David Hargreaves looks at the new temporary work visa proposals - the latest broken election promise from the Labour-led 'taking a breather on immigration' Government

David Hargreaves looks at the new temporary work visa proposals - the latest broken election promise from the Labour-led 'taking a breather on immigration' Government

I'll start with a quick test.

Who said this?

“Labour will take a breather on immigration while making record investments in housing, health, education, and infrastructure. We will close down the backdoor route to residency through low-level courses and low-value work."

If you answered: Iain Lees-Galloway, the now Immigration Minister, then can I say you are very cynical for immediately thinking the worst like that. You are also 100% correct.

The above quote was taken from a press statement issued under Lees-Galloway's name on July 21, 2017.

A lot can change in a little over two years, clearly. Including a party it seems not expecting to be in Government, ending up being in Government and not really knowing how to go about implementing its policies - because it didn't expect to be implementing them.

I'll come back a little later to the Labour coalition's increasing signs of slippage against what it said it would do.

But to focus for the moment on immigration and Labour, this week's announcement on new temporary work visas is problematic in many areas.

I'll try to cover off some of my main concerns.

The fact that it will be employer-driven is hugely problematic - potentially. 

If we look at recent history it is employer-driven 'temporary' migration that has in some circumstances led us to witnessing - and I will use that very charged word - slavery. Yes, there have been documented cases of would-be migrants, desperate to get a foot in the door in New Zealand, being treated effectively as slaves.

Now, the Government will undoubtedly claim that its new measures will safeguard against that. But in this, as with many parts of these proposals, we will be dependent on the diligence and efficiency of government department staff. These will be staff that will be placed under a lot of time pressure with the implementation of these new proposals. Will there be additional staff added to take on these responsibilities?

Do I really need to over-emphasise the point here that even at this early stage it would be worth questioning how thoroughly the accreditation of businesses and other things such as the 'labour market tests' will be done?

Every scheme has loopholes and it looks all too clear to me that there are loopholes in these new proposals that you would be able to drive buses through.

As one entirely random thought, for example - the proposals say that migrants must be paid the median wage. Okay, what about some very unscrupulous person 'paying' the median wage to a temporary migrant they've sponsored - but then forcing said migrant to pay half of it back through an agreed pre-deal? 

It is 'robust' - until it isn't

Clearly this would be a breach of the rules. But clearly also, the unscrupulous person/business would need to be caught. And this would go back to how thorough the checking processes are going to be. And of course the Government's going to say they will be thorough. But every process you can ever think of is always "a robust process" until it is proven to not be.

So, I'm a long way from satisfied that these new measures will stop exploitation of migrants. I think potentially the measures might well make the problem worse.

If we move on to look at the impact on migration levels, well, there's one thing very obviously missing from the Government's outline proposal. There's no numbers - well, not in terms of how many migrants may end up coming here through this new scheme.

Lees-Galloway, who two years ago was "taking a breather" on immigration was this week telling RNZ "we are not fixated on the numbers", but that it was "unlikely" the new measures would lead to more people coming.

Well, I know how I read that answer...

Okay, so, is the increase in migrant labour I think we are certain to see a problem, given that these are supposedly temporary work visas?

When is temporary permanent?

If temporary means temporary, well, no it isn't necessarily a problem. But even temporary people need housing, infrastructure and services.

And we know full well from the recent past that "temporary" has simply been the code for "foot in the door" that leads to application for more permanent residency.

This leads to what I would term "accidental permanent migration". 

It is unplanned and unprepared for.

People come into the country to do low paid jobs, get to stay here and end up being here permanently. 

Look, good on them. They are blameless. They are trying to make better lives for themselves.

However, unplanned and unprepared for migration is going to produce stresses and strains within the country in so many ways. And it is so unnecessary.

From the New Zealand perspective, migration is one thing that could, and I would argue, should be absolutely controlled. As a country the Government could set out the numbers of migrants it wants to see - and the type.

We need the immigration conversation

When has that ever happened though? When has there been a sensible, non-emotional discussion about the right numbers of people in this country?

How sensible is it to just let people into the country at the whims of employers seeking low paid workers and then seeing what you end up with?

Immigration is something that should be discussed properly. There should be a proper immigration policy. 

