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Gareth Morgan joins Shamubeel Eaqub calling for a population strategy. He wants to know how we form one and what the goal of such a strategy should be

Gareth Morgan joins Shamubeel Eaqub calling for a population strategy. He wants to know how we form one and what the goal of such a strategy should be

By Gareth Morgan*

Firstly an admission - personally I don’t want 10 million people living in New Zealand which is how many the current rate of immigration will deliver in 40 years.

One of the things I love about coming back here from overseas is the fact that we have so much space.

But that is just my selfish opinion, and this is a democracy. I’m interested to hear what other people think and why. 

Some people might want 10 million people living here, to recreate some of the buzz and culture that can be found overseas. Others might be happy to have 10 million, as long as they are the right 10 million – that is people that will make our country a better place to live in. 


Only if carefully managed does immigration actually lift the incomes of people in the host nation. And even then the evidence tells us the effect on our incomes while positive, is small. 

That leaves plenty of scope for a government to get it wrong and open the spigot to low skilled migration that does little but suppress wage growth, raise inequality and lift average but not median incomes. This is the legacy of the current government. And despite its belated attempts to improve the quality of migration – i.e.; the average skill level – there is little to suggest that a serious attempt has been made to stop the policy.

Indeed just a couple of weeks ago the Minister of Immigration pledged to meet labour shortages by letting in more people, rather than countenance wage rates rising. How on earth National expects wage earners to do better under its policy regime is a question New Zealanders need to ask.


As a strategy, sacrificing quality for quantity of migrants is a recipe for disaster for the most vulnerable people in society. Raising the supply of those people will suppress wage levels and will ensure that taxpayers have to pay more and more out through welfare benefits such as Working for Families. My question is how else are our own modestly-paid supposed to share in the prosperity that is evident in the overall GDP numbers?

It is highly skilled workers that create wealth and the sooner the immigration policy rediscovers this truth the better. The quantity mantra is not only putting strain on infrastructure, it is accompanied by wall-to-wall corruption in immigration practices. The troubles for the foreign education sector have already been well documented but there’s frequent anecdotal evidence around general immigration practices also being corrupt as desperate low skilled foreign workers pay off employers to falsify their reported salaries in order to meet residency requirements. There is no reason to believe the corruption is restricted only to the foreign student education sector.

Expanding the size of the economy through stoking the numbers of foreign migrants while the inequality gap is widened even further, and the modestly paid are trapped on wages below that require to live on, is a curious way to improve New Zealanders’ lives. It is of course a strategy to improve the incomes of some at the expense of others and so I would say it has to stop.

At the rate we’re going New Zealand will be changed forever, the things we value such as being a small but well-off society living in a land where our most precious commodity is personal space and environmental health, are being sacrificed at the altar of economic prosperity for some.

10 million New Zealanders by mid-century, with immigration of the sort we’re sponsoring, leaving many trapped in low paid jobs is not a New Zealand that I covet.

In fact even if migrants bring skills with them, and we can overcome the short-term infrastructure issues, there are still pros and cons to continuing to increase our population indefinitely. That is why the Opportunities Party agrees with economist Shamubeel Eaqub in calling for a population strategy.

But a population strategy has to begin with you deciding how many people you want living here. Just in our own office the disparity of views and reasons people have for their view has been so wide that it tells me we need to see what the public think, whether there’s any common ground out there on this.

It’s important to appreciate is that we don’t necessarily have to have population growth of anything like the current 2% per year in order for our per capita incomes to be rising – they are separate issues.

Gareth Morgan is a businessman, economist, investment manager, motor cycle adventurer, public commentator and philanthropist. He has recently founded The Opportunities Party which is contesting this year's general election. The TOP immigration policy is here.

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Almost 50 years ago in Britain, " We must be mad, literally mad, as a nation to be permitting the annual inflow of some 50,000 dependants, who are for the most part the material of the future growth of the immigrant descended population. It is like watching a nation busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre." (Powell April,1968)
And what happened? The same as will here, there and everywhere. The growing global population of the planet has to live somewhere, and any country that does not take its share might find out to its detriment that is should have done. (Keep your friends close etc) As one constituent commented back then:
"If I had the money to go, I wouldn't stay in this country… I have three children, all of them been through grammar school and two of them married now, with family. I shan't be satisfied till I have seen them all settled overseas." So no immigration into YOUR country, sir, but you want to emigrate to anothers' ? Oh, the hypocrisy.


I wasn't aware that we had a responsibility to take "our share" of population from countries that have exceeded sensible population levels. That a personal view is it? With extreme pressure on the planet from pollution and over exploitation of fragile ecosystems and resources my sympathies lie more with our fellow species.
Even countries such as the UK are now no longer able to meet the food, energy and raw materials needs of its people, what can we do about that. They really do need to take responsibility for themselves; I have no idea what they are thinking allowing any immigration at all.
We do feed a lot of the world though and paying a terrible price for it with ruined rivers and depleted seas.
These overpopulated outfits, especially the wealthy ones have a massive global footprint.
Here's just one example: they are keen on crayfish in Hong Kong, a lot of it from NZ and Australia. We have hammered our crays to the point of extinction in some areas with the consequence of major collapse of our reef and rocky shore systems through overgrazing by the crays favourite kai - kina. It gets worse; the pots here and Oz are baited with NZ Kahawai. Now our lovely native terns are dying of starvation in their millions; they can't feed since they need the kahawai to bring the bait fish to the surface.
Let us do what we can but, for me and my children, I would rather we were an inspiration, a healthy, clean paradise for all species. Tens of millions of extra people; no thanks.


Absolutely, and exactly why we cannot allow ourselves to blow out to the 10-11 billion that has been predicted before we begin to reduce our numbers. That is so much soft soap hoo-ha to appease the concerns of the masses and allow those who reap the "rewards" of continuing gowth. We have to start the reduction of our numbers NOW, not in 40 or 50 years, not AFTER we have sent great numbers of (as you put it) our fellow species to the sword. We can do this via a falling birth rate, and that happens best and easiest when women have full control of their lives and their own fertility. Women in those circumstances makes choices to have fewer children, delay childbirth and even decide not to have children at all. Sadly, the world still has a number of cultures that eschew that completely.
What we need to do now, is to figure out how we prosper without growth, personally, I think this would be how we can use technology and robotics for the good of the world.

How do we prosper without population growth? It is really not the problem its made out to be PocketAces, in fact its probably now at the point where additional people are detracting from prosperity and not just in the UK or Bangladesh but here in NZ. I'll put in a plug here for Michael Reddell at Croaking Cassandra, his study of available data shows no increase in our key wealth indicators due to increased numbers, more likely the reverse and of course we have reduced our individual shareholding in NZ inc. as well at least as far as natural resources go.
I mentioned about the inshore fisheries, there are ways to improve both the health and abundance of our marine environment as well as our prosperity. Hapuku are effectively extinct in large parts of their former range and the population of snapper and crayfish now below one fifth of their natural level; half is considered an acceptable lower limit. Unfortunately the outfit responsible for the care of our fisheries (MPI) are a disgrace and completely captured by big business fishing interests so they will need sorting out but how about we cut way back on the take, ban exports of inshore wild fish and only use selective artisan type fishing methods.
If you want to enjoy our snapper or paua or crayfish you can come here, charter a boat and catch it yourself or have it served in a restaurant. That single fish has now added hundreds or possibly thousands to our economy. That's what I call a win win for all, including the fish and our precious environment.
The Greens and Gareth Morgan's party are strongest on the environment, maybe they could do something along those lines. If the recent dismissal of concerns about the plight of our highly endangered Hectors dolphins (63 left) are any indication National could hardly care less.

