Labour's immigration proposals would stall economic growth, PM Bill English says while arguing growth isn't migrant-dependent

Labour's immigration proposals would stall economic growth, PM Bill English says while arguing growth isn't migrant-dependent

Cutting 30,000 visas to certain foreign workers, students and graduates would stall New Zealand’s economic momentum, Bill English says.

However, growth is not migrant-dependent, the Prime Minister said as he tried to attack Labour’s immigration policy announcement.

English also argued National’s own recent tweaks to visa settings were not aimed at cutting inflows, rather that they focussed on changing the skills mix.

In comments defending National’s approach against a Labour stance that would “choke off” growth, English went as far as to say any foreign construction worker seeking a job in New Zealand would be allowed into the country.

Labour’s announcement Monday included a proposal to include a ‘KiwiBuild Visa’ which would allow up to 1,500 construction workers into the country at any one time.

This visa would allow construction firms to dodge labour market tests designed to ensure no locals are available for the job. In return, employers must pay the ‘living wage’ and promise to take on a local apprentice – funded by Labour’s Dole for Apprenticeships policy – for every migrant.

Labour’s policy announcement argued entrants under the category would complement construction workers continuing to enter the country under current settings.

Attacking the policy, English argued the announcement read as Labour proposing to cut construction migrant numbers from over 7,000 to 1,500 a year. Adding changes to student visas and post-study visas, this would “stall the economy.”

“It’ll deprive businesses of the skills they need to enable them to make the investments they want to make to grow New Zealand,” he said.

In contrast, English argued National was “up for the challenges of dealing with sustained success and growth for New Zealand.”

English was questioned on the comment, given National had only recently announced changes to immigration settings itself. He argued those moves would not mean reductions in the amount of migrants, particularly construction workers.

“At the moment, basically if they apply they get in.. if they go through the right process, yes,” English said when asked if under the current settings any foreign construction worker would be allowed into the country to work.

It was put to English that the National government’s changes had actually raised concern in the building industry, as the $48,000 wage floor meant it would be more difficult to find some workers, particularly Filipinos.

There had been a range of feedback on the proposals, and the government had some decisions to make, he said. The assertion was “much closer to reality” than what Labour was proposing, he said.

Meanwhile, English said 70-80% of students didn’t stay in the country after study. He claimed targeting students was more a political move by the Labour Party.

“They don’t actually buy houses and not a whole lot of them have cars, and most of them go back to the country that they came from when they’ve finished their study,” he said.

He attacked Labour for announcing the proposals while also calling for the economy's focus on commodities to be switched more to being knowledge-based. “Export education is as pure a knowledge export as you can get. And they’re setting out to shut it down.”

English argued immigration was not the only driving force for the economy “You grow by, for instance, by diversifying your export base, and Labour’s answer to that is to shut down one of the faster-growing export industries, which is about exporting education.”

Asked then how cutting migration by 30,000 would therefore stall the economy, he replied: “Growing the economy the way it’s growing right now needs a set of skills. We need people to build houses, we need people to build infrastructure.”

He raised an example from “the other day” where someone on a “large infrastructure site” told him some tenders coming out from councils for projects had no bidders because there wasn’t the capacity to do any more work than is currently being done.

“It is the longest, strongest construction boom and it’s going to go on for the next four or five years,” English said.

“We need these skills to build houses for the people who are here, now.”

A few years, ago the political discussion was on how many people were leaving New Zealand. He noted the “single biggest change” was more Kiwis coming home and fewer leaving. “We regard that as success and we’re willing to take on the challenges of investing and supporting that success.”

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88 Comments

41
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More arrogance from bill, arguing both sides of the story at once, nothing to see here people, make sure you don't think to much, might get a headache.

In my experience students don't go back to their home country, in fact it is generally a migration play. I have observed this many many times. In fact I have a friend who came over at a young age for schooling, got a job, and now his elderly parents are here too, using the resident son for extra immigration points. This was a long planned event, a decade in the making. He has never mentioned quality of education as a drawcard.