The Labour-led "taking a breather on immigration" Government is now simply continuing the ad hoc approach the National administration had in the previous nine years.

And then there's the potential impact on New Zealand-born people who might be, shall we say on the fringes of society.

There was a lot of flannel included with the proposals from the Government this week that the new proposals would carry safeguards that will see jobs going first to New Zealanders wherever possible.

This will not be the reality.

Making the most of what we have

Look, I can see why an employer would much rather fancy taking on highly motivated migrants, at probably not very high wages, over young New Zealanders who, to put it as politely as possible, might not have acquired a good work ethic.

As I have said before though, people born in this country are not people we can just ignore. If we choose to fill jobs with migrants and let young people 'fall through the cracks' then they will be a social liability for the country for as long as they live.

The first option has to be to try to make as much as possible out of the people who are born here because one way or another they are here to stay and ignoring them doesn't make them go away. As I say, they possibly just end up being a social liability.

There's other points I could make on this, but I'll leave it there for now.

To come back to the point I was making earlier and this Government's slippage against what it said it would do - well, this immigration flip-flop is another bad one. It goes against what the 2017 election policy was.

It follows closely on from the huge flip flop on KiwiBuild, another big election platform.

How forgiving should we be?

How many times could and should a Government be able to get away with going into complete reverse on things it said it would do in the election run-up?

This was, apparently, to have been the year of "delivery" for this Government.  

In terms of delivering flip-flops, maybe it is.

In terms of doing what it told the people of New Zealand it would do in the run-up to the last election, not so much.

I had assumed the election result next year would be a foregone conclusion, with a Labour-led Government to be elected.

Well, surely all bets are off now.

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Excellent analysis, thank you.


This could kill their chances of re-election. NZ has a proud history of very high numbers of immigrants (per capita) being accepted and integrated and becoming successful Kiwis. These changes risks repeating the mistake made by the Nationals.

The ludicrous delays that INZ is famous for are unfair to applicants; the changes may speed everything up for migrants and that is good but at what risk of modern slavery. Note the figures produced by the reputable international slavery index increased dramatically under the national govt; will it further increase?

A solution would be to charge employers for employing foreigners. Other countries have significant work permit fees; it is one way to get employers to give citizens priority over easily intimidated foreign workers.


.. Labour have an ace up the sleeve to win them the next election. .. he's called Simon Bridges . ..

Wait for the dark horse leader change in the final stage prior to election. This playbook has been used successfully quite a few times, not just in the most recent election in NZ. The challenge is in finding the right photogenic neophyte star in the party...

The problem is the lack of a viable alternative to vote for.

National was also elected on their campaigning then broke their promises, turned their backs on their campaigning etc. So who to vote for next? This more than anything is likely why the major parties fail to move forward with the Electoral Commission's recommendations to lower the MMP threshold. They realise it'll be harder to get away with not acting on their promises.


I've become so cynical.
I'll probably vote for Labour just to keep National out. Lesser of 2 evils.
However, I'm so jaded with these parties that if National electioneered on siginficant income tax cuts, I'd possibly vote for them. Because in the absence of competent parties, looking after Number 1 needs to be prioritised.
Cynical, I know.

Not too long in our society from the great post-war generations building up the country, to being ruled by narcissists with portfolios who think little about the future of the country. Burkean conservatism nowhere to be seen. So yeah...everyone's going to end up focusing only on themselves.

I'd rather not do that. But if voting for an incompetent centre-left party means their theoretically good ideas don't get implemented, what's the point? Might as well vote out of self interest, in that case.

To be fair, all Simon has to do is spin some BS about how they will reduce immigration and he will probably find himself in power


Best article I've read on this subject. Time Labour reread Prof Stringer's 2016 report on worker exploitation. She was not surprised it happens but was surprised on how widespread it was.

Sadly INZ is seriously under resourced. The new changes to the rules will strain their resources. It should double all charges and double staffing immediately.


This is the sort of stuff that leads to the emergence of what some call ultra right wing, nationalist groups or even white supremacists. And entirely understandable if the main parties won't deliver.

Unfortunately the main parties are trying to please everyone - but end up pleasing no one. Perhaps Labours action on immigration has more to do with the realization that without immigrants the NZ economy is well and truly munted. Just saying.....