Yes, big business is what demands constant growth, which when it is all boiled down, equated to population growth. It is how we dismantle this whole big business thing in order to address it all, they aint going to go quietly, I am picking

"additional people are detracting from prosperity" = totally correct. Net energy per capita must rise ... Resources are finite.

The problem now is overshoot - somehow the world needs to get rid of around 90% of its human population in order to get to some sort of (temporarily) sustainable level again. In the absence of volunteers, this wont happen without resource collapse happening first.

To prosper without population growth is simple. Sensible monetary policy inflating GDP by about 3% pa to keep people spending. Land value tax to form a competitive land market and force productive use of our fixed supply of land. Tarriffs on goods from countries that have exploited labour forces to keep our labour competitive here in NZ. Free trade with countries on the same level as us such as UK, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, the Nordic countries etc. A universal basic income/ citizens dividend to keep money velocity working paid for by redirecting current social spending, plus income from the land tax. This would make our economy boom.

More people buying more and more stuff is what makes economies boom, and more and more people and more and more stuff gobbling up resources is exactly what we do not need. We need to seek prosperity rather than booms and the inevitable busts.

I think 10m(not more) here in 40 years is a fair figure. 4m would probably be condensed into Auckland and 6m distributed elsewhere. Hardly high population density but as GM says everyone should have an opinion.


Governments can get things spectacularly wrong:

Jack Straw regrets opening door to Eastern Europe migrants

Labour relied on research suggesting 13,000 migrants a year would arrive.
But the influx was much larger than expected and contributed to net migration rising above 200,000 a year.

But, did Jack Straw close the door or did he admit his mistake many years later, after it was too late

And the problem with underestimating the number of migrants, also means insufficient planning for those migrants, and causing huge psycho-social issues down the line. But i'm sure Jack Straw is just busy insulting the stupidity of the people who have voted for Brexit, whilst eating crumpets, without any awareness of his part in causing the perfect storm, with his frenemy Tony Blair.

Jack Straw was and is a mistake in itself and as a Socialist never admits to anything,

I have no idea what a target population should be for NZ. What I do know is that raising this issue has the potential to expose one of the major deficiencies of Kiwi culture; the lack of long term planning. Whether it is population growth, immigration, infrastructure or GDP, respective governments in the last 25 years view only the next few years as being important.
It's defeatist but I think that our system of government is broken beyond repair. We will no doubt stumble through the next decade or so pretending to take these issues seriously but in effect retain the status quo.
Some believe that Brexit and Trump were aberrations and are keen to have us believe that with elections in Holland and France it's business as usual. We conveniently ignore the fact that the extremist/transformational parties have gained a large share of the vote. But let's try and pretend that it's not happening.
Immigration is a global issue and also a problem. It won't be solved until the UN makes serious progress on the debate about global population levels.


My personal desired population for New Zealand is two million. I'd settle for five million if I had to as a political settlement.


I think each party needs to set a figure and an annual rate, then we have a clear choice
me personally I think we are full enough and need to cut back to net 10 -15 k per year and once we reach 5 mil change to 1 in 1 out like middle east.
NZ only has so many resources then we also have the problem of technology and AI, how many workers will we need? even dairy farms can be done by robots and the only thing stopping change is the economics of hiring cheap fillipinos over the cost of the machines
last the thing that gets my back up is immigrants telling me I don't know what full or crowded is and Auckland is empty compared to where they have come from.
my answer which is not PC, well you can F off back then we don't want that shite here we value our space especially our green spaces.


Another vote for 5 million here.

No matter how many figures and rates each party puts out, we never have a clear choice. 1 vote can never give you clear choice for a multitude of policies. 1 vote can only give you 1 choice for which group of policies you detest the least. When both major parties have ignored successive referenda (except the flag, can't forget that "important" result was followed...), and we have a "proportional" election system that is not proportional, we will only ever have the choice of the least desirable parasitic party.

3-4mill would be idyllic for me... We could start with deporting all the twisted individuals committing heinous crimes as listed above... wouldn't mind a death penalty for non-citizens either, save on the airfare to deport them.


I agree just 2 million. Lets assume it is a target reached peacefully over a few decades by minimal immigration, continuing emigration and low birth rate.
It would be dramatic: plenty of empty houses; my wealth would disappear but on the other hand I could just move to a better house and more importantly so could my kids. Coffee shops and fast food outlets closing down.
Of course NZ would be even more attractive to tourists but we could be choosy about our tourists so fewer adverts for Asian and Euro massage parlours offering extras.

You and everyone who agrees with you should move out of NZ then, to help achieve your 2 million target

It's interesting that so much vigourous comment is made about immigration on these pages. But the common taters never ever (almost) express a figure they think best for total population.
Lets see some suggestions. Tell us your desired total.

but its the wrong question. NZ trades our resources internationally ... we dont screw our rivers just to feed (4) million.
The correct question is what is a viable World human population ... and the answer (especially without fossil fuel use) is around 95% less...

I'm happy with the current population but accept a very small population growth ( not 2% compounding, way too much ). 7 MIllion tops
What I would like to see is our governments actually ask the public their thoughts on this via a referendum and then be held to task on the results. We do live in a democracy after all.
Also I would like gdp per capita be used rather than GDP. Current by reporting only GDP to judge our countries economic performance incentivises governments to ramp up immigration as that is mostly what GDP measures. The media have a role to play here and need to pick this up.

6 mill tops
Half of that to Auckland

I live in Auckland - if we are dreaming can we move a million out of Auckland - it would be quite nice if emptier.

First referenda would have to be binding Jamin. We live in a democracy where only flag referenda results are listened to, and elections give you the power to do whatever you want until the next election. We have no upper house or constitution to curb any potential currency trader or people trader from running the country however they like.

The UK (similar land mass) has 66 million and it is only recently that anti-immigration sentiment has become widespread. So I think looking at numbers in isolation massively misses and oversimplifies the issues.
Some might argue that the anti-immigration sentiment in the UK, US and elsewhere is actually anti-austerity, anti-corporotocracy and anti-exploitative globalisation but also, many would say, anti-growing-conservative-Islam (which is itself a reaction to westernisation and the destabilising of predominantly Islamic countries with poorly planned military intervention). Rather than explicitly anti-immigration.
There wasn't a critical mass or specific number of immigrants reached in the UK, that suddenly turned public opinion towards anti-immigration sentiment IMO.

We discuss immigration as if it is one straightforward, well defined phenomena but this is not the case. There are so many variables that could completely alter the experience of immigration for both those immigrating and native inhabitants. Are immigrants supported and encouraged to integrate? Or does the system inadvertently support cultural ghettos? Does immigration cover the cost of the additional infrastructure and is there sufficient forward planning in that area? Is there geographical planning, do we specify where the skills shortages are and areas where we want migrants to settle? Do we adequately regulate standards of language? Do we even plan for the psycho-social factors of poorly planned immigration where new migrants do not integrate, end up in cultural ghettos, leading to alienation between host peoples and immigrants? Do we protect the future job prospects of native inhabitants? Do we monitor factors of incoming and out flowing capital and the potential effects that exchange rate fluctuations can make?

After 12 years and over £10,000 in visas, my husband achieved UK citizenship. He had to sit a "life in the UK" test, proof of his ability to speak good English etc and then when he attended his citizenship ceremony, he was the only person at the ceremony who could actually speak English. None of the other people receiving their citizenship could speak even basic conversational English, yet somehow they had passed several tests that required them to do so. None of the facilitators at the ceremony batted an eyelid. It was perfectly normal for the new British citizens to be unable to speak English. Requiring standards of immigrants is an empty, useless gesture unless you are actually going to regulate it and I believe that it is these ridiculous shallow unregulated policies, or lack of well constructed, actionable policies that lead to immigration problems. Rather than "too many immigrants" "our country is full" etc etc. The rate of immigration and the percentage of immigrants to population is also perhaps more significant on a psycho-social level than a meaningless number.