26
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" English said 70-80% of students return home". Well even 20-30% of the high numbers of low skilled students is a lot with current figures.
If their courses were high standard (say PhD in Physics) then they would not need to be bribed with immigration promises (both honest and fake promises).
I can live with being teased about how gullible and naive our NZ government is. But what I can't stand are the worst cases of exploitation that our policies condone. Our local Indian Restaurant was prosecuted for paying workers between $2 and $6 per hour. Does anyone really think we have prosecuted all the cheats? If you do read this:
https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/about/news-events-and-notices/news/news-20...
and https://media.wix.com/ugd/2ffdf5_28e9975b6be2454f8f823c60d1bfdba0.pdf

The 70-80% bit is heavily skewed (yet again). A majority of those who leave are from other OECD countries; generally students here on semester abroad programmes. If we see the number of Asians graduating from Level 7 or below courses who return to their country of origin, I won't be surprised if that number is ridiculously small.

16
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Sums it up.

1.
International education sector
There are questionable practices by some PTEs in terms of education standards. At one PTE,
students could pay money and be marked as attending class or for handing in assignments. A
number of international students work in excess of the number of hours permitted under the
conditions of their visa. Some will work 40 to 60 hours a week and are paid less than the minimum
wage. Prior to coming to New Zealand, prospective students from India and the Philippines were
informed that the student visa is a pathway to residency.
2.
Pathways to residency
Some migrants are being charged fees by other migrants for the opportunity to work. There are
networks in some migrant communities whereby migrants will pay their employer for a job. They
pay their employer cash and the money is then paid back through formal channels as a wage. In
some cases, the employer will make a nominal contribution of $5 an hour with the cash provided by
the employee making up the difference. This system is viewed by some as being normalised. There is
also a cash for partner visa scheme whereby migrants will pay New Zealand citizens/residents to be
in a partner relationship in order to obtain residency.

I wonder if National has any idea of the mood of the New Zealand public towards the current immigration settings ?

National knows that most middle class New Zealanders don't care about immigration as long as their house values keep going up. Sounds cynical I know but it seems to me we have moved from being a caring, egalitarian society the world envied to a very capitalist, material and selfish society. Otherwise with the very real social problems Aucklanders now face Bill English would not be polling 49% support.

When I first moved to Auckland from Wellington in 1994 there was a torrent of anti-Asian sentiment.
And then the property boom arrived, supported by Asian (and other) migration.
The wealth of a lot of kiwis has been supported by immigration, which is ironic given the bigotry that did, and still does,exist.
Ironic, too, that someone like me studied Asian history in my undergraduate degree, has lived in Asia, loves Asia yet would be construed by some as 'Anti-Asian' just because I think immigration from everywhere (including Asia) should be significantly lower.
Strange, no?

No stranger than how Wintston is vilified for his ongoing lobbying to reduce immigration numbers.

16
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The only hope for national come election is to use Fear Physiology.

Arrogance has to be humbled.

Maybe they are hoping KDC makes a return to the political arena

Fear Physiology ??? Do you know what that means ? And you get 9 thumbs up... that shows the level of education of some.
Here's the definition of Physiology: the branch of biology that deals with the normal functions of the body

One does not have to be educated to use Google - maybe you should try it.
As the following is at the top of the page you wouldn't need to use the scroll bar.

Anxiety is a psychological, physiological, and behavioral state induced in animals and humans by a threat to well-being or survival, either actual or potential. It is characterized by increased arousal, expectancy, autonomic and neuroendocrine activation, and specific behavior patterns. A trait commonly associated with conservatism.

Ummm... that would be the definition of Anxiety as per your suggested link.

Reading for comprehension...

Expanding upon your cute last sentence, reading for comprehension is evidently a trait associated with conservatism.

add: you appear to have demonstrated in a very practical manner your comment that you do not have to be educated to use google. I may however suggest that one should attempt to understand the results provided from google to see the relevance to the item searched for prior to using cut and paste from the google result to demonstrate ones point.

To expand upon this thread, it seems that there are some people that are enamored with catchy phrases that have little or no established meaning, or are just making stuff up.