Does that gel with Reddell's analyses? Seemed he wasn't as convinced about economic benefits of massive immigration volumes.

Maybe not but short term expediency - the sugar hit to the economy - is all politicians worry about (and the next election).

As Bill Clinton reputedly said "it's the economy stupid"

Distraction is key to any political party's strategy.

Painful but true

"make as much as possible out of the people who are born here because one way or another they are here to stay and ignoring them doesn't make them go away"

I find this a very astute description, which fits well with how I wish a lot of my tax dollars to be spent. It applies to low-socioeconomic groups, it applies also to those Xenophobic groups who might be called far right.

If the main parties don't deliver, then the country is split into 3 - the rational fatigued middle who almost despair at the choice of simon bridges or labour-U-turn-team, and the two ends who think the failure to discuss honestly or act on our country's challenges is just a call to further madness/violence/virtue protest

Exactly, and this is the worst part of it. Right now, most people seem to be disgruntled with immigration policy but have no ill will towards the people who immigrate here (and rightly so).

Unfortunately both National and Labour continue to duck having an actual well thought out policy (that calculates and determines how to pay for necessary infrastructure and services required to support a rapidly increasing population) and instead just uses immigration as a short term GDP boost, ignoring any long term costs.

If they continue down this road, and prioritise the short term needs of businesses, while letting society as a whole eat the costs, I worry that that it will open the door to hard line anti-immigration gaining power. I also worry that sentiment will turn from people blaming immigration policy, to actually blaming the immigrants themselves (who as the article points out are NOT to blame).

Labor's year of the U turn : U turn on a billion trees planted , U turn on 100 000 KiwiBuild homes , U turn on immigration ... but , they didn't U turn on cancelling infrastructure projects such as much needed roading upgrades ... that was the Greens ... and they didn't U turn on destroying our lucrative natural gas industry , 'cos before the 2017 election they never flagged they'd do that ..

Not so bad then , U know ....

Year of delivery...

As I noted on a prior article on the same subject, it appears to be the year of miscarriages instead.

Delivery was supposed to follow cock up...only for ardern though

'U Elect, We Turn'...Labour's new election slogan ?

Do not worry next year people of NZ will do U turn on Labour - Only deterrent is National party..........but Labour will be a one Term Wonder for current as more U turns about to come from Labour...

Not if I can help it, Labour may not be perfect by any means, but another National govt, no thank you very, very much


Very good, David. Very soon New Zealand will be an almost entirely low waged economy, with productivity per capita stagnant, and its basic infrastructure coming apart at the seams. Meanwhile, as a former Minister of Education said at a dinner I attended, 80% of New Zealanders living overseas are degree holders. If ever a country was determined to dig itself into a hole, we certainly have a political class ready to hasten and deepen the endeavour.

80 percent of nzers living overseas are degree holders? What? I find that very hard to believe, tell it to Aussies who are deporting criminal nzers back in large numbers and see if they agree.

It was no private comment, but given in a speech welcoming the Master of a Cambridge college. I find it entirely credible, notwithstanding those NZers living in, or being kicked out of, Australia

What was his motivation for the comment (valid or not) I wonder

Large-scale loss of our human capital. It's capital not easy to build up, and New Zealand exports it, achieving less than optimum local return.

The figure sounds believable to me, but I do wonder how many of those eventually return to settle in NZ. Obviously less than 100%, but how much less?

I suspect a fair proportion (whatever that is...?) do return. But I would say we miss out on much of the vision, energy and commitment of those in their 20s and 30s.

And gain from their experiences, knowledge and networks gained overseas.. Its one of those things thats always going to be a thing, the best and brightest will travel.. we just need to make it attractive for them to come home, loaded up with foreign money and experiences, and an appreciation of what we have here.

Attractive for successful professionals = high salary, cheap house prices, pristine environment, low crime & good schools.


The hole is being well and truly dug. I can't help but thinking if there was a paradigm shift in private investment from property to business - we'd be able to invest and automate a lot of crap. I work in a manufacturing environment and this is especially evident - we rely heavily on 'temporary' visa labour to perform tasks that could easily be automated (increasing productivity) with a little investment. However, with property returns being exponentially higher this is redundant. Hopefully this changes :)


The fact is that New Zealand only needs large-scale immigration - at the lowest possible wage cost - to prop up its commodity economy, its commodity activities. And this is a signal of monumental economic and business failure. In all commodity sectors, the crucial issue is keeping a lid on, or bringing down, cost. And, despite all talk about added value, the New Zealand economy is stuck in commodity thinking, commodity production. The property investment focus is merely one example of lazy thinking. Take a look where the immigrant workers are 'required'. In almost every case, it'll be in a low added-value activity. And so New Zealand sinks further into a hole of its own making.

I agree with everything you say. Property aspect is definitely a small part but seemingly the most likely to change as I see no meaningful policy around to address the issues referred to. As a 25 year old the situation is rather depressing.

The focus on property values, the support to property investment, will be intractable until sufficient numbers of voters are not homeowners, and sufficiently angry that their lives are impoverished through the insecurities, discomfort, cost and, often, the exploitation of renting, as well as the inequities in taxation. Working for Families merely papers the plaster to the wall. Other structural reforms - to my mind easier to accomplish - would begin to break the national dependence on commodities. Here's just one example of foregone opportunity. My business would dearly love to use cellophane packaging. It's a premium product produced in Japan and Norway. Meanwhile New Zealand exports logs. And the timber industry is one such dependent on low-waged immigrant workers, truck-drivers, etc.

I agree with you, it's hard not to take a pessimistic view of everything.
2 key takeaways from some credible academics about migration in NZ:
1) The problem with our economy is neither shortage of skills nor of capital; it's to do with policy misalignment, which leads to widespread misallocation of both.
2) Skill level of migrants have worsened since 2000 and under the current settings, migrants are more likely to add burden to the already overstretched demand side of the economic equation rather than alleviate pressures on the supply side.

Your two points are on the nail. Policy misalignment is a direct result of the attention and influence given to our commodity sectors at the political level. The hosing of lowly-skilled immigrants into the country is in direct response to this influence. I'm an optimistic pessimist. We live - still - in a free and democratic country.

A fairly crucial(eye opening) point just raised by you in some above comments. Forgive my naievity, is it right to say that this focus to commodity sectors is the opposite of the occasional minor support given to high tech industries and incubators in our economy?

How do we get more political support here? Maybe we are missing the creative link between existing commodity industries and something high tech to take us forward... e.g. why are we not genetically engineering and growing the best logs in the world?

The scale of our commodity industries is such that they, naturally, have significant political clout. The problem is the lack of reform or innovation within these industries - the attention to the kind of added value I mentioned in a comment below. So government policy settings, such as in immigration, become props to existing commodity structures and strategies, so ensuring or embedding continuing low-value outcomes. There are numerous reasons why genuine innovation has less political and investment attention, but the NZ government ear over decades has been turned to our commodity industries. Occasionally a hearing aid is inserted to consider other voices, but then government and the big commodity outfits continue their slumber. (Fonterra, though, is about to wake up in a full-body sweat.)

Yes, we are indeed missing the link between our existing commodity industries and innovative, added value opportunities. Cellophane - a timber product - is just one example. (Based on our business research, we would assert that everything marketed as cellophane in NZ is dishonestly named.)

Exactly. Produce raw materials - expect low returns. We should invest in turning these commodities into value added finished products

We should invest in turning these commodities into value added finished products

Bit of a problem here. The world is awash in value-added finished products most of which is clamouring to get into the China market. Now is that a bad thing? Well, the reality is that the world wants cheaper, 'value for money' products. Think of the success of Uniqlo. The birth of this company and brand only happened because of the deflationary impact on the Japanese consumer's atttitude and behavior.

The world is over-supplied with productive capacity. Much of this is wasted in goods destined for a life of brief use and then, often, landfill. Added value achieves more with less: more product life, more value to the producer and user, lower material/energy input (more use of intelligence), less wastage, less environmental degradation. Consider the investment Denmark has made in just such a design and production strategy, and its achievement in local reward and global customer satisfaction. Is it strange that they don't 'require' hundreds of thousands of low-skilled immigrants?

Bingo. Its about producing quality, not quantity

Even multinational companies operating in NZ are forced to drop their quality standards and adopt a low cost model in NZ. Most resort to hiring cheaper foreign labour than employing local talent, mainly due to a lack of 'quality premium' businesses in NZ are willing to pay for their products and services.

Cost trumps quality and status quo trumps innovation everyday in boardrooms across the country.

Yea it is a challenge. Consumers are so used to buying cheap disposable products rather than quality reusable stuff.
And we also demand more and more of this stuff

Coalition are doing the right thing, other than breaking election promises. We currently have unemployment of around 4% - not possible to have lower due to structural unemployment. It is sensible to be bringing in energetic permanent immigrants who contribute to our economy, remit little to their old country, are educated at old country's expense, young, healthy and likely to pay a million in tax during their working lives, while creating more opportunities for profitable trade through their contacts.


That last sentence is belied by the nature of the changes, unfortunately.

A (pretend) temporary visa holder making $52k can bring their family in and receive funded schooling. Let's say 2 kids in school per year, at $12,500 per child per year (first result when searching international school fees cost). That is a net cost to NZ for quite a few years, and if the person stays in low value work (e.g. hospitality) then you end up adding in Working for Families / Landlord Supplement after a while.

That money would arguably be better invested in policies that make it more viable for Kiwis to have children of their own rather than subsidising migrants to increase the population whilst propping up otherwise less viable low-wage hospitality businesses.

Why ask NZ taxpaying Kiwis to subsidise these businesses and migrants rather than supporting young Kiwi families to make having children more viable?


"energetic permanent immigrants who contribute to our economy, remit little to their old country, are educated at old country's expense, young, healthy and likely to pay a million in tax during their working lives"

Exactly right! However it is becoming apparent that this is less and less likely to be the typical immigrant we are bringing in

Go down to your local shopping mall and have a look at the workers there. How many of them are likely to be paying a million dollars in tax? Ditto for your local restaurants, bars, service stations, hotels/motels, and fast food joints. Its clear that there is absolutely no barrier to letting completely unskilled, low paid immigrants into this country, and as a result, they flock here for their free healthcare and a government pension after 10 years.

As I read the changes proposed - they are targeted at improving conditions for the recruitment of migrant workers into the primary sector, and making it more difficult for migrant workers to be recruited into the retail/hospitality sector.

They arrive healthy and young so healthcare and pension are minor attractions. Talk to them - it is free education that keeps the 3rd world here.


Sydney Morning Herald has a report on immigration today, according to the OECD NZ has the distinction of having the greatest number of people on work permits per capita in the world. This is madness, we need a new political party.


.. perhaps someone ought to question Winston Peter's on this , 'cos he had a hardline against the Gnats flooding the country with low skilled cow squeezers and courier drivers ... he's not held his annointed queen Taxcinda accountable for keeping the welcome mat out ..

Would be great if Interest could grill Lees-Galloway or Winston on this.
I've given up corresponding with them. I either get no response, or a lame 'no answer' type of response.

We tried that - new political party - and decided it was all too risky.
"Smarter Immigration."


Only 193000 or so of a total population of 4.9 million, as per another article in this site.

a really good summation of what is wrong with the latest government statement on immigration.ineffectual ministers apart,the idea that it would be robust does not reassure us.my feeling about the policing of illegal immigration is that they would only get out of their office if there was a fire alarm.

The year of delivery was for Working Groups....hey we are only at 250 so far......have no policy, start a working group.....want to deflect the blame for bad and rushed policy with more wholes than Swiss cheese.....Working group.

Lets do this!

Isn't that what Governments do? Have working groups to discuss things?

National had 75 of them in their first 6 months, where was their policies as you say?

Probably need a Working group to investigate the working groups it seems.

Certainly is a impressive ratio difference in groups.

Let the political gravy train continue..

Great spreadsheet! The mind boggles.

I wonder what ever happened with their Drinking Water Standards committee? Maybe we could ask the residents of Havelock North...


NZ political system is too outdated to solve any complicated problems with multiple causes.
NZ politicians are too vision-less to build a better country.
NZ voters are too gullible to believe any politicians can do anything to dampen down immigrants -- one of the four pillars supporting economy.

... and the alternative would be to have an undemocratic state , a repressive dictatorship , incarceration of dissidents ....

I reckon we'd rather remain a bunch of old, visionless , gullible farts than that ...


Ban the China bot.


NZ voters don't like tanks in the streets, Gubmint troops waiting to assault citoyen, and hired thugs deployed to prevent lawful expressions of opinion.




Those things may all be true but I'm still not convinced the answer to immigration would be to put undesirable folk in reeducation camps.

Meanwhile in Xinjiang....

Should rename your monicker to Xinjiangmowang

I swear this xingmowang is a parody bot of what a pro-CCP poster sounds like, perhaps to cast mud on pro-CCP folks in general. Is there anyone on here that is ACTUALLY at this level of banality?

The only sane and sensible way to go forward on Immigration is to have a binding referendum with annual numerical quotas on different types of visas. May be we need a California's Proposition 101 type facility to our general elections, so such important topics can be tagged on to elections. Of course, only citizens should be allowed to vote.

Labour should also watch out for "Back Door" immigration scams like this one that was recently highlighted in the US. BBC article: Chinese woman pleads guilty in 'birth tourism' case.
"Ms Li admitted that between 2013 and 2015, her company You Win USA Vacation Services would charge Chinese nationals - including government officials - between $40,000 and $80,000 USD for coaching in how to have a baby in the US. With that came the benefits of American citizenship".

According to a tourism spokesman for Auckland,this new tv series,LOTR being filmed in NZ will create new jobs in the transport and food industries.
Open those doors wide,we need ya.

Indeed. We must avoid the affects of supple and demand on wage growth at all costs!

It would need to, because taxpayers are subsidizing it to the tune of $300 million dollars.

Another day, another nail for Labour / Greens / NZF.

So we can pry the lid off the coffin containing the Nats? Hmmm. Can i see a different menu please?


How forgiving should we be? Not one bit! And we shouldn't forgive National either. The only option at the next election is something new. The career politicians and all their apparatchiks need to be put out in the cold.

These people will take jobs from old people as well, not only the young unmotivated people.


Labour, working to keep wages lower for longer, we stand beside our corporate friends.

Sadly true.

Yep, seems to me the changes are targeted at the primary sector.

I admire labour for their realism and listening to business. There - never thought id say that! Either we lose manufacturing overseas/import foreign goods from countries with poor working conditions or we import the labour. I thought we wanted to add more value to our products rather than export the raw materials? Yes we have a problem of housing and infrastructure shortages, another golden oppurtunity and support for the economy! Lets have some discussion about the solutions and upside. Its called a growth mindset. Well done labour, now do better national.

Switzerland avoids cheap foreign labour and exports far more than us. Many other countries too. Why should we join the low wage economies?

"Switzerland has an open trade economy based on low prices for manufactured goods and no limitation when it comes to quantity. This is one of the main reasons the economy is very stable and Switzerland attracts foreign investments" So looks like we are on the right pathway!

Finally, some sanity on a fundamental issue that we have pretended is too delicate to talk about.

To me there are three issues that have caused New Zealand's stagnation and decline over the last few decades:
1 Immigration
2 Housing
3 Excessive foreign capital inflows causing increased indebtedness.
The current conceptual framework is messed up in all three.

On the other hand, I'll soon be able to get a cleaner for $20 cash in hand (and by $20 I mean total, not per hour). Ditto for a gardener. We can become like the USA, where the middle class can hire dirt cheap household staff thanks to the hordes of undocumented and illegal immigrants. If you can't have slavery, illegal (and rampant uncontrolled legal) immigration is the next best thing!

Jacinda gaffe, confusing China with Japan. Poor.


Jet lag isn't a good excuse. The time difference isn't really enough to generate jet lag. A little bit of tiredness, sure.

I think because she is always overseas these days, its easy to be confused as to which country she is actually in. All that's important, is that she is not in New Zealand sorting out New Zealand problems and dealing with her shambles of a Government.

Helen Clark was always doing that. When things got awkward like when she let her driver take the fall for driving too fast, she was overseas!

Must have gone down like a lead balloon with the recent trade tensions between China and Japan.

Simon would never mix up his masters, true.

NZ ecenomy suriveves from exploitation of immigrants - low under pay and long hours.

Small to Medium business unfortunately cannot suruvie on $20 Per hour Wages to its employees


Thank you David, this article outlines many of my concerns.
As a New Zealander I am frustrated that I have no say in these immigration settings.
I have lost confidence in the main parties to put New Zealanders first and foremost.

You forgot the conviction for human trafficking that arose out of Zespris refusal to monitor the employment conditions of its contractor's workers to the same degree they care about their fruit. Reading between the lines this is a complete surrender by business NZ in their long running attempt to transform the NZ economy into anything like the Australian one we aspire too...and that isn't too flashy compared to others. So, we are destined to stay wedded to low value exports and a crumby underfunded overcrowded country then?


I find this seemingly lack of concern about “numbers” absolutely ludicrous.
It’s these “numbers” that clog hospitals, roads and strain infrastructure to name but a few of the less desirable outcomes.
It appears the government is completely oblivious.
They might learn something about numbers, or the lack of them, at the next election.

They must be taking lessons from the John Key/Bill English book of 'How to ignore the numbers or...how I learned to smile and bullshit the voting public.' Still, If I was running a plywood manufacturing plant or a dilapidated meat works full of obsolete equipment, I'd be grinning from ear to ear right about now...it means heaps more cheap hands on the assembly lines and another 10 years of sweat from my coldwar era machinery...ahhh the provincial economy...out of date since...forever!

I'm disappointed by Labour. They have lacking strategic focus

1) Kiwibuild -was never going to work, is middleclass welfare. Govts focus needed to be those living in garages.

2) Oil exploration ban. I'm all for zero carbon but let the carbon prices & exploration costs determine whether it occurs not a policy statement by a minister (without it seems others knowing)

3) Immigration
i) it needs to be bought down to something sustainable - too many disceconomies of scale in Auckland
ii) needs to be focused on the immigration rate which maximises social cost / benefits / capita
& gdp/capita growth
iii) would be better in the independent hands of the RBNZ as another demand lever along with interest rates
iv) businesses should have to bid for the visas for immigrant workers. That way the price will determine whether the employer chooses an immigrant, to train existing staff or get another NZ worker with higher wage
v) there needs to be strong compliance monitoring so there are no payments back from the immigrant worker to the employer. The full compliance costs need to be paid as part of the visa costs.

3iv and 3v --- Yes please.

3v – compliance nigh on impossible to monitor – unless the employer reneges and the immigrant squawks.

The whole thing is a spectacular own -goal

Such an excellent article. Thank you.

Yes. We have become slavers. A friend in vineyards works with Vanuatuans, a merry noisy lot. Another group those came into from Marlborough for some task but he was astounded at how quiet and subdued they were compared with those he usually works with. Cowed in fact, eyes always downwards.
Apparently where they come from if they step out of line, they are shipped home. So they keep quiet.
Further there is a scam, where workers are provided accommodation. But overcharged at huge rates. So they earn wages that satisfy immigration requirements, but big money goes straight aback to the employers. So be suspicious when you see promotion about employers building accommodation.
If a slave objects, then they are straight on the plane. This is widespread over many regions and industries.

Modern slavery tolerated by our Labour led govt.

I am all for the RSE scheme, it provides us with large numbers of temporary workers when we need them and it provides (mainly) Pacific Island nations peoples a means to earn money that goes a long way back home. The only thing we need to absolutely make sure of, is that they are treated well and not ripped off while here, that should be punished by something little short of flaying the skin off the back of those exploiting them.

thanks PocketAces. Have you wondered why we don't have RSE type contracts for locals. It's a bit strange.
I am aware of locals (eg students) who have tried the fruitpicking etc. Many conversations on this. They find they are used as expendables - Thus short days, erratic days, early finish. Some get no work at all. Overall they find it difficult to make it worthwhile given travel and costs etc. Our grower employers behave very badly, but at the same time market themselves as needing foreign workers.
Drive the orchard areas claiming worker shortage, and see the gateways saying 'no workers needed'
Don't believe the press releases on this topic.

Exactly! there is no plan or numbers, the take breather statement Andrew Little expressed has never occurred for NZ housing, education, health infrastructure the tax has to suffer again…
It ridiculous having these immigrants taking low skilled jobs that some 300,000 circa unemployed can get their foot in the door and develop some basic disciplines such as going to and holding down a job and working, then start working their journey into skilled work and a better future as a productive member of NZ society.

Gotta say thats a great article, and I have to agree with pretty much all of it

We really do need another political party. Two right wing parties in the pocket of the financial establishment and anti the average NZ citizen is 2 too many.