You keep talking 'immigration' ginger and completely missed Gareth's first point. Population. It's a meaningful number to me.

Hi KH,
Immigration and population numbers are inextricably linked but I am not trying to suggest that population numbers are not meaningful. Instead IMO there are also other equally meaningful issues. And focusing on a specific number overly simplifies the problems.

None of that is surprising. Politicians and the media are adept at over simplifying problems, it makes for easy headlines and easier votes.

You makes some good points but without an actual target number we simply don't have a plan. On average the number will always go up so we need to ask our current population how many is too many. New Zealand needs to not shy away from this question and learn to discuss it like adults.

But the number does not always go up, It does not have to at all.

I'm inclined to agree. But the plan should include vigorous structure and planning also. I am concerned the focus will become about numbers in exclusion of other significant issues.

So for instance, the net migration number may stay the same, but the overall population of native NZers may decline. Lets say that the population of NZ is static or meets the population goal (because other migrants or native NZ-ers are leaving) so that percentage increases in the population may be from immigrants who do not speak good English, are exploited for low wages, prepared to live in squalid conditions, tolerate poor working conditions etc, those people may require a different kind of planning, infrastructure or investment economically and socially. And irrelevant of the overall population, a great deal of problems around immigration may still arise, even if the population number is capped and maintained.

Many interesting points that I agree with.The popular resistance to immigration in UK, France, USA, Australia, etc is mainly a strong objection to the government being proven to be unable to control its borders. Surely controlling who comes in is the main role of a government. So it is the failure to discuss immigration and the failure to set targets that matters.
I disagree with the government on many issues but they are debated and decided. To pick one at random granting licenses to drill for oil - the argument is out in the open and if any drilling occurs it may be unpopular but it is legal and anticipated.
OK in NZ there is Winston but although I suspect he is much brighter than he is credited I do disagree with most of what he says except for some immigration issues and there I strongly disagree with how he says things - I'm sure if he never spoke or wrote the 'Chinese' and 'Asian' NZ 1st would double its votes.

Dear Ginger
Have multiple PPorts & am not surprised you paid a few thousand to U.K. Immigration
This is reality everywhere in the world so stop bleating!
NZ on a per capita of pop basis has taken in FAR MORE migrants than the UK lately
NZs government has been utterly negligent in having no plan to house the extra people or make the necessary
infrastructure improvements to meet the new demands. Remember that every new migrant can seek to get their family member/s here also!
Go check out any hospital A& E try NShore hospital & witness the new patients NZs tax payers are looking after. irrespective if payment is ever collected by the NZ hospital system the fact is the increased demand is due to increased unchecked immigration.
Nobody in National wishes to address this fact
National is ultimate in incompetence

6 million by 2050 would be the figure I am comfortable with..

Before you decide on a number you need to decide on where you want to get to in the long run

The sudden changes in Australian Migration Rules tightened up on two major areas, none of which were the numbers but more about the requirement that imports need to accept "australian values" and before they can obtain citizenship after 4 years they have to be able to demonstrate they have met those expectations

example - Fran O'Sullivan in NZ Herald On what it means to be a New Zealander

April 29 2017

Although it is frequently difficult to have an open debate on this subject in our overly politically correct environment - there is the question of whether this country has swung too swiftly into the Asian Century and failed to do enough to define and project a set of values for what it has meant and should mean to be a New Zealander

I agree. The population number cannot be decided without consideration of other psycho-social, labour and economic factors.

45000 immigrants from any one particular country, who all decided to settle in a similar area, over a short period of time, who were not encouraged to integrate, who had a very different culture and perhaps poor English language would be experienced very differently and cause very different infrasturcture and social needs. Even if 45000 Kiwi's and Australians left NZ during the same time period so that net migration remained static.

Actually, even if the number of migrants all spoke English, it would not necessarily be experienced as a positive by native NZ-ers. Let's say that the 45000 immigrants, all came from the UK or US, they all settled in the same area (ie Auckland) and even ended up in nearby suburbs to each other. Let's say a large percentage of those immigrants were highly skilled, took jobs away from NZ graduates, were cashed up on arrival because of exchange rate at the time, so pushed up house prices in their chosen areas. But in the same time period 45000 native NZ-ers also left the area so that population numbers remained neutral. Would this not also cause resentment and issues?

Is that South Africans in Auckland's North Shore?

over 50% of Auckland are not born there so pick an enclave, plenty to pick from, you can go to certain areas, shopping malls, supermarkets and stand out like a tourist in another country


I don't mind gradual population growth to around 6 million by 2050.

Trouble is, the current Government has opened the spigot for economic short termism with little regard for the interests of the existing population. This will not end well.

This deliberate population expansion has proceeded with little to no planning leading to a creaking infrastructure and stratospheric house prices in Auckland.

I would not consider sitting in traffic for 2-3 hours/day and a giant mortgage for an overpriced damp wooden shack a "lifestyle improvement" on what was available in the Queen City 20 years ago.

How about infrastructure improvements preceding immigration, a proactive attempt to reign in house prices and policies to attract business to the regions - or am I just a dreamer?

Bill: " can afford more junk from $2 dollar shops, cheaper foodcourt meals, and cheap televisions. This is success!"

According to this restaurateur prices might have to go up if we rebalance things:

Well...yeah...and I'm okay with that. It's not like people's need to eat out necessitates the negatives we're creating for both hospitality workers and average Kiwis.


Your opening line is 100% on the money and resonates with ALL sensible rational thinking New Zealanders , including Pakeha , and Maori , WE DONT WANT 10 million people here ,it simply will not work for us , quite apart from the consequences of congestion , the the risks of being swamped by sheer numbers , we dont have the ability to cope .

Where would we house so many people , and what would they do for a living ?


One thing I think we all must be noticing from this forum and many others is a strong backlash against the current government for not caring or even asking the public what their opinions are on matters such as this.
I think what we need is every election an accompanying survey asking New Zealanders their opinions on a range of issues. At least then we would have a record of what people are thinking every three years. It would also be a lot bigger incentive to vote.


It is more the lack of a plan and the fact that anyone who asks about it is called a racist.

NZ Stats show a different picture to Gareth's charts.
In the long term the projections indicate:

Increasing numbers and proportions of the population at the older ages.
The population aged 65+ (0.70 million in 2016) has a 90 percent probability of increasing to 1.32–1.42 million in 2043, and to 1.62–2.06 million in 2068.
The proportion of the population aged 65+ (15 percent in 2016) has a 90 percent probability of increasing to 21–26 percent in 2043, and 24–33 percent in 2068.
The population aged 85+ (83,000 in 2016) has a 90 percent probability of increasing to 239,000–284,000 in 2043, and to 333,000–467,000 in 2068.
Population growth will slow as New Zealand’s population ages and the gap between the number of births and deaths narrows.
New Zealand's population (4.69 million in 2016) has a 90 percent probability of increasing to 5.29–6.58 million in 2043, and to 5.30–7.88 million in 2068.

Stats figures are probably sensitive to assumptions about immigrations which has regularly surprised on the upside in recent years. Gareth's scenario is probably based on a extrapolation of the present rate whereas Treasury and probably Stats are expecting a return to a much lower net level.

As has been mentioned, if Australia and the global economy improve, it's entirely possible we could see a negative net entry rate.