The phrase "fear physiology" doesn't even show up with the two words together when typing the phrase into google (okay, for the extremely pedantic out there, the two words show up together in the banner at the top, but not in the results listed). I'm with Yvil on this one... as per the suggestion from dollar_bill to use google in helping me to understand the meaning of the phrase.

pure sementics (sic). anxiety, fear, dread etc. All have a direct effect on physiology so a "fear physiology" is a valid expression. Better watch out for that collapsing economy eh.

So, you consider fear physiology to be a valid expression. In application, just how does a political party use fear physiology? And what does it mean when someone says that a political party is using fear physiology to further their purposes?

I'm going with a turbo encabulator style definition: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fw_VBiTntq8

add: I am not normally enamored of the spelling police, but your usage of (sic) has me very much amused. I'd recommend a google search for the appropriate usage of [sic], and then compare the result to your usage.

I think he is referring to the means of using 'fear' as a motivator to people to accept an idea.

E.g. We can't reduce immigration or else [insert terrible thing] will happen.

typo: psychology

It could indeed be a typo, although without clarification from the original poster it is only a conjecture as to whether it is a typo or not.

That said, I am quite enjoying the justifications provided by others for the original wording! It seems that political affiliation reduces ones impetus for critical thinking. BTW, I VERY much see this for both sides of the political spectrum, it is not a liberal vs conservative thing...

24
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For the last year or so, the only thing you get out of a national party interview is bullsh!t

30
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Wish the government whom we voted not once but three times were more concerned about average kiwi than just immigrants.

Think and Vote

12
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We? Never me. Their ways have always been clear to me.

14
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I am so over this lot. Get the feeling the country is too. Fingers crossed for change this coming election.

28
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Cutting immigration will stall the economy but the economy is not migrant dependant........
Seems to be a logic flaw there somewhere.

19
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No it's logical from George Orwell's point of view. Similarly, if we restrict foreign / Chinese money from the Auckland property market, then the prices would crash! HOwever, foreign buyers are an insignificant factor in the market, lets say 3% if you want a meaningless number.

the trouble is a huge percentage of sheeple believe his statements without thinking about what he just said contradicts itself.
they are showing all the signs of a three term NZ government
talking and not listening to all the people
lack of any new ideas
willing to do anything to stay in power

To be fair, I don't think they had many ideas in the first place. They were always a reactive government but now don't even seem to be bothering with that.

Being a reactive government is fine - if you actually react.

These nats (or are they nuts) just ignore, obfuscate, misdirect, avoid, lie, and deceive.

They don't exactly have a long list of achievements
- Untenable increases in immigration
- Unstoppable housing price increases
- complete wage stagnation
- Substantial reduction in water quality
- lack of investment in infrastructure
- even the ex-pm's magic bean of tourism is falling apart at the seams, no accommodation, no facilities, freedom campers polluting everywhere, shoplifting everything they can, and generally failing to contribute any actual cash to the economy.

The other options aren't great come election time, but surely at least one is worth a shot to get rid of these parasites.

27
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"English went as far as to say any foreign construction worker seeking a job in New Zealand would be allowed into the country." and " “At the moment, basically if they apply they get in.. if they go through the right process, yes,” English said when asked if under the current settings any foreign construction worker would be allowed into the country to work."

My son started working as a building apprentice 3 weeks ago. He loves the job. As parents we want him to have a good career. Now our prime minister is saying he will have to compete with the cheapest foreign workers for as long as National stay in power!

I'm goldcard retired and until now I never thought I would ever become a socialist. If my son has to compete with workers from the 3rd world then why not our Prime Minister - I'd vote for Putin or Trump or Xi Jinping - at least they look after their own.

14
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Unfortunately National are extremely socialist, it's just the social welfare they increase is that which is directed to the wealthiest people in the country. It's a choice between the type of socialism.

A vote for National is a vote for the trickle up effect.

My son is also an apprentice (electrician) which I am really happy about. I am less happy about the large fees he pays for polytech night classes only to have to work through a book on his own. They don't appear to be 'taught' any more and the teacher is only there to answer any questions they might have. This is not how it used to be done when my husband underwent the same training in the 80's for a lot less money comparatively.

I don't know about your son but mine is bright, hard working, reliable but totally unable to endure classes - he will only ever learn on the job. The idea that everyone needs classroom learning is pushed by the academic mafia.
A few months ago I asked a local electrician about his apprentices - no surprise he said some were good and some were not but his main grouch was having to pay them when they go on a job with him but they do not have the skills to do the work and he cannot take too much time teaching on the job otherwise the homeowner is not impressed. We need a way of rewarding our skilled tradesmen to persuade then to take on apprentices. Note I would be worried if such a system ended up further rewarding the exploiters on immigrants o it should be reserved for citizens only.

I had some electrical work done the other day and two typical young Kiwi guys turned up. One was an apprentice yet he still did work, fetching ladders, tools and parts and assisting with running cables and so on. I was charged for both but the apprentice was a lower hourly rate. This sort of system seemed to work perfectly and I was very happy with everything. I don't see why anyone would complain about such a way of doing things.

27
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By 'economy' he actually means 'the illusion of a functioning economy'.

Pants on fire, Bill. The cracks are too big for you to just stick more sellotape over them and tell us it's good.

First one to really get it. Yes it will crash economic growth, which is a ponzi centred around credit growth for houses. What it might do is give the productive economy some breathing room to pick up the slack. A dangerous path the tread though.

My prediction would be that any retrictions the labour government would implement will be short lived when they see the consequences. The genie that is the credit fueled bubble can't be stuffed back in the bottle.

You're behind the eight ball on this one Bill.

11
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The 'education' is a rort - and we all know it. When such is allowed without intevention, because somebody makes a buck, then it's like a cancer on our society that will grow.
My expectation is any government deals to it, even at the cost to some business, even if it loses a few votes.

Why do people care so much about immigration? I have good friend from island she is not bad person.

10
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There's a lot of great people that immigrate to New Zealand. All that needs to be done is to slow the rate down so that we can provide the infrastructure and housing so that people aren't forced into homelessness. I have friends who plan on living in a motorhome as they see buying a house as impossible.

There are many arguments against immigration even if more Kiwis leave NZ than immigrants come in.
It is a pity that immigration policy discussion is taking place only because successive governments and Auckland council have been so incompetent. However if we had a freeze for 5 or 10 years just to get past the current infrastructure problem then we would see how things really work - my guess we would react more like low immigration Taiwan and just buckle down and get on with producing dairy workers and care assistants and computer programmers.

Because I am an immigrant.
Most immigrants love NZ and choose to be here and try to be as Kiwi as possible. That's why it is immigrants who want a honest no rorts immigration policy.

I knew it was the Filipina's fault for our national woes. Of course they would not come to New Zealand for less than $48000. Bill obviously has never set foot in the Middle East.

29
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His statement that a SLOWING of immigration would stall growth is basically an admission that our economy is currently an immigrant-driven ponzi scheme.

It's an admission that we're in a deflationary environment that's being covered up. I don't believe that's the case to the degree that the PM is claiming.

More like stall house prices to affordable levels. Don't do anything to control demand.

Well done Prime Minister, great interview

Bill you shouldn't be complementing yourself :)

Thanks for the compliment HO : )

They are addicted to exploitation and blackmail and corruption

The bleatings by businesses that cutting back immigration will disadvantage the economy and growth is morse-code for the fact that businesses have become addicted to the ever increasing need for exploitable cheap labour that can be blackmailed

Reminder
The never-ending need for exploited work-visa victims

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

http://www.interest.co.nz/opinion/87394/episode-when-alex-and-his-politi...

Mike Hosking - NZ Herald - 11 May 2017
Argues we have to keep the 70,000 coming
Cant Stop - otherwise will bring the country to its knees

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11853337

as usual mike hosking has jumbled all the facts up and come up with nonsense.
the fact is we have a negative net outflow of kiwis leaving against returning kiwis, all that has happened is that figure is now smaller thatn before as the aussie economy slowed down.
so to even bring that into the argument about cutting student visa's and non skilled working visa's is pure nonsense

He is probably right 'slowing of economy' is for his buddies, landlords and overlords. Every other average working class Kiwi wanted less or no immigration.

National, you have badly misread public opinion in the issues of immigration and housing. You've really been asleep at the wheel on those topics and they are going to hurt you badly come election time. How can you not see that!

which one is correct? 'growth Isn't migrant-dependent' or 'growth IS migrant-dependent', why bother if migration is not a main factor.

10
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I would like some clarity from Bill on what his intentions are re the scams going on at our petrol stations, cafes, supermarkets, vineyards, farms etc where low incomes are being paid to ex and current students from overseas. These are the entry level jobs for young Kiwis and they are are disappearing fast.

If the employer moans and groans that their business can't afford to employ kiwis then they are either taking the proverbial or indeed should be out of business. Farmer Bill continuing the urban legend that young kiwis are too drugged up to be employed is simply embarrassing and has been been shot down by WINZ stats.

True and deserving more than a thumbs up.

Yep, the media have already forgotten that WINZ came back and said that the drug test failure rate was 1 in 200. as in 0.05%.
That this slander is still repeated by our prime minister should be enough alone to lose his job.
As for the likes of Mike Hosking repeating it and carrying on with the medias mantra that this country needs more people the man needs a new job.

If pensioners were drug tested there'd be a much higher failure rate. We should be targeting the actual drug users rather than unemployed people with only enough money to survive.

Cutting 30,000 visas to certain foreign workers, students and graduates would stall New Zealand’s economic momentum, Bill English says.

The only thing stalling economic growth are large numbers of our population stuck in heavy traffic contributing very little.
Interestingly, the media quickly lost interest in the number of educational providers offering "Christmas cracker qualifications" and mostly getting away with fleecing unsuspecting foreign and domestic paying students of thousands. By the time NZQA responded the providers had flown the coop.
Still, we have to maintain this economic momentum (whatever that means?)

Who will be the cashiers at our Petrol Stations ?

i use the machine at the pump , cant understand the engrish behind the counter

A load of bull from Bull English.

So what is it Bull , is migration stimulating GDP that is among the highest in the OECD , or is it something else doing this?

Sure we cannot ignore tourism or dairy , but they have limitations .

There are no limitations to the number of Asians and Indians who would give their left eyeball to immigrate here ................... GDP growth made easy as .............we dont even have to get up and milk them at 4.00 in the morning in the middle of winter .

The vast majority of immigrants work and pay taxes and are healthy. Every immigrant increases demand. Demand for accommodation, food, schools, clothes, doctors etc. So every immigrant is good for the economy by stoking up demand. This would be the end of the story and our politicians would be right about the GDP being boosted by immigrants but only if we have spare accommodation, class rooms, teachers and doctors and all immigrants promise to keep working until they die without ever getting older and falling ill.

The only sensible measure is productivity per person or as it is called GDP per capita per hour. The immigration theorists explain how immigrants have special talents such as languages and contacts in their country of origin so they will help export businesses and generally make everything more productive.
The trouble is the evidence says the contrary.
I'm not talking just about the low skilled pump attendants and shelf-stackers this failure to increase productivity also occurred from 1950 to 1980 when immigration mainly meant more POMs (personal disclosure I'm an ex-POM class of 2003).
To be as racially neutral as possible if the only immigrants we brought in were top quality Indian and/or Chinese PhDs in maths and science then I suspect everyone in NZ would benefit but I can't be certain because we have never actually tried skilled immigration.

What you are missing here is of course the fact that NZ pensions are not funded through taxes collected from the pensioners before they become pensioners , but from the taxes collected from the younger , working people.
Your pension ( and mine in the future .. ) depends on working population not falling but growing ; in that context productivity/GDP per person growth matters less that the sheer size of working population ; as a pensioner you need immigration more than most .

ah the pension Ponzi, short term economic theory
and who pays the pensions of those you brought n to pay for the generation before.
you can not just keep increasing th enumbers coming in without outlaying money to pay for the increase in other social expenses, health, education , law and order. otherwise the quality of service decreases as the quantity overwhelms them

so what is your long-term theory of how the pension system is to stay sustainable ?
all you say is " you cannot this and you cannot that" - bother to give any justification or alternative ? or is it just " you cannot because I do not like the sound of it " ?

@paashaas. Here is a long term theory of how to make pensions sustainable. Folk fund it themselves via savings in their younger years. You don't have to agree, but it's a serious option.
Shareholder is right, you just don't understand it. Your theory of continuing increasing population, that the young fund the old, is fatally flawed - there is a limit to how long you can keep doubling the population. Work on it.

I think you are the one who does not understand .. transition to a savings based pension is ( arguably ) desirable , however there in no way ( or precedent anywhere in the world ) of that transition being executed quickly. In the medium run at least we need population growth - or at the very least sustained population.
It is not "my theory of increasing population , that the young fund the old" -it is the reality and what pays Bob's pension today and tomorrow.

Again, this is where robotics and technology can step in

in the dream world perhaps ... I will believe it when I see it

Well one thing is absolutely, no argument for certain, and that is there is no possibility of infinite growth in a finite world.

In the long run we are all dead .

I wouldn't like my pension to be the critical factor for NZ economic planning.

I'm half way through the book "The British dream : successes and failures of post-war immigration" / David Goodhart which is very interesting and only marginally relevant to NZ. But he does argue the welfare state depends on a common sense of identity. In other words if 20 years from now the working population doesn't identify with its elderly pensioners then they will not accept tax deductions to keep my pension generous. He supports his argument with the example of the USA where the welfare state is under pressure. The other lessons to learn are that class matters more than ethnicity for successful immigration (easily demonstrated by the success of Muslims from India compared to Indians from Bangladesh and Pakistani Kashmir and the rather obvious one that numbers do matter; small well mixed is great, multi-cultural parallel lives bad.

"welfare state depends on a common sense of identity" - no argument there ; this is another reason why welfare state is likely doomed in the longer run.
Stop immigration and you do not have enough working age people to sustain welfare state; carry on with immigration identity and willingness to fund it erodes.
You say "I wouldn't like my pension to be the critical factor for NZ economic planning." - would you be willing to give your pension up , here and now to have immigration stopped ?

An interesting question. I would either have to start working again or just keep living on my younger wife's earnings. I do think we are well out of line with reality - for example that country of immigrants the USA takes 1 million but we take three times that per capita. How much would I sacrifice to get NZ to change direction - I could afford half my pension (actually 80% is from the UK and the rest is made up by NZ taxpayers).
The other factor is if immigration stopped dead in its tracks then Auckland house prices would slump - I reckon I could lose about half my savings but I wouldn't mind because with 4 adult kids they would be able to buy (just like I did in my twenties on an average salary) and at present they haven't a hope (well they could marry millionaires)..

" USA takes 1 million but we take three times that per capita" - if you look at legal immigration only ; US does of course has far more illegal immigration compared to NZ ; once you factor that in the numbers are similar.
You are able/willing to give up some of your pension - I think the majority of pensioners and soon to be pensioners are not in that position - whatever we think should be done can only be done on the timescale of decades , not years.
I do not think a housing slump would help your kids that much - a serious crash would likely cost at least some of them their jobs through the damage to general economy . I could not agree more that housing is too expensive in NZ - I just think a soft landing is the best outcome for everyone ( including the many fools on this site baying for a crash / peoples revolution etc ,)

@ passhass. The retired people receiving pensions built and paid for this countries infrastructure of roads, railways, hospitals, bridges etc. 9 years ago when National came to power the government dept was just 9 billion dollars. the people who built and paid for that infrastructure deserve to have a pension. Every person born in NZ or immigrating to NZ gets that infrastructure for free.
In the last 9 years we have had a large population of immigrants move to NZ which has overwhelmed that infrastructure so that Auckland needs 100 billion dollars to modernize its transport and other services. This new population of people have not lifted the countries productivity as our export earnings have gone down.
Perhaps the new population of people should pay for the needed infrastructure while the pre National government NZers pay for our old people.
Enlarging our population is the biggest cost due to needed infrastructure to the NZ taxpayer. Enlarging our population has not made us more productive. Enlarging our population has pushed the cost of housing up and wages down. Enlarging our population has put pressure on the environment and damaged the NZ lifestyle.

"the people who built and paid for that infrastructure deserve to have a pension" - I never questioned that and in fact fully agree with the statement - read what I wrote. The question is how this pension entitlement can/should be funded ; my argument is that continuing immigration is a large part of the answer.
"pre National government NZers pay for our old people" - how do you think this should work in practice , not in theory ?

Because the average immigrant worker earns less and works for less years as a NZ tax resident but still makes full use of the infrastructure and benefits its actually not until the second generation that you get a full return on immigration. Until the second generation the average immigrant worker contributes a bit less than average, which makes the overall situation better short term, worse medium term and arguably better long term. Complex stuff.

It is complex ..
"average immigrant worker earns less and works for less years as a NZ tax resident .." - true , but the same immigrant has of course not incurred the same child care and education cost on NZ as a native resident ; not a one way street as you describe it.

According to Wikipedia it was National who really pushed for reform of NZ's immigration laws in 1987 to make them less Eurocentric. The rationale was that along with the earlier "radical" economic changes immigration should be changed to reflect economic radicalism too...I presume. One could argue that non Eurocentric folk would be more price competitive labour-wise which appears to be the case. I have occasionally heard immigrants complain that they are paid less because of their country of origin. It was like employers felt they were doing particularly foreign people a huge favour by employing them and so should be happy with lower than average recompense. I am certain that this occurred. One could easily justify it by claiming that poor English skills made a worker less valuable.
On a slightly different but related note it is fairly reasonable to assume that one could more accurately judge a prospective immigrant's suitability for residency if they shared a common culture by observing various cues. Qualifications gained in similar institutions would be considered more trustworthy too. Background checks easier or, you know, actually possible to do, especially with people from English speaking and British heritage backgrounds. It was entirely practical and sensible to choose immigrants from similar cultures. Even just the fact that they would demand the same treatment in the workforce ensures an even playing field and is less detrimental to native workers in the long run.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_to_New_Zealand

National was in opposition in 1987.

According to Wikipedia:
Along with New Zealand adopting a radical direction of economic practice, Parliament passed a new Immigration Act into law in 1987. This would end the preference for migrants from Britain, Europe or Northern America based on their race, and instead classify migrants on their skills, personal qualities, and potential contribution to New Zealand economy and society. The introduction of the points-based system came under the National government, which pursued this policy-change even more than the previous Labour Party administration. This system resembled that of Canada, and came into effect in 1991.

Yes looks like Labour changed the rules in 1987 and National followed it up with gusto.
When a new law is passed/changed in parliament they vote on it don't they? I feel I should study this. It would be interesting to find out how it went from a National/Labour perspective.

From the UN - Replacement Migration: Is It a Solution to Declining and Ageing Populations?

In the absence of migration, the size of the working-age population declines faster than the overall population. As a result of this faster rate of decline, the amount of migration needed to prevent a decline in the working-age population is larger than that for the overall population. In the four countries where
fertility levels are close to the replacement level, the resultant population in 2050 would include 8 to 14
per cent post-1995 migrants and their descendants. In the other six countries and regions, the post-1995
migrants and their descendants would represent between 26 and 39 per cent of the 2050 population. While some of these numbers may appear to be high, they remain within the range of migration experienced in the recent past in some industrialized countries. For example, in 1990, 16 per cent of the population of Canada and Switzerland and 23 per cent of the population of Australia were foreign-born.
In contrast to the migration streams needed to offset total or working-age population decline, the
levels of migration that would be needed to prevent the countries from ageing are of substantially larger
magnitudes. By 2050, these larger migration flows would result in populations where the proportion of
post-1995 migrants and their descendants would range between 59 per cent and 99 per cent.* Such high
levels of migration have not been observed in the past for any of these countries or regions. Moreover, it
seems extremely unlikely that such flows could happen in these countries in the foreseeable future.
Therefore, it appears inevitable that the populations of the low-fertility countries will age rapidly in the
twenty-first century.

http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/migration/migration.htm

Is this not where technology and robotics steps in?

Correct Pocket Aces. Every day the World needs less workers and yet we keep making more people.

Peak baby was 1990 and peak worker was 2012. We are making less new people every day. Get hold of some workers while your still can!

"The working-age share of the population peaked in 2012 and is now on the decline."

http://pubdocs.worldbank.org/en/503001444058224597/Global-Monitoring-Rep...

Ummm, every day the world needs more workers? Why would it need less? That makes no sense. You are like the people who said the factory would leave people jobless because one man could make as many shoes as a hundred could before.