Economics consultancy and forecaster Infometrics says NZ's net migration may actually be more like 80,000 per year; says ideal should be between 10,500 and 16,600 - but that could take seven years to achieve

Economics forecaster and consultancy Infometrics has produced new research suggesting that the 'real' level of net migration in New Zealand might be understated by as much as 8,000 per year.

Based on such figures, it would mean that net migration might be closer to 80,000 per year, rather than the official measure of over 72,000.

Describing its new findings as "rather alarming" Infometrics is calling for the country to aim for net migration over the next decade of between 10,500 and 16,600 - but warns that such targets might take seven years to achieve.

The findings are contained in Infometrics' new report: 'Migration: Informing the debate', which was released on Thursday.

Specifically, the report finds that NZ might currently be underestimating net migration by between 4,000 and 8,000 people per year.

"The people we all previously considered to be generally temporary arrivals, such as students, workers, and tourists, don’t appear to be as temporary as we thought," Infometrics Chief Forecaster Gareth Kiernan says.

"The number of people gaining resident visas from within New Zealand, having previously come here on other visas, has increased 27% since June 2015."

Kiernan says migration policy changes announced by the government last October are "largely window-dressing" and are having a limited effect on arrival numbers.

"But impending changes to minimum salary requirements for skilled migrants could have a significant effect on net migration, making it particularly difficult for employers in provincial areas to source migrant workers."

Kiernan believes that we should be aiming for net migration over the next decade of between 10,500 and 16,600 people per annum.

"But the economy needs to be gradually weaned off its dependence on migration, rather than abruptly shutting the door on new arrivals," he says.

"This process could take at least seven years given current high migration levels and the tightening labour market."

Kiernan says over the longer-term, immigration policy should be considered within the context of overall population growth, with approvals targets partly used to mitigate swings in the unrestricted flows of New Zealanders and Australians.

"Achieving a relatively steady rate of population growth would allow planners, policymakers, and private sector decision-makers to appropriately plan for the provision of housing, civic infrastructure, and other necessary goods and services," he says.

"This outcome would be a vast improvement on the migration flows of the last 20 years that, if anything, have tended to exacerbate the economic cycle."

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43 Comments

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This has to be the explanation for the homelessness problem , we simply don't have enough houses , we are not building enough , and the rentals are going to the highest bidder forcing out the poorest .

We need to contain immigration .

Good economic growth will solve or at least hide many problems.

Unfortunately, for NZ, good economic growth has to be underpinned by growth in working population, regardless of who you vote for.

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@Xingmowang. So the objective is economic growth and ignoring the economic interest of New Zealanders ? Don't think so.

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No. Good economic growth has to be underpinned by productivity growth first and foremost.

Has productivity been growing in NZ?

http://www.productivity.govt.nz/news/new-zealands-weak-labour-productivity. Here says no. Then, what have driven economic growth in NZ? Population growth.

I have zilch intention in saying massive population growth is good thing for NZ. But, given the current structure of NZ's economy (virtually no manufacturing sector) and inability of any parties to change such a structure even in long term, NZ's economic growth will and has to rely on population growth.

The question is who will bear the costs and which party will do a better job in sharing the costs among various sections of society.

The action of voting in NZ is to vote for a party with policies to let YOU bear minimum costs possible.

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And whose policies, what are they?There aren't any. So in my book (vote) that means I support a major cut right now.Give our society a chance to catch up.

Read TOP policies. On immigration they make sense - and maybe more importantly they are clear so if you disagree at least it is easy to know where you disagree..
Of course they have oodles of other contentious policies so are unlikely to reach 5% so it will bye bye at election time.

Sounds much the same as Conservatives policy except they don't state a target rate, so sounds a bit fluffy. I feel like Gareth (Morgan) did state a target number somewhere on this site? perhaps someone else could confirm that.

Pretty sure he said 3 mil but 4 - 5 wasn't too bad

Will have to vote for change. No more doubts.

There's a good reason why our manufacturing sector is almost zero - we're about 3 times the distance from our trading partners than our competitors who can do it faster, cheaper and with history on their side, better.

All of our big success stories leverage either our environment (a.k.a tourism and premium farming produce) or technology and innovation. You're a bloody idiot if you think that things that go in a shipping container can make NZ a powerhouse economy.

You're a bloody idiot if you think that things that go in a shipping container can make NZ a powerhouse economy.

What countries that put things in shipping containers are "powerhouse economies"? Germany, Japan, China?