I'm not so sure. I wonder if the internet has changed the game and therefore the pre 00's decades of migration cycles may not longer be as accurate a predictor. Being able to watch the quality of life in other countries at the click of a button means that NZ might still be a desirable destination, irrelevant of Australia having better economic opportunity. It might instead end up, that Australia simply gets the pick of the migrants and if NZ continues to allow such generous migrant numbers and conditions, receives the lower quality migrants.

I'm no expert but with Australia, if their economy was going better we'd be seeing more Kiwis moving there, plus more Kiwis going to other countries overseas. Also the influx from developed countries might reduce.

Yup. And hence some of my points above. It's not just a numbers game. Immigration problems can also be about the speed/pace of changing demographics. And not all demographics have the same needs. If there is not even a debate about the different integration and infrastructure needs of different types of populations/ demographics then how can we help to facilitate healthy and constructive immigration?

On the other hand if some of the more extreme global warning predictions for Australia come true then it will not be just Kiwis returning from Australia but maybe 10million Aussies with them.

You are closer to the truth than you realise

Maybe work backwards - what is the total capital value of the relevant infrastructure - roads, pipes, schools, hospitals, etc. Then calculate how much we think we can expand that by per year and how much investment that is.

I have no idea what the public infrastructure is worth if we had to rebuild it today but let's say $1 trillion for all of it. I'm not sure if that's reasonable but reading seems very expensive when building it. Keep in mind this is the "if we built it today cost", not the what would someone buy it for cost. Then say say if we increase population by 2% then we need to spend $20 billion per annum to sustain that growth without creating an infrastructure deficit. Does anybody know what councils plus govt spend on infrastructure per year?

In principle I don't mind having 10 million people here provided we manage the infrastructure and the planning properly. That means building dense population centres with robust public transport.

My other concern is future job prospects. With the rise of AI do we want a big population? I'm not so sure.

We do need new young people to balance out or demographics. I'm completely fine with a degree of net immigration. I don't care where it comes from but I'd prefer it to be skilled with the exception of refugees who we could take more of. If we are taking a group of relatively unskilled people who want to get out of their country of origin why not take them through the refugee process and put in place extra support.

Infrastructure in this country is under-funded under-invested and under-engineered

Too much existing infrastructure is not coping with the elements now


Any discussion on immigration will be termed as Racist and what not by vested corrupt interest be it national government and many so called intellectuals.

Well, that would be a terrible shame and injustice to both migrants and native inhabitants.

We should be able to talk about generalities for example; "it's not experienced as positive when immigrants settle predominantly in one area, creating cultural ghettos and alienating both the migrants and the local native inhabitants. It does not lead to integration" as opposed to "I don't want my suburb turning into Little India" (which does sound racist because it is targeting a particular race).

The former acknowledges potential negative impacts from poorly planned immigration, the latter is just divisive and further causes alienation.

The former is thoughtful, the latter betrays no understanding or constructive thoughts. So it's not about what is PC and what is not PC. Racism is a specific thing, when you feel, act and speak about another race as unwanted, less than, hated etc. Immigration does trigger racist thoughts and feelings in some people, but if those people are left to shout loudest, that only further fuels otherwise moderate people wishing to avoid constructive discussions about immigration.

Agreed. The more I study this issue particularly with reference to the rorts, corruption and the exploitation
[ ] the more I realise it is not race but poverty that is the underlying problem with NZ's immigration. That is countries with 3rd world poverty way below the level beneficiaries receive in NZ.


I think who you want as immigrants and how they are to be incorporated into New Zealand is as important a question as how many. There is a very good article in which talks about culture and racism. If I remember rightly after WW11 many of the immigrants were sent, yes sent, to the smaller towns where they had jobs and the support of the local community. It was the responsibility of the men of the community to invite the men into their local clubs and the women to be responsible for the immigrant women. The children of course went to school. Although that must have been hard for the immigrants it was good for New Zealand. Contrast that now where most immigrants live in city suburbs in areas identified with one Nationality and with all the signs in the shops there in their language. They are living the life of their own country but just in a different space. In my view that is not good for New Zealand.

Exactly. Poorly planned immigration is a problem irrelevant of the number. But the issues are not mutually exclusive either.

I think there should be a cross party agreement to have an official on line poll on immigration. Voters would be asked for there longer term immigration total by bands. From this a consensus figure can be calculated for politicians to work towards.

It is a process that should take place every 10 years.

Better than having a flag referendum.


Let's add another perspective. The environment. As the billions of third world people's standard of living is raised, the pollution produced has also been raised to the critical situation that we now face. There is still a lot of scope to raise the standard of living in the third word, so without some huge paradigm shift pollution will continue to rise at an alarming rate. No such paradigm shift is apparent at this stage, lots of talk and hope, but no real change. So really, if we are to have a high standard of living in the world, and have a world that is habitable, then we need a lot less people. We need to face this fact, and pretty dam quickly because the way things are going we are running out of time, if we haven't already done so.
In terms of the claimed economic benefits of a rising population, my analysis of the economies and population growth of most of the worlds nations reveal that there is a mildly negative correlation. That is the faster your population grows the less your wealth per head of population grows and there are a number of very successful economies where the population is virtually static or shrinking. One suspects that growth only benefits a small but very powerful handful of individuals.


I agree entirely Chris - imagine how much less the environmental problems of the world would be with half the population. Strangely it is something never mentioned by the Greens.

It used to be. They USED to advocate for zero population growth.

Now they don't. They say something like "NZ will have an appropriate number of citizens" or some other wooly sh*te.

A faster than usual population growth leads to more people scrambling for fewer means because economic growth per capita can only grow gradually while standard of living diminishes due to availability of cheap labour to surrogate productivity gains. Our increasing attention to non-value added industries like tourism, hospitality and export education have little to offer to the general public. These sectors thrive on quantity of migrants over quality and are the reasons behind the empty economic boost the government often talks about.

"There is still a lot of scope to raise the standard of living in the third word.."

Nope. You need spare resources and cheap energy to do this. They are gone.


I liked it better when there was 3 million of us.


Me too. Interesting to speculate if we were to start shrinking our population to that level. What would happen to our economy?

-No housing shortage and all people housed in healthy accommodation at an affordable cost.
-No high rents. Little or no need for the housing supplement or working for families tax subsidy.
-No need for enormous expenditure on infrastructure.
-Little unemployment.
-Enormous savings for the tax payer which would give capacity to raise health and education standards.
-Superannuation would be a greater burden on the tax payers but probably very manageable in light of the other savings provided that the population did not drop too quickly. Once we get past the baby boomer blip this would be easier to manage.
-Labour would be re deployed away from population growth dependent activities to fill the other sectors that are screaming out for staff and export focused industries. Only the most profitable and productive businesses could afford the higher wages. The ones that can't afford the higher wages would have to learn to be more efficient and productive. The best would survive and prosper and that is the best outcome fore the economy and whole nation.
- We would be better placed to cope with the pressure on labour from automation.

So may be we are going in the wrong direction and 3 million would be a better target. I am sure that a lot of people trying to cope with life in Auckland might have some sympathy with this idea.


Invercargill and Dunedin have had static or falling populations for pretty much half a century and they are both strong economies with affordable housing.

Fewer people means that there are fewer people living in the existing houses and there is still strong demand for new construction and renovation. It isn't the end of the world...

If our population had remained static or only modestly increasing throughout the 2010s, house prices would have remained relatively affordable, wages would have risen and native NZers would have been significantly better off.

National has ruined NZ for NZers, this needs corrected immediately by not renewing work visas for the low skilled, tightening entry requirements and having net immigration targeted as being near zero over the next 10 years as the low skill work and student visas are revoked.


Absolutely. About time we stopped letting organised crime syndicates set and implement immigration policy.

