

We the people have sacrificed our values and society and environment because we refuse to think any further than the $$ value of our homes, the shiny gadgets and toys and how much we can get for ourselves.

The issues aren't limited only to National. The immigration and property boom was happening in the 9 years prior as well. But, hey, all is well and good as long as we have economic growth.

The chickens are coming home to roost from the last 40 years of thinking which was merely a continuation of the last 2000 years of thinking.

Our dear leaders (no matter what their colour or side of the coin) aren't going to lead us out of it either. They led us here and we blindly followed.

Meh - have you also noticed that people think the way to 'get ahead' is to buy more properties and speculate on capital gains - while snapping up houses from young families that want to get established and live a 'normal' life. But instead they now either have to rent or buy an overvalued asset that is at risk of losing signifiant value while at the same time stressing for the next 30 years over mortgage repayments and the risk that interest rates get too high meaning they can no longer afford the home. It's a terrible situation that we've got ourselves into. And yet some say its a great thing and should be celebrated - and others like skudiv say you just need to become more greedy to win in this situation to 'get ahead' by buying more houses...what a horror...

Totally agree IO. Fear is a great tool to manipulate the masses into following a course of action that in the long run benefits a few to the detriment of many.

Ah, ignorance is bliss though isn't it.

Well, the party is only as good as the people who vote for them, and plenty have been happy to support National.
So the populace only has its self to blame for screwing our own country.

Bought and paid for echo chamber

Kiernan says:-
"Ultimately, high migration levels are a positive reflection on NZ's economic performance"

Where have we heard that before - ahah, that's right - that's success


But how can migration reflect positive economic performance when migration is our economic performance?

You can't be cause and effect at the same time.

2OG - According to the last two quarters GDP/capita has seen a fall - some groups would say we are in a recession.


Infometrics should provide a disclosure statement of the amount of government funding they receive


"..... this potential cocktail of rising interest rates mixed with a government clampdown on migration would be lethal,” Kiernan says".
There is a hint of intimidation in this comment.

Right .. . if you don not like the sound of it it must be bullying or intimidation.

Population Ponzi


I think GDP growth will slow down no matter if immigration numbers are reduced or not. Plus are we really in a skills shortage?

What I'm see at least from an IT business perspective is the biggest threat to NZ' s future is our current government which has developed a false economy through allow non residents overseas investors and money launders to plunder the housing market, hugely pushing up the cost of living and decoupling house prices in the large cities from wages.

This cause companies to collapse due to not being able to be competitive in a global market since they cannot afford to offer the salaries that people need to live in cities like Auckland and Wellington to remain competitive.

I know of at least two IT companies in Auckland that are likely to collapse in the next six months if the cost of living and the NZD are not reduced to more realistic levels.

Salaries in IT have increased a lot in 5 years. It's quite common now to make $90k-$120k a year in Auckland. My salary doubled in 5 years in NZ, but the costs are ridiculously high so many decide to go now somewhere nicer and save about the same while improving lifestyle.
It's a matter of time until many companies decide to leave Auckland to save costs and professionals decide to go somewhere else

For some in IT, programmers and developers, yes.

I have an idea- an app for comments on the media. News Hubs front people were all nodding that immigration is good.
Just what role has the media played? Did they report on the Savings working Groups verdict on 20 years of immigration? have they discovered that the Taxpayer funded Productivity Commission is set to "non-controversial"?
RNZ had comments and then cut them out - applauded by the Greens who also stopped their comments on Frogblog. Wallace Chapman "loves hearing from you" but you can't peek over the exalted one's shoulder.
What-if the media were manipulating public opinion?

Yes it's not just here that it's been happening but also in Toronto where job vacancies have shot up recently because people have found it too expensive it live there.

Is Toronto’s High Cost of Shelter Leading To Explosive Growth In Job Vacancies?


The only reason for a "skills shortage" is businesses are un-willing (or unable) to pay more. OR are un-willing to train someone up (frequently the case). There are lots of NZers with lesser skills and lots of ppl that WINZ has forced onto IT courses but cant get a job IMHO.

"2 IT companies in Auckland", those IT companies are toast then, such cannot happen in 6 months, more like 6 years. They are not alone either, some companies I know of here in Wellington are also struggling.

PS I dont know how bad late payments have got.


You've got it.
We definitely don't have a 'skill' shortage. If we did, why wouldn't we be getting the truly in demand, high productivity skills? - one quick look at the immigration skill category numbers makes this plainly evident.

What we definitely have is demand for low skilled, low productivity, low pay labor.

The scary thing is that the only way you can sustain high house prices (without FDI) is with high paid domestic labor. As soon as those industries start collapsing, it's unsustainable. Likewise, this also coincides with the collapse of low(er) wage industry.

Like I've said before, Auckland is on the way down, and fast. In my dealings with several small to medium sized manufacturers, the impression is that they are just waiting out their fixed term costs before relocating out of Auckland.

No, this isnt what I meant. There is a demand for high skills but no stomach/wish/ability to pay for it in what ever form ie pay the wage or pay for the training. I certainly know I could move tomorrow however for no more, or even less money than I earn now, um no thanks. Lots of min wage labour about already IMHO.

I dont myself think its principally down to high paid labour keeping it going though that is a small factor. The prices are (to me anyway) down to the expectation of a substantial tax free capital gains profit (so borrow someone elses $s), hiding money (from China etc), no where else to invest (from all over the Globe) that is making any money, and perceived low risk of loss. What we have is the parasitic class pouring their ill-gotten gains into anything that make a $ or even not lose them any.

I agree on it being un-sustainable but the financial ponzi schemes ability to keep going is just amazing. I mean I exited shares etc 6 years+ ago thinking it was going to implode and it didnt. Of course for me that 's explained by US shale oil keeping the price of oil low ie its delayed Peak oil. Ergo we could have some 3+ years to wiat for the "inevitable" collapse.

It will be a collapse btw but very fast, it will be like waking to the Twin Towers attack, get up, turn on TV and its already all over.

"There is a demand for high skills but no stomach/wish/ability to pay for it in what ever form ie pay the wage or pay for the training." One thing you left out there mate, minimum wage earners or prospective trainees have to WANT a skilled job. Have to WANT to put in 4 - 7 years training, have to resist the temptation to bail when it's too had.... Have to have the hunger to improve from their current situation.
The higher and closer the minimum wage & entitlements gets to the average wage the less I witness that required hunger.

Back in the day when food prices (a basic need) in the UK were being artificially jacked up -it was city based businesses that made a strategic alliance with unions which led the charge to remedy the situation.

Now that another basic need -housing -is artificially too high, will any city based businesses in NZ lead a charge to remedy the situation?

Here is an article discussing how the UK fixed the problem of unaffordable food.


It's a ponzi scheme.

Gotta keep bringing in the newbies, otherwise the whole thing falls over.


"It says the labour shortages, already constraining New Zealand’s economic growth, will become more widespread if the next government cuts back on migration levels fast"

According to Michael Reddell, immigration adds more to the demand side of labour than the supply side, especially when migrants first arrive and are setting up house. I can certainly believe this could be true, especially when a migrant is allowed to bring a partner and children.

Which makes bringing in migrants to relieve labour shortages the ultimate Ponzi.

True. Maybe immigration could be made to work - the average immigrant (including all family) would have to be better off and with higher income than the average Kiwi family. Might be worth giving it a try because after 70 years of high immigration it never has.

Isn't Labour's policy aimed at restricting backdoor immigration, so to speak, i.e. the student visas where people come to "study" barista courses and the like, at extortionate prices and in return they get a work visa? I'm not entirely sure how closing that door is going to have a dramatic effect on positive immigration (bringing in skills that the country needs). Anecdotally I was in an Uber where I was quizzed quite aggressively on what I did for a living and then asked if I could give them a job, they were a "student" at the time. Made me laugh.

You are right. The issue is do the students come for education or a chance at permanent residency? Prof Spoonley pointed out education earns NZ four times as much as Marlborough Wine. He didn't discuss the impact on infrastructure of the two industries. And he didn't consider that Marlborough wine might sell at an even higher premium if a chance of Permanent residency was given out with every bottle.

BA - As far as the Indian students are concerned it seems to be so they can work in our petrol stations which in the past was entry level work for young kiwis.

Strange you mention it. Just filled up 10 min ago. A very nice man filled it for me. It was bitterly cold and he told me that yesterday he had worked from 7 til 7 out on the forecourt. I suggested his boss hated him. We laughed. All employees including the boss are Indians and have been so since it became a 'Z' station recently. Say it again - really nice people, doing a useful job and doing it well - but I can't help thinking in the long run we need to do our own jobs not bring in cheaper labour from abroad. And that includes the owner/boss.

Apologies when I said 'Indians' I have no proof of that - they could all be Kiwis from birth - it isn't the kind of thing one should ask. I will not change my conclusion even if they are the rare exceptions.

I'm sure the Nigerian prince needing a bank account scheme netts quite a bit for Nigeria as well

Doris. I think Reddell is correct too, but we are still left with the reality that Kieran warns us of i.e. that too sharply turning off the tap will create a serious bump. It's why the governments incremental pulling back, rather than Labours deep reactionary cut, is the more prudent approach.

Andrew Little mentioned turning the immigration faucet down - probably he means turning at an appropriate speed - at least he knows which way to turn it.

Bob. To refresh your memory - Labour said it will cut immigration by between 20,000 and 30,000. More a lever stop cock than faucet. As population expert Prof Paul Spoonley said, 'this populist position (of a severe cut) will jeopardise the economy'.

There are 120,000 new arrivals each year. To make any difference the adjustment has to be more than a nominal figure and 20,000 seems about right. A good start.

two otherguys. The net migration gain is about 70,000, with the major contributor being 28,000 fewer Kiwis than previously, leaving. Go back to 2012 and the net migration movement was -3000. Limiting the net gain to 20,000 means essentially closing the door to everyone apart from returning Kiwis and only the very highest skilled migrants.

I'm not sure if what you're saying is supported by the current facts.


"Of the arrivals, 32,066 were New Zealand citizens returning this country, while 33,398 departed, giving a net loss of 1332 New Zealand citizens in the year to May."

Even with the current a-typically small numbers of Kiwis leaving, there would be room for 21,000 new migrants, nearly half a percent of the current population of NZ per year. Would that be an unreasonably small number? I think it's a relatively high percentage compared to other countries.

My numbers Sept last year and on a net gain basis. So cross purposes to an extent. But think we can agree that the Kiwi diaspora is a key component of migration. And that dynamic can change quite quickly. China's economy appears to be coming back, with forecast of 1bn tonnes of ore being imported by them, this year. Which could see Kiwis heading off again.

And there is the background reality that without immigration we are heading for a demographic challenge over the next 30 years. Even with NZs elevated fertility rate compared to other developed countries, it's still not enough to head off population decline. Like it or not we need migration at reasonably strong levels.

I think the salary threshold rule will address of lot of concerns and reduce much of the low quality immigration that the Govts careless policies have allowed. But I'm concerned that Labour's immigration policy will for populist, appease Winstone motives, apply too heavy a brake to the economy.

Using migration to fend off the demographic challenge of an ageing population is doing nothing but kicking the can down the road. Migrants get old too.

Eventually the whole world is going to have to work through the demographic hump caused by times of high birth rates, so the earth can return to carrying a more sustainable
population of humans.

I believe we should allow enough migration to keep NZ's population stable. And perhaps if our best and brightest young people weren't hamstrung by unaffordable housing and student loan repayments, they might be persuaded to breed.

The 20,000 is a cut is to visas issued, not a figure limiting overall net immigration to 20,000. That yearly 120,000 of immigrants doesnt even include the permanent residency visas subsequently issued to people who have already been in the country for a few years. So its really a drop in the bucket.

He did not say it would happen day one. In fact it couldn't - too many already being processed. He was also using the 72000 figure that includes temporary work visas not the more solid granting of permanent residency (between 48k to 52k). Pulling that 70,000 back by 20,000 would still leave us as the No1 country for highest legal immigration.
Assume Andrew Little is in power and he turns immigration off very fast; then our economy falters and will only recover with intake of more chefs and bakers. Well all he would do is turn it on again.
We need someone who knows where the tap is not our current government.


This is dangerous propaganda. The politicians/economists don't want to take responsibility for the almighty mess they created, they are just covering up their lies with more lies, that never ends well. There may be a little pain in deflating the asset bubbles now, but if they are left to fester and are fed there won't be a slow deflation there will be an explosion. Unfettered immigration is not beneficial to economies, unless the immigrants are all exceptionally talented.

You are so right - a thumbs up is not enough.

My biggest fear, and it is a fear, is that when a proper recession might occur via external factors (e.g. China's internal debt bubble bursts, Trump starts another round of US warmongering), then we have a multi-pronged correction in our housing, employment via large amounts of low-quality migrants who aren't investors or job creators and so on. Seems like we opt to wean ourselves off the current meth pipe growth strategy now before a worse situation befalls NZ? It's not like this country hasn't had tough but necessary medicine to take before, such as some of the 80s reforms. I'd rather swallow that pill now than choke in the future


You don't fear enough. I don't worry about a serious recession causing my home to be worth nothing and by investment property to be worthless. I can struggle through that and it might give my kids a few opportunities in the long run.
I fear racial tensions and violence from the 'ethnic precincts' and the 'multi-cultural' suburbs being promoted by our privileged academics. No trouble if we all think of ourselves as Kiwis but once you bring in multi-culturalism with politicians playing the ethnic identity card then all hell can break out.


The problem is it's not just "privileged academics" promoting this...it's the government actively enabling it to happen by importing people hand over fist, faster than infrastructure and society can sustain.

Judging by comments in "The British Dream" the critical factor is schools. When they reach over half a specific immigrant ethnic group then the remainder of the population move their children to another school and that often means moving house. You get a rapid movement of people or 'white flight' and it is unrelated to any measured prejudice in social surveys - it is simply concern about kids education. You end up with ethnic segregation. I suspect it may have already occurred in South Auckland (anyone with facts) but wealthy Howick is now 40% Chinese at schools (ref Prof Spoonley lecture last week) and if you can afford to live in Howick you can afford to move out. It will be interesting to see what happens - maybe not so interesting if you care about social cohesion.

That's what I wonder about with the Double Grammar Zone too. I can't see why it wouldn't happen there too, especially when the truly right folk in the zone often send their kids to private schools anyway.

I wouldn't worry about homes being worthless, more about how much equity one has.
On the ethnic front, I don't have a general problem with people from other countries living here. But I do worry about the sales pitch to get less-skilled ones here to support "education" business growth and then they find themselves working checkouts or driving for Uber. That, and the fact that most NZers generally aren't as tolerant as some like to believe (rather, NZers don't usually express controversial viewpoints too openly)......that makes me wonder if we've got a bad social environment waiting to happen when stormy economic waters inevitably hit

TTB. If only a 'deflating asset bubble' really was the 'little' pain you suggest it would be. I've lived through them, they are grim experiences. Hence my preference for a gradualist response.

We are already having a grim experience, well the now disappearing middle class and the lower economic groups are . Not the investors or wealthy, they are having a grand old time benefiting from importing cheap labour and inflating house prices. I vote for a grim experience over an apocalyptic experience which is what it will be if we don't turn off the immigration tap now. In a previous interest.co article it was mentioned we will already have a large population increase without immigration. The politicians just don't want to upset the Chinese, I am sure the damage of selling our land is far more than any loss in trade (which I am sure would be minimal, they are not going to stop all trade)

Germany thought immigration would fix their economic woes, look how that has worked out.In fact, by some estimates refugees have already cost Germany $1,241,050,000,000—this number will only grow, especially since Germany is now paying immigrants to leave. A prudent slow down and time allowance for housing and infrastructure to play catch up is definitely needed here. If our Govt is unable to enact policy and create an economic environment where we can stand on our own two feet,we will eventually reach tipping point because of it, not for slowing it down.Immigrants will grow the economy, but that doesn’t mean they make the host country more prosperous—which is the true measure of a country I wish to live in. No I have not added 000, Visit http://www.nationaleconomiceditorial.com/2017/02/19/german-economy-immig...

I love numbers but I can't comprehend that one. Have you hit the ,000 button twice by mistake. make it easy for us - how much does it cost each German family?


You mean the same Germany that has the strongest economy in Europe and rapid productivity growth?

I agree a prudent slowdown is needed, but chopping 30,000 is going to kneecap some industries.

which industries? where? - name them

Tourism for starters. Hospitality.

It's a common complaint from business. 140,000 supposedly unemployed and trucking firms in Northland can't get any interest.

Tourism is an interesting one, a lot of tourism sellers to overseas travelors get the comment where are all the kiwis, we feel we did not get the best experience as we are shown around and looked after by non natives.
don't get me wrong many in the industry have just as much passion for NZ even though they don't come from here.
so if the balance is not quite right what will be the future ramifications, we all ready have talk overseas about our major tourist attractions being too crowded in peak season down graded experiences because of it


From the perspective of this reasonably seasoned business and leisure traveller, I think we have a long way to go before our key attractions would be genuinely considered crowded, by international standards. As a Kiwi, I now find places like Queenstown unpleasant due to the crowds of tourists but note the generally happy experience they seem to be having. Everywhere I travel, people still view NZ as an exotic destination they want to visit. I don't think we have too much to worry about - just yet.

Ahhhhh, having a nice wee Speighties or two, playing pool in the Eichardt's public bar and looking out across the lake.....

Tourism and hospitality were openly saying that a massive amount of their workers are on short-term visas with no intent to live in NZ long-term. Reducing immigration won't affect them.

Exactly what I had in mind when I wrote this

The never-ending need for exploited work-visa victims - The domino effect
Once they start they cant stop

It only needs one to start the process then the ripple effect takes control

If a business recruits and exploits migrant labour at $2 per hour and the intending work-visa holder then has to pay $20,000 to the business owner then that business is far more profitable than its nearest competitor next door. Can and will cut prices. The now struggling competitor has to do the same thing which then squeezes the 3rd guy down the road who then squeezes the 4th guy and so on ad infinitum until they are all in the same boat all doing the same thing, competing against one another - they are back to where they started

Now they all need a never-ending supply of exploited temporary work-visa victims to stay in business

NZ Society is much the poorer for it and has to pick up the tab in infrastructure, schools, health, welfare etc

Queenstown - yeah - right
Listened to a review on the radio the other night talking about Queenstown and the outrageuous prices of the services and entertainment - so who is making the profits - who owns the facilities? who owns the hotels? - prices charged would be even higher if the business operators didnt have short-term seasonal workers on holiday-visas on low pay living in appalling conditions and had to pay locals and permanents

Take-away from the session to NZ locals - dont bother going to Queenstown

How about this for an idea. How about those poor put upon trucking company bosses do what businesses used to have to do and **train some locals**. Don't advertise for class 4. **Train** class 4.

Nah. Just bring in more desperate slaves from the 3rd world. Exploit, exploit, exploit. It's the Kiwi way.

"which industries? where? - name them"
Petrol stations, cleaning companies, bakeries, taxi industry..... god help us if we have to pump our own gas, have instant coffee and toast for breakfast and catch the bus or train.....

It will be the end of the world if an academic misses out on their latte or has to do a little child-minding themselves.


I agree,,the problem is we don't have any current politicians that have the vision or the courage do make the necessary changes,Everthing is short term ,vote catching policies


The first aspect is the politicisation of immigration. This is hardly new, both in terms of a
distant past (the anti-Asian politics of the 1890s through to the 1920s) or a more recent
past. There have been periodic attempts to characterise and criticise immigrants,
including those most culturally like Pakeha, such as the “bash a Pom” campaigns of the
mid-1970s. In the post-war period, however, the pre-eminent and most sustained
campaign involved the immigration and settlement of Pacific peoples, often
indiscriminately (the fact that Cook Islanders, Niueans and Tokelauans were New
Zealand citizens was often ignored or not understood). In the wake of growing economic
problems after the 1973 oil crises, Pacific peoples were defined as being a threat to law
and order, as competing for various resources such as jobs, education and health services,
and as “overstayers” (see Spoonley and Hirsh, 1990). The intensity of the concern, voiced
by politicians (Labour and National), representatives of government agencies such as the
police and immigration, and the public, combined with the racialisation of Pacific peoples
(ie defining them as problems in terms of the “normal” functioning of New Zealand
society) justifies labelling the response to their immigration and settlement as a moral
panic. A similar moral panic occurred in the mid-1990s.


“to a demographer these Islands represent populations, however idyllic they appear to be at the moment, nearer the brink of overpopulation in the Malthusian sense than almost any other groups of peoples”

W. D Borie 1965

Changes to immigration policy after 1986 facilitated the immigration of increasing
numbers of Asians, specifically Hong Kong Chinese, Taiwanese and Koreans in the early
1990s. As indicated above, the “Inv-Asian” articles in Auckland community newspapers
in 1993 are an important marker in the racialisation of Asian immigrants. Winston Peters
began to contribute to this debate in February 1996, when he expressed concern that
55,000 applicants had been granted permanent residence in New Zealand during 1995,
with 60 percent of those coming from Asia. This was endorsed by public opinion polls
which voiced concerns about the levels of immigration and the number of Asian arrivals.
Peters argued for 10,000 applicants to be approved for permanent residence and during
the 1996 election campaign, he and his new party, New Zealand First, made immigration
a major election issue. Since then, Peters has continued to attack the government of the
day for its immigration policies, made immigration an issue in the 2002 election
campaigns and has consistently expressed opposition to the levels of immigration and to
who is selected.

Moral panic? Spoonley isn't arguing for balance in the media he is arguing for advocacy - and he got it.

Thank you for a needed contribution. For myself I'm sure we are taking in too many to an extent it is hurting our economy however you are right to remind me about the dangers of 'moral panic'. I did choose to live in Auckland's North Shore quite deliberately with its exceptionally high immigrant population (I believe Prof Spoonley says it is the highest in the developed world). I chose because my family is multi-ethnic and I like diversity.
But I remain very concerned about the direction our society is headed - back 70 years ago immigrants to NZ were heading to the No1 country in the world ~ I think we are now number 30 in the OECD and still descending. The best qualified immigrants are no longer looking to NZ for the best place to create a business. For example note the very low rate of Indian businessmen creating export businesses compared to the UK and the USA.

Review - Some mythical pakeha, Paul Spoonley - Inventing New Zealand. Everyday Myths of Pakeha Identity 
Claudia Bell

To the puzzlement of many and the delight of some, New Zealand has not been exempt from such transformations even if it has taken some time for us to perceive the shape of the new order.

The fifth column: in a democracy, the many have the say over the minority. Where the hell are our historians (looking the other way)?


So immigration has become so big it cant be stopped without serious consequences ?

A bit like Sub - prime mortgages , it got too big and so far out of control it could not be undone

Too big to fail ?

Heard that before ?

Look where that got everyone last time .

has always been - this is what NZ is / was built on.


Reading this incredibly slanted commentary makes me wonder where Infometrics get their $$$ from? They seem to be promoting a very National Govt / big employer / right wing / NZ Initiative viewpoint. I think you have to view this piece as an example of "follow the money". Hardly a even-handed analysis.


"Infometrics goes on to explain the inflationary risks associated with any labour cost pressures would also be likely to compel the Reserve Bank to raise interest rates sooner than would otherwise be the case."

Just so I have this straight. These guys are saying that immigration is holding down NZ wages and that's a good thing??? Are you kidding me.

The government has to partially subsidise rent for a whole section of society because wages are too low. Basically our tax dollars are being paid directly to landlords. Wages need to be higher and the fallout from that will be what it is. You can't say wages have to stay low so the housing bubble doesn't burst.

Are Think Tanks the new Rating Agencies ?

Think Tank is probably an overly complimentary term based on output we see, too. We should think of a new term.

They are like the scientists who were employed by tobacco companies - they never tell a lie but they sure stretch the truth and leave one side out of the argument. Just check on who is paying them.

yes - we should instead listen to the Labs/unions advocating immigration cuts ; or the PSA advocating more taxes ; surely they are entirely unbiased.

“Faster lifts in mortgage rates and debt-servicing costs would threaten a jump in forced house sales, hastening a correction in the housing market and hammering consumer confidence.”

Yeah, because getting higher wages and lower housing costs always make consumers feel bad

??? How do you get from higher mortgage rates to higher wages & lower housing costs ?

By stopping population growth Yvil. Stop the population growth and there will be a huge correction within a year.

For highly skilled that add value and Kiwis can't fill Yes Low skilled No.

As many above posters have stated we have taken every easy short term option to keep the economy afloat and we at the end of the road really. The 'nice problems to have' cliche doesn't fool anyone anymore;
Kiernan says:-
"Ultimately, high migration levels are a positive reflection on NZ's economic performance"
Sure compared to overpopulated, corrupt and generally unpleasant shit holes.
Ours was a country with so much potential and we have had decade plus (not letting Clarke/ Cullen off the hook either) of short term gain for arguably no benefit to anyone but the migrants and those benefiting from cheap labour.
Who should I vote for? Will any party be prepared to deflate the bubble and get us on a sustainable footing, one that gives our children some of the opportunities we had?

I know, let’s just have a referendum on interest rates, we do it on other important things like smacking kids and flags and stuff? The choices could be, "drink the medicine now & raise" or “do the possum & wait” or “forget about the last one, get yourself another & drop”?

I've got cash in the bank so 1000% please


These economists that say our migration based economy is a success story have no experience of running a business. A country is a business. The export earnings are the available capital for imported goods. Our export earnings have gone down, not up.
Needing workers for building houses and infrastructure is the stupidest reason to bring in more workers. They are not generating income for the country. They are more people that have to be supported by the countries income.
The population growth caused by the immigration of the last 10 yrs has caused a deficit of housing and infrastructure. Enough damage has been done to our economy and lifestyle already.
We don't need more people, we need to train our own people and bosses will need to pay a living wage if they want the best employees.
Yes we are in for tough times, yes we have been giving away our children's birthright of living in a land of opportunity. We have to draw a line in the sand and say enough is enough. The population growth ponzi scheme is not sustainable. It is not real productivity.

Northland Hippy - and the builders that are coming into Auckland to build the houses that we need, need somewhere to live while they build the houses that we are short of.

So governments strategy to fix our shortage problem is that we're going to add more demand.

In saying that, we could actually probably manage quite well if builders are brought in for the short term (without the bribe of residency/citizenship). Especially if as a countermeasure we started to inspect the PTE sector for robustness properly...the associated drop in student numbers would free up rental space for builders.

Builders don't need to get residency. Massive numbers of people have taken short term building positions in various countries - whether in commercial or residential construction, or even in the building of Olympic facilities and villages.

Hi Independent- Observer. Stop the population growth and our building industry will catch up quite quickly.
Continue the population growth and it will take a lot longer to catch up and when the industry does get there and have a down turn there's a whole lot more people for our countries productive industry to support.


The thing that seems to be glossed over time and again is that real GDP growth is NOT what matters, GDP growth per capita does however (or even better median real wage growth ). It is very easy to get growth through importing a load more people but that doesn't necessarily translate into better living standards (for at least the existing residents). In fact Australia and New Zealand are both in the situation of falling real wages and weak GDP per capita. So yes immigration can boost the economy size but not the quality of life for those within it.

Undoubtedly true.

Any immigration will undoubtedly contribute to stresses around infrastructure and the housing market in Auckland.

Auckland planning is so rooted, zero people arriving in the city will stress the infrastructure and the housing market.

The highest level of "growth" Auckland may sustain is 10,000 of Auckland's native population leaving every year. That would equate to a population growth of 3000 to 5000 per year.

Sort of reflective of the Blues Super side.
What is it in the collective thinking of Aucklanders that they lay down and take the policy outcomes of the last 10 years?
Where is the character, or is that it?


http://nzh.tw/11890624 Just saying-
"Auckland City Hospital is asking people to stay away unless it's a serious emergency as it struggles to cope with record demand."

To be fair blue meanie it is just people going in because they have a bad cold. I'd wager that very few of them are pale, stale, males. Once upon a time we were able to purchase very effective medication. pseudoephedrine, which is now classed as a B2 controlled drug because it was abused. You can't even get it by prescription now. I don't think a lot of people understand what the word "emergency" means which leads me back to my language theories...

Lol! Ain't that the truth... always some eejit doing something to ruin it for the rest of us :)

Blue meanie if you have a cough or two please just get the cough mixture from your local supermarket instead of joining the queue at the Auckland Hospital. Thank you.

If it was a cough, I'd have called one one one! Nah, mate just the sniffles... :)

Best cough mixture around - Gees Linctus - available only from your pharmacy - check it out..

middlemore is currently running at 115% (as per last night)and they are sending people home too early from major operations or illness that end up right back at ER,
ask anyone of us that has been caught up in the health system lately, not enough resources too many people

So many comments.

Simple if need more immigration vote for National as the number will soon be 100000 as that is prosperity for them and if you feel that you do not want this extreme ponzi and better lifestyle Vote For Change.

I feel immigration is important but anything in extreme is bad so Should Vote For Change.

Pouring immigrants into a small country is not an authentic economic policy.
There needs to be real businesses developing with trained skilled workers to grow the economy.
Added to the high immigration policy, is the high levels of international students, many of whom aim for residency.
You would think that qualified economists would understand the benefits of rising wages surely - we are not in the 70s after all.


Disgraceful piece.

If our economy is simply a ponzi scheme held up by continual massive immigration flows, let's just take the medicine now. Viva Winnie!

Thats what has made Australia what it is today. Naturally the geniuses in Sydney and Melbourne that control commercial enterprise in NZ see nothing wrong with repeating the exercise esp. in Auckland.