All of them have primary shipping routes. We have a secondary route linking another secondary route to both Australia and South America. It's not rocket surgery.

Smaller slices of the pie from here on in.....

xingmowang is correct - New Zealand's Manufacturing Sector is Zero (Ezy) - agreed - while there is no manufacturing base in NZ and following from Allan Barber's today's assessment that more cows are not the answer then that leaves only the non-tradeable sector to do the heavy lifting and it cant. NZ should only be accepting migrants into the manufacturing or tradeables sectors - all other sources of migration should be closed down - otherwise it's only going to be smaller slices of the pie for everyone from here on in

We should be focusing 80%+ on STEM industries.

We're focusing primarily on the HI industries.

Houses and Immigration.

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12

Only if that growth is in GDP/capita otherwise we are all going backwards. We can certainly grow GDP by having high immigration but the analysis needs to be deeper.

This is why there is so much nonsense spoken about growth in health, education and infratructure spending. It is only growing if it is growing on a per capita basis after inflation. Building new schools, hospitals and transport infrastructure also has huge up-front loading in cost.

National's 2005 Election manifesto was based on improving NZ's productivity levels, and therefore providing economic growth. After not achieving this National decided the only way was to increase immigration beyond a level that the country's infrastructure could cope, which is still their only plan should they get re-elected in 2017.

Should National get re-elected, expect a minimum of 240,000 more people in NZ in three years time, with most of these heading to Auckland, along with their vehicles on the roads, and their injuries in the A&E wards.

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Why have a steady rate of population growth ? Best to have no population growth at all. We have to think long term, we only have this planet and no spare one. Our citizens have only these islands.
We should build a wealthy nation, with wealthy inhabitants, with lots of space and low pressure on the environment.
It's nuts to push size to the extreme because doing that just produces diminishing returns. I can remember the days when a low - middle income family could still have a house on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. A house 20 meters from the sand. Why is the plan to move away from that ?

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Totally agree with you KH. However, I fear that until it all is completely buggered people won't care.

Unfortunately the sand has been washed away by king tides, storm surges and seabed mining - so we need to move away further up the hill.

When economists can't understand basic economics how can you expect the man in the street to understand.
We have media who have a mantra of pushing population growth as economic success just because their house value went up.
Very few economists or politicians understand that economic success is measured by export revenue divided by population. Simplistic view, but if we are like Somalia and don't export anything, then we also don't get to import cars and computers or anything else.
At my work meeting today my boss was endorsing National and saying how wonderful this high immigration is. My colleagues are lapping it up, even though most of them rent and have no show of owning a house.
I was born when education was free and three years average income paid for a house. I was born into a land of opportunity.
Our countries infrastructure is worth trillions. Lets say $250,000 per person. Every immigrant stepping off the plane gets that infrastructure for free.

I think your guess is very close. I worked it out as $213,000 not counting all privately own houses. Of course I would be happy to read a better analysis done by a professional.
And Mr/Ms Hippy unless you are a singleton the more sensible figure is by family - in my case about $1.5m.

KH you are absolutely right. I think the reason we are currently misjudging things so badly, is that economics is so easily measurable that we have become accustomed to measuring our society purely on these numbers.
The things that are actually important to us are almost impossible to measure. Happiness, Family connection, health of our lands and clean environments.
We could go a long way by making these in some way measurable so people could see their current downward path.

GDP per capita or even disposable income per capita is also easy to measure but a lazy media just grabs what the politicians conveniently spruik to measure success. Very easy to grow an economy by just adding more people but these additional people grow old too and so its' ultimately unsustainable let alone damaging all those harder things to measure such as congestion, pollution etc.

Is any party advocating a population strategy?

TOP kind of is. Gareth Morgan has said he personally doesn't want a NZ population of over 10 million, but wants to find out what kiwi's actually want.

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We all know what the current national government policy is : More the Immigration More the growth so why be surprised.

Anyone who supports that policy of National should definitely vote for them And If Not than Vote anyone but national.

Think and Vote.

Divide and Rule

The people, (ie the populace), the many, not the few, do care. They care a lot.

While it is no answer, the origins as to why the few at the top dont share the "care" is contained in the sayings

1. Divide and Rule
Divide and rule in politics and sociology is gaining and maintaining power by breaking up larger concentrations of power into pieces that individually have less power than the one implementing the strategy

2. Divide and Conquer
The powerful will not be overcome when the proletariat are kept seperate, have no voice, no power, no platform

Immigration Policy - What Immigration Policy - There is no immigration policy

Quote
Kiernan says migration policy changes announced by the government last October
Kiernan says over the longer-term, immigration policy should be considered within the context /endquote

Some months ago Croaking Cassandra did a series on the dis-benefits and dis-economies of migration. A question was aked as to what the governments written comprehensve immigration policy was

Because immigration impacts on so many things such as schools, jobs, hospitals, roads, houses, electricity, taxes etc it was assumed there was a single comprehensive policy document that tied it all together

His answer was there is no single policy. There is no single responsibilty. They are a series of departmental independent targets that are not cohesive or drawn together

When ,not if peters gets in he'll be all over this, so the people coming in at the moment are renters are they , no money, stacking the Auckland houses full of people with 10 cars out front, so in time or now are low income earners and FHBers , needing cheap housing, great plan, why aren't they flying into the country with a suitcase of cash buying houses, o they don't have any, I hope nz doesn't fall on bad times ( recession) , it's like the overseas investors figures , full of it

As I have said before the official figures don't include so called temporary visa holders, about 200,000, incl all those students paying essentially for residency. So not only are there probably a minimum of 8000 extra official long termers, there are tens of thousands of temps, many of whom want to stay and all of whom are contributing to our problems more than to our overall benefit

Thank you David Hargreaves: at long last a sensible article about immigration.

The report has 28 pages so I suggest we all stop posting and read it. I like your summary of its conclusions but that doesn't mean it may not contain flaw. For example I'm wondering how their 10,500 to 16,000 figure will match with the 12,873 who arrived in the "Uncapped Family Sponsored" category last year - these are permanent relationships with Kiwis and I doubt there are that many fraudulent relationships getting past the Dept of Immigration checks.

From Page 17 of the report ""but if fewer people are approved for skilled migrant visas, it is likely that fewer people will be eligible for the associated partnership visas"".

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15

"10,500 and 16,600 - but that could take seven years to achieve"

Good grief! This is not some kind of uncontrollable system we have to just sit back and watch like a cuckold. This isn't a weather forecast for rain. It's a TAP that can be turned off. Cut the fake students. Cut the family stream sponsorship from non-citizens. Use the points system to bring in only 60k migrants rather than the current 132k.

I hate to say anything nice about the Nats and immigraton but the April 2017 rule changes do make some sort of sense (see page 15). But only if enforced rigorously - the income bands make it easy for those who are willing to cheat the system by paying their employer to employ them. Please get rid of the rorts and corruption and I might even vote for Bill.

Admit haven't completely read the detail but cannot help but think that news like this , as relative to election sentiment, will take all the iron filings to the nearest magnet, that being the party of Mr Peters. Me too!

Only the Greens believe in ignoring fact based policy and replacing it with 'values'. Time we asked Jacinda and Bill and Winston what they made of this report. Sure looks like an authoritative report with calm conclusions.

Ehem. Charter schools and Boot Camps would like a word with you.

Fair point especially about Boot Camps. In NZ I wouldn't bother with Charter schools but I'm not against them on principle - for example if parents believe the most important aspect of education is religious doctrine then who are we who say otherwise - on the other hand we can insist on basic education such that a child becoming an adult can make up their own mind and have the basic skills required to survive in NZ (reading, writing, maths, basic facts). But this is waffle - read the report it has some good aspects although I would like to see some acceptance of the actual and potential corruption involved in our current system. I would also like more info about why they think high numbers of low-skilled immigrants are not affecting job prospects for low skilled Kiwis.

It isn't alternative education that is a problem, it is that our charter school legislation allows profit to be taken, thus we could have school with shareholders as we do aged care facilities and of course one step on from that is paying the staff piss poor money so you can dish out dividends to the shareholders from the public money you get to run the place.
Note - even in England where charter schools are quite big, there is no provision for profit taking

I have to reiterate that I would not have started charter schools in NZ. Judging by what I have seen NZ has an excellent educational system that is quite flexible so Charter schools were not needed. Since I have little interest in them I might be wrong but I vaguely remember reading the equivalent schools in Sweden are for profit and do work well. I really cannot see why they can't be for profit - especially if owned by the teachers.
What I did dislike was the limitations on school inspections.

"".. findings are contained in Infometrics' new report: 'Migration: Informing the debate', which was released on Thursday. "" Strangely I've seen no mention of it in the NZ Herald since last Thursday. Maybe it lacks any feel good photos?