First thing this pack of incompetents need to do is limit student visas to legitimate institutions only, shut down all the private fake schools. Foreign owned, nothing but a scam, devalue real degrees and diplomas, no benefits for New Zealand whatsoever, but a hell of a lot of downside. Could cut tens of thousands of excess visas overnight.

Invercargill lives off farmers and Dunedin its students
Inherently parasites, as is Auckland, and as was Rome.

I agree with a lower population target, but it wouldn't be all rosy.

- Imported goods (i.e. pretty much everything) would go up substantially due to lack of market.
- Competition would dissappear, leading to even higher costs again.
- Lower taxes means we would struggle to pay for a lot of core infrastructure. i.e. a $500mil road/hospital will just be spread between less people (you could argue we wouldn't need it, but I would counter that most of our current infrastructure was designed for 1 mil pop, maybe 2mil pop, but definitely not 3-4mil.
- Sports would suffer, as would most cultural pursuits as we wouldn't be able to sustain the variety of stuff we have now.
- The whole tertiary education sector would be on it's knees.
- A combination of all the above, would also probably lead to lower wages, as there simply wouldn't be the cash to spread around.

I don't think we could reduce to 3mil. Maybe aim for between 4-4.5mil (i.e. what we have now) but upsize the infrastructure to cope with 5 mil (i.e. all of us + some tourists)

You are right, if not handled carefully there could be considerable upset as per the 1987 reforms. The changes would need to be very carefully planned, gradually implemented and fully explained to the public. There would be winners and losers, and it would be very important to keep the end goal in focus.

I think that is why we can't lower population. Rather we restrict growth now and try and maintain between 4-5mil

As climate change occurs I would suggest we'll see increasing demand to move to NZ. I don't think there will be a problem getting numbers - even of highly skilled migrants - wanting to come to what may be a relatively well-off (climate-wise) country.

There are parts of the world facing overpopulation and climate change don't help. Oceania is one close to home and the tragedy of Micronesia is a major lesson. But they make their choices and there is nothing we can do about it.
I see no reason for us to rescue them, and indeed doing so just perpetuates the problem.

I agree that we should not leap to be the world's lifeboat.

I have more room for those who have not made their choices, but are merely being impacted by the choices of others. (E.g. some of the islands in polynesia that are being swamped gradually through no choices of their own.)

Agree also. It just makes it easier for other nations to avoid facing the hard issues. We are not helping anybody by doing this.


Great question Gareth and thanks for someone finally asking.... My answer... 3 million was fine.

Italy has about the same a area as NZ and 40 million people so I'd say about 40 million is right for NZ

And their economy and banks are healthy?

They've been holding bad loans on the books for a long time. About 1/3 are in default and it's only wishful thinking and political positioning why they don't write them off.

If economic health and pollution size were directly linked India would have four times the wealth of the USA.

And how many of those 40 million people are actually Italian?
Last time I was there it was like walking around the United Nations.


Whose country is this?

Why are NZers putting up with our lives being stolen and forced into servitude (through high housing costs and low wages) by an immigration policy that only benefits the elite (who want lower wages and higher house prices)??

Andrew Little could easily win the election, not with racism or xenophobia, but with dispensing a good dose of common sense...

What has this immigration experiment done for native (born here) NZers??

It has driven house prices so high that they can't afford even a home in their home town let alone a bach in their favourite spot.

It has driven wages so low that their children can't even get a job even if they are educated and they head overseas or end up dependent on the state.

It has forced NZers to compete in a labour market where foreigners with nothing are prepared to work much longer hours for less wages.

And where will it end? Via democracy, our generosity of allowing new citizens to come here and not really integrate, will backfire as immigrants vote for more immigration, destroying our sustainability, eroding our natural environment and permanently changing NZ to the detriment of native NZers.

Common sense is needed. Immigration is hurting NZ, costing it money, threatening our environment, threatening our sustainability and eroding our way of life.

National and their irrational policies need to go. Dump The Keyites. Clean out the swamp...

There's one thing that the average Kiwi on the street can do, if the government won't stand up for citizens. Violence. Immigrants want to come here because it's safe? Well, that safety's dependent on the goodwill of the population. But here we are, leaving a whole generation of young local blokes with no prospects and nothing to lose, and a police force that's been systematically run down. Business are bleating about how it'll cut into their margins if they have to pay a decent wage, but that's nothing to the damage a campaign of firebombings and drive-bys will cause.

You could argue we are already seeing the start of it.

Increases in aggravated robberies, attacks on tourists, taking keys off drivers, etc...

It wont be long until something breaks. I see two likely flash points.
1. Tempers fraying around Freedom campers/free loaders.
2. Dairy/booze shop owners taking the offensive against the local thugs.

How the country fears will probably depend on the winner.

Being the 25th anniversary of the LA riots, I don't think violence is any solution at all. Public acknowledgement of the problem is the solution. Realisation that the current policy is causing their hardship (low wages, high housing costs and increased congestion) is the beginning of the solution.

Politician's will follow the public will if there is public will...

Paying the public off with house price increases is unsustainable, naive and it will end. As will National's reign of stupidity...

I don't think that's quite the point. It inevitably ends in violence, unless action is taken to address the problem. The violence is already there in the underclass of Orc like gangs that we turn a blind eye to.

The unruly violent masses, who don't vote anyway, could be appeased first with the legalisation of certain drugs and if that didn't work the introduction of a UBI.
What is needed are capable people forming organisations that can make the government sit up and think.A more effective strategy in the current paradigm would be the establishment of a Nationalist party. If that party got significant public support it would cause the main parties to alter their policies to counter it. The Opportunities Party may be attempting to do this however I think it only appeals to Libertarians and is too politically correct. A party for unapologetic "deplorables" would be more appealing to a significant portion of the public (8% is enough) who are rightly (imho) suspicious of calls for social justice and would be more effective. If Trump achieves nothing else he highlighted what an influence such people could have if they formed a visible movement.

Whose country is it?.

Not yours anymore.

Well it was actually sold out long ago.

It has been sold out many times.

This last fiasco, was the result of Free Trade, that gave away your Free-dom.

Free dom is the amalgamation of years Domination by Free thinking Free Loaders who dominated your free thinking, then charge you with the loss,. It is called debt before dishonor. It is an American past time and they have been past it, for a very long they have passed it to you.

(Yanks were thrown more debt yesterday, than they have ever been thrown before...trillions...mate)

Clock it here.

They are similar to the the ones you possibly voted in to do the right thing, in NZ but they got it totally wrong, on 'Your Account;,..each Country has their own the is a ticking ..time bomb.

That is why you should never trust anyone, in Banking and Governments who do their bidding, not yours.

"Your Account" is in the red, they would not have it any other way. Plus interest of course.. It has been bid up from years and years of neglect and declining Interest rates, Not declined on your behalf, that would mean we had paid our dues... totally. (But that would never do)

Your dues are to keep those in Government and Banking in the style they have become accustomed to.

Even when out of debt in this country, they have you by the short and curlies,

(Not that most Brazilians would understand that remark, as times have been changing in that direction..too).

A cut here and there and heavy borrowings "On Your Account" means they can have a Pay rise in many ways that defy gravity.

Gravity is when things fall downwards, but Bankers and Politicians believe they can defy everything including the grave situation that Gravity brings, when prices fall...Just take on more debt.

Fools fall for that interest free malarkey is a Key element.

The peoples spending cannot cope with reality of a Gravity situation, if this occurs, They spend for you.

Prices and profits, must never fall. for certain Parties.

Bankers and Politicians will spend it for people. and give free TV's and just about anything else to raise the roof, once again,, so the Party continues.

Ceilings must be maintained.

Even lowering Savers expectations, whilst raising their own Salaries and Bonuses...and yes,,Profits.

The can must be kicked down the road.

These people can do anything, including magic, as Fractional Reserve Banking is just an illusion these days.

Even Taxes can be lowered to suit a Trumped up situation, in spite of the ticking clock.

Do you now know why...they import more taxes can break us,not corporates.

Someone has to pay. They want more...

40 million minus about 35 million and you have a deal


40 million is just nuts - just nuts. Sure you could fit them in, lots more even, just like Manhattan. I love going to Manhattan, but the world don't need all to be the same.
I was born into a New Zealand of about 2 million, and now it's four million. It was a country where you could stroll across the paddock with your surfboard. Now it's all McMansions. You could ask a farmer to build a crib - er bach, on his farm. He had enough land he only needed to work the easy bits. Even with four million it's very different place. Beaches within easy reach of town, without great competition for a section that had sand as one boundary. Days already long gone.

Its not about being the same ..People dont seem to realise what these big cities are ... they are massive CONSUMPTION centres ... ie they are resource hungry. Those resources MUST come from somewhere. And its not from "environmentally friendly" computer gaming proceeds as most journalists seem to think ...

I'm sorry, but that's rubbish.
Big cities are by far the most efficient form of occupation of land.
Look anywhere - consumption of resource on a per capita basis decreases in increases of population density.
It's simple economics, well proven through, now, through many years of urban economics literature.

Mind you, you aren't a very big fan of proven theory though are you H&E.

So Nymad. All the lettuce consumed in Manhattan is grown right there. Accordingly we could populate the entire planet like 5th avenue.

You miss the point completely if you are genuinely asking that lettuce question.

Nymad - you have turned a resource question into "occupation of land" answer.

As for your "consumption per capita decreases" solution ... your answer is a classic "the more you spend, the more you save...". Its about TOTAL overall consumption.

Im pretty sure you will find if we increase the population, we increase resource consumption. But maybe maths isnt your strong point.

No I didn't.
You never said anything about growth in population, you said people don't realise that cities are massive consumption centres.
This is wrong on a per capita basis.

You said nothing about population growth, you merely said that cities are resource hungry - something that is implied to be independent of population growth.

First cut

I would like to see those per capita consumption references and maybe some percapita productivty figures.
Auckland does have a reputation for being unproductive compared to Edendale, per capita for example.
Personally I see no value in a service based economy which is implicit in low income work, at all.
Feeding each other hamburgers doesnt seem a worthwhile activity when you can whip up a hamburger at home in our dream kitchen, microwave, gas hob, wall oven, double door fridge, granite bench,

Glaeser, Gyourko, etc, etc. All the big names in urban economics.
I've never read any economist rebut the claim that cities are less productive/efficient than the alternative.

In the words of the great Ali-G, check yourself before ya wreck yourself...
You even prove the efficiency point (along with your poor understanding of what we are arguing) with this statement "Personally I see no value in a service based economy which is implicit in low income work, at all.
Feeding each other hamburgers doesnt seem a worthwhile activity when you can whip up a hamburger at home in our dream kitchen, microwave, gas hob, wall oven, double door fridge, granite bench".
That sounds pretty inefficient to me.

No you are confusing per capita with overall consumption. So while yes per capita its efficient its still a massive consumer of resources. Of course it only works when you have technology converting fossil energy to work for you to make the density viable. ie you move more and more food from greater and greater distances using cheap energy to do so.

If you dont understand take a look at Victorian era London before and after the sewers where put in as a simple example.

Ahh, sorry, what exactly are you trying to say?
We don't have the technology to realise economic scale?
We need Bazalgette to redesign the Auckland sewerage system?

Why does it only work if we have fossil fuels? Were there no towns/cities before fossil fuels? Was there no efficiency in scale before fossil fuels?
Sorry for my ignorance, I'm only young.

[ unacceptable insult deleted. Just because someone has a different point of view does not disqualify them from expressing it. Insults are not required. Ed ]

[ Insults not acceptable. Ed ]

lol, shame the insults got deleted before I could read them, would have been fun

So lets say we have 3 million NZers. Then who are the other 37 million. Not NZers so no.

I wouldn't mind 10 million even maybe 20 million, if that 10 million were the NZ of old, lets say 20 years ago. Where we had an integrated society, people went to rugby clubs, stayed late had a few beers, got the guitar out and sang songs.

But now the current population is a diverse mix of populations where some cultures don't integrate, where instead of adapting to Rome, they expect Rome to change for them. We lose what was cool about this country and what a lot of the first immigrants came to NZ for.

I think if we have controlled immigration, with immigration numbers that we had 20 to 30 years ago it would be fine so we can have a fully integrated society. But with the obscene immigration numbers now, we have no integration. We become strangers in our own country and lose our identity.

So if you want the over-crowding why not move to Italy?

You are wrong btw, with 4.5million and oil we feed 20million, if we had 40million we'd have to import 1/2 our food.

Nicely put Steven. As New Zealand gets more people we get more rules and more expensive houses and more crowded beaches, more crowded roads and more polarisation. Why would we willingly choose that? Why, why, why?

Exactly, I came here to avoid all of that and "threw away" a decent salary package as well. If I'm going to have to put up with an overcrowded cesspit here, now my kids are grown up I might as well go back and earn 50% more and get a better NHS etc.

And those are the positives!

I think we should let in however many people want to come. With a few conditions, pensions are for long term citizens only, social welfare is for long term residents only, non-citizens must build a house or rent accommodation. migrants must be skilled, and well payed. That should reduce immigration a fair amount. But in principle I don't see a problem with a population of ~15-20m

However as to where we will get the low skilled labour, well that's just a matter of incentive, for both the underemployed, and potential employers.

"I don't see a problem with a population of ~15-20m"

Then you havent thought it through.

We use oil to triple food consumption. Without it (and its gone by 2050 at the latest) we'll struggle to feed 5million let alone 20million.

This is somewhat moronic, do we really need a population number? NZ is sparse. You could add 20, 30, 40 million more and the vast majority of the countries landscape would look the same.

What we need is a annual population growth target that produces growth without putting pressure on infrastructure and scale our immigration numbers accordingly. We all know this is sensible and we all know why this hasn't happened... it's all about the immigration property ponzi and GDP growth headline.

National have added fuel to fire as the only progress they believe is increasing the population by their own direct and indirect admission.

Think time has come for a change. This time round will be hard for national to save themselves irrespective of what polls may say and everyone could make a note of it

Prefect ion based on ground reality.

Explain away .....

So you have a simple explanation that explains how the export income from dairying, meat, timber logs, horticulture and tourism only just provides the where-with-all to allow us to import motor vehicles and all the stuff into Bunnings, Mitre10 and Briscoes

Where would we get the extra if we increased our population up to 40 million

For those who want x million more and compare with other countries just start by asking are those countries as mountainous as NZ. Ask how we can swamp good agricultural land with more houses, concrete and warehouses. Get real and establish some rules for cutting to manageable levels.
That may well include a decrease in current numbers. Who knows?

No we do not all know this is sensible, because many of us know that even at a slowish rate it cannot continue forever in a finite world.

At some point we will reach a limit, and we will adapt or die. But seriously, drive around NZ. There is nothing here. In fact drive around even many populous countries and you'll find the same.

Resources might be finite, but so is time (ours at least)...

What precisely do you mean by nothing?

I drive around New Zealand a lot. Mostly the less densely inhabited parts. It is full of wonderous things, which enhance our lives so much. Great towns often and the gaps between are just as important. Lots of high income folk just on the other side of that paddock as well.


5mil is my number. Big enough to get economies of scale and a thriving Auckland, but no need to go bigger. Similar to Denmark, Norway, Singapore - see no argument for bigger.


I agree, it seems to be a sweet spot in terms of stability, standard of living, and relative prosperity.

With regard to Gingerninja comments about the UK.
I was in the UK in 2015 --and it was reported that 320,000 people had come in from the EU Countries as legal Immigrants. I was astounded that the UK could employ them and House that number.
In 2016 --back in the UK again --and before the Brexit vote -- I spoke to a man at Euston Station -- who advised that Social Housing was provided by the Shires or Individual Councils in the UK.
In his Council on the outskirts of London -- he said the Council was just about Broke Financially --
from the construction of new houses for Immigrants. He said --this cannot go on --the councils know they cannot increase Rates any more. And central Govt did not want to do it.
Two Months later --it was no surprise that Brexit was Voted In.

the UK like most "growth" economies .. now a debt ponzi only

NZ is such an attractive country to reside, globally, that we will need very tight/disciplined immigration policy if we are to avoid an explosion in our population over the next 20 years (and a corresponding explosion in inequality).

Wise, well-considered words from Gareth Morgan - but I fear the worst. Just consider what Wellington and Auckland property prices will be if/when we have a population of 10,000,000 - a good few of them wealthy immigrants.......

Many of us wouldn't want that sort of outcome at all - but, worryingly, I reckon it's very much on the cards.

As I said earlier, another million would be OK I think
Hamilton needs to be X 3, Tauranga x 1.5, and Christchurch x 1.5
Plus another half million in Auckland

I don't think hamilton needs that many. Taurange could probably grow by x3 though.

I don't think we grow the SI too much further. After all that is the "wild" nature the tourists want to see.

Hamilton is growing by converting productive farms to houses, how is that good for the country and sustainable in the long term, we are a food basket for the world unlike many high population countries who are food importers

Can't think of a reason why Hamilton 'needs' to be bigger.

..and what comes next Fritz? Are you suggesting that this increase will trasform NZ into a magical better place?

Lets say there is a consensus here for a stable population target of about 5 million.
My slightly unreliable count of the number commentators desire is 10 million, 5, 2, 5, 2, 7, 6, 6, 4, 3, 40, 5, 30, 5, 5.
My pick is that folk go for that number as it's quite achievable within the political dimension, and practical to implement starting from now.

If so much of confusion and difference in opinion how about referendum on immigration as ultimately people of the country should have a right to decide specially when politicians fail for vested interest.

If can have referendam for Flag to suit whims and fancy of one individual than why not on important policies like immigration that affects each individual.



Some personal thoughts.
I am a migrant and left my own country due to overcrowding, bad governance , corruption and general intolerance . I paid a heavy price in terms of leaving family support systems, friends etc and an easy way to earn much more money provided I played the game which was antagonistic to my personal values and world views.
I did not leave my country to end up in same dysfunctional society which is now happening in NZ. National is using low paid migrants to help business but state is paying for the unemployed NZers. Education for foreign students is just sacm, those running such business are making money but country and taxpayers are footing the bill. Consider the amount spent on motels for housing people There needs to be clear idea about skills required and train local first and foremost and if there is deficit then seek migrants and plan for infrastructure demands.
National is only looking after the interests of its rich donors and MPs who have vested interests. There are multiple interrelated problems that are becoming structural in nature, black money flooding in, sale of income producing assets , selling housing stock and then spending money of accommodation supplement and motels, slowly creeping corruption in Governance, this happening slowly but surely and is like a cancer . If people don't wake up now it may be too late. National is using migration to raise GDP but GDP per capita is lower than ever.we don't need to fill the country with people crawling everywhere. I am not against migration after having migrated myself but it needs a balance .

You are correct. Most are migrants in NZ and not against but balance is required in everything.

National ........less said the better.

Election approaching. Think and Vote


My vote = 5 mil tops. Human population growth and resource depletion globally are the issues of this century. We cannot make any meaningful redistribution globally without destroying what we value about our own country. Well done Gareth for raising the issue. That makes you and Winston willing to begin the 'difficult national conversation'

Why hasn't there been a referendum on whether NZers want to have a big population increase, from immigration? We have stupid waste of money ones, like the one for the flag. But for something that really matters, we don't have any say at all. Shouldn't they have roadshows, where people can write down what they think, like they did for the flag one, culminating in a referendum?

Yes referendum on immigration or size of population is not a bad idea . Why not as democracy is for the people, by the people and to the people.

In democracy people are supreme (it is different, once people choose politicans, they feel they are supreme and forget that have been voted to serve the people and not to Rule).

Wrong question here.
We need to ask ourselves as a nation what it is we want in regards to government funded services, i.e. taxpayer paid for services. Then we can total that and come to a figure for the tax base to support that. Then we can tell the nation how many people we need to support all our wishes and decide if that is what we really want.
My latest calculation comes to about 20 million if we want everything that the "progressives" feel are now basic living situations and needs. Which requirement will have grown to 25 million by the time we reach the 20.
It still never ceases to amaze me that the "progressives" want everything in services but they want to go backwards or stand still at best in regards to the tax base. If we really want first class services in health, education, infrastructure and tax payer funded financial support systems which are seen as a must by some groups we better get used to having a lot more people in this country.
Of course the alternative is to stand still. Which is fine also but then we should not complain if we have to go overseas to get certain health treatments or education services.

There are a few feedback loops in that argument Jake which make it self defeating. You idea means that when we get to 80 million, the tax base will need it to be 100 million

I look at it that by the time we reach 20 million the "needs" of the population will have gone up also. Inflation should more or less take care of itself providing GDP and wages versus inflation rise at a similar rate. Ie the tax base grows as the GDP and wages grow. It is the extra "needs" whatever they may be, the whatever it is the neighbours have we "need" to have also thing.
We either except that we are a small economy where not everything is possible versus say Australia, the US, UK etc but with plenty of space or we make it happen. And that last bit means a far higher population and less space per head. It is a mutually exclusive argument (providing the reality of the need to balance the books).
20 million is still a long way off from over population and even further from being a world economy and it will take at least 60 years to achieve even with a more aggressive immigration policy. By then it will be seen as a living necessity to have state funded space travel for all, much like it is now apparently an absolute necessity to have internet access as part of our basic living conditions.

Excellent article

Good article and interesting findings. Most reports are like numbers, they can be explained in many ways.
What I am getting at is that as a nation we need to decide what we want, I am getting tired of hearing and reading: the government should pay for this and that like they do elsewhere. First the income then the expenditure. We can spend more if there is more tax income to meet those demands. That requires more people and the economy of scale reduces the cost per capita.
We can grow the economy with the existing population and natural growth but that will take a long time to increase tax revenue to be able to improve the services. And as our economy is largely commodity based it will always be subject to the commodity winds. Natural growth won't take the economy quickly out of that base.
We can improve the tax revenue by increasing taxes to pay for all those demands but that is a self defeating avenue.
We can grow the population naturally and by immigration to speed up the process of growth and meet the demands requested over time, it becomes a snowball quickly becoming bigger and bigger. And yes for some time there will be growing pains.
We can try not to grow at all because all we want is space and that is fine too if that is what we decide is the best way of life. But then stop harping on about the lack of services provided by the government.
What we want from our country (fellow taxpayers) will decide to a large extend what the population is to be.
The more we want the larger the population and vice versa.
Standing still usually means going backwards and I don't see it any different with this issue.
At the moment it appears that we want first class services from a second class income base, not going to work.
Like at home you are only going to prosper if you live within your means, as a country that is the same.
The choice: increase the income or decrease the demands.

Close to Home

Only in this century has the world's population attained an average annual rate of growth in excess of one per cent. In mid-century it has climbed to about 1.6 per cent per annum. But in Polynesia growth rates exceed three per cent per annum; in some territories they have exceeded four per cent per annum. Projections have been made of future rates of population growth in the next two quinquennia for all the territories under review. 1 Excepting only French Polynesia, all groups have predicted future growth rates which exceed the recorded rates of growth in the last quinquennium. They range from 3.20 per cent to 3.60 per cent per annum (but in the case of the Indian sector of the population of Fiji they reach 4.25 and 4.20 per cent per annum) for the five-year periods 1962-66 and 1967-71 respectively. These last figures approach the theoretical physiological maximum.

saved by migration

Part of what makes NZ a great place to live is our culture. This includes our respect for human rights, low corruption, rule of law, free markets etc. These have been hard fought over the years and that includes for most people the traditions from the UK. So for me my major concern is what will our culture look like with any extra people. (Note I say culture - not race). The US was able to incorporate massive immigration in its early days in part because it expected everyone that arrive to be become American. With the fad of multiculturalism we risk becoming not a nation but an island with some groups and individuals on it. Population wise NZ can handle a lot. Java is about the size of the south island has 140 million people - but I doubt we would want that. Without the cultural component who cares what the size is because it won't be NZ.

I blame our situation on left-wing academics - the radicals of the 60's came to power. They delegitimized the population "unsettling the settler" - post colonial stidies. Anti-racists broke open the borders. The dominant narrative has been: "migration is good; resistance is racist"

Anti-immigration feeling has no place in the Green party Immigration and Population policies released today, Green MP Keith Locke says.

"It would also be racist to try to dictate family size, given that the various ethnic groups in our society have different birth rates.

"Anti-immigration feeling has no place in the Green party Immigration and Population policies released today, Green MP Keith Locke says."

"It would also be racist to try to dictate family size, given that the various ethnic groups in our society have different birth rates." What utter stupidity!

I didn't know that any one was talking restrictions on family size but how could the number of children be down to differences in race or ethnicity; culture or religion possibly but that's a personal choice not a result of race. It makes no sense at all.
Just when the Green option is looking good they come up with this dripping wetness.

Stop muslim immigration. Overwhelming evidence around the western world this is not working once 'critical mass is reached'. Otherwise 7-8 million people. NZ can afford to be fussy on who we let in.

Shamubeel Eaqub is a proponent of high migration

We need to get smart and stop thinking about the numbers and measure the effects. Well managed high population may not be as bad as poorly managed lower numbers - Disney land are expert at that. We can't get away from the fact that if we are going to be better off we have to export high value products which means import more and compete with our target market's near neighbors.

the more the better


We cannot cope with the current population 4.6 million. I would like to see a cap of 5 million and then every 5 years or general election review the situation, every political party should state the amount they are proposing then we can vote accordingly. It seems to me the world is split between extreme globalism and nationalism. I personally believe completely unhindered globalization will be the downfall of western civilization as we know it as it only benefits the elite and seems to appeal to the left social justice warriors who are quite happy living on benefits. Edit - more immigration will be the death of the middle class

No more immigration for I migrations sake, no more growth for growths sake. We need to work out how we're going to live within the means of the islands we have for the long term not short.
Disclaimer. Introverted crowd hater, who has breed more introverted crowd haters(4 out of five) and they're married to same so we're taking over and voting no more.

"How on earth National expects wage earners to do better under its policy regime is a question New Zealanders need to ask."
Why? 60%plus are earning more than the average wage per year TAX FREE in capital gains. They're doing just fine with National thankyou Gareth.

After the recent adjustments to policy, Woodhouse made a point of stating the quality of immigrants would rise but the overall numbers won't diminish. He also went on to repeat the debunked generalisation that immigration increases living standards when he must be well aware that, with the exception of the most highly skilled immigrants, there is little evidence. Basically an f... you to the large number of people who are deeply concerned about what excessive immigration is doing is to our once terrific little country.

As a country we can lead by example in having a population strategy. Population strategy should be on every political party's agenda. To go on chasing perpetual growth is crazy and will most likely, lead to a total collapse. But the global multinational companies need perpetual population growth to meet shareholders calls for more and greater profits. With any country, if you double the population, you half the net wealth. Dick Smith (ex DSE) had an epiphany when he saw that the elephant in the room was the ever increasing population of not only Australia, but the world. Come on politicians, show some real leadership and put something on the table!

To all you keyboard warriors above

You are NOT being heard in Wellington

Listen to Kathryn Ryan on Radio NZ interview the 2 political talking-heads this AM

Matthew Hooton - National cheerleader - Auckland
Stephen Mills - Labour cheerleader - Wellington

Hooton of all people was scathing of Stephen Joyce and the arrogance
The pollies aren't listening. They are terrified of the immigration subject - Like deer frozen in the headlights of an oncoming convoy of 50 tonne trucks - too shit-scared to commit to anything that addresses the issue

Starting at the 12 minutes 30 second mark

Little had the perfect chance to deliver a king hit on the immigration shambles but fluffed it. NZrs universally accept returning Kiwis and Aussies coming here virtually freely. Most buy the genuinely high skilled migrant line but there is a high level of resentment about low skilled immigration. Handwringing Woodhouse bleats that it's all so hard and makes a token effort to be seen to be doing something. A gift for Little had he jumped in with a sweeping reform of the fraudulent 'education' industry and the other rorts that piss us off so much. But no, he misfires yet again.

Not that long ago Labour roasted National for a record migration loss, the early years of the Key tenure, a left over of the booming Australian mining scene in particular and whatever other reasons people had. How things change. Labour can't say much at all on this.

World wars seem to help with population bubbles, and we seem to be heading that way now. The problem is that when the systems are broken, people vote for change, which allows extremist leaders to be voted in.

IS NZ better off now, than it was 10'years ago, vs 20 years ago , vs 30 years ago. I don't think we are. Total debt including personal debt, is huge. We don't have the infrastructure for the population increases like this, and we haven't got enough houses, hence one reason for the bubble. Why haven't we had a referendum as to whether we want our population to increase this much?

We have one in September, the trouble is the side effects of replacing National could be as bad and quite possibly worse as keeping National. I get the feeling that having TOP in the mix might be the best bet.

Agree. The big problem in NZ is the opposition is so weak at the moment. One of the only good things that does come out of these 3 year election cycles, is the government start to listen to the problems for 8 months, and brings in policies to trump the oppositions policies.

NZ is FFFlagging any more referenduhhmmms ..we have had enough 24million wasted on the last one and this new one you suggest would not fit their agenda as it might throw a spanner in the Works again as some immigrants might have a different Agenda about the negative, positive amount we need.

as they only arrived this year and might want Mummy and Daddy added to the could escalate the proceedings..some what.

And anyway English is hard to understand, if the question is not put right to him. The last one was a bit bemusing....and miss leading.

They also might need a FHB subsidy or Rental Subsidy, so the Government has to be more careful with our Taxfree Dollars.. (Motels are not cheap, you know, after TAX and GST). They were supposed to be for Tourists, not a last resort for our done down locals.??...were they not.

24 Million would buy a lot of votes and also Houses, and /or subsidies so they have to be very careful this time, flinging money about.

And most New Comers to New Zealand do not bring a lot with them, and that does include money, unless from somewhere whose name escapes me.....but a safe haven for looters and escape artists, washing their hands of their previous plight.

This I understand can cost 1.5 million and an empty house, so how would we ever host anymore dropouts...anyway, they keep coming and going..and not stopping, so do they Count in a referendum, or not?.

The people have spoken on here, but as some cannot read English, he might just say, enough is enough.

There is a move afoot to import more bits and pieces for Houses, from the South Island Forrests we hold so dear, decent wood too...I that could contribute to a lift in prices for the State of Houses, we also hold dear. (Plus a similar subsidy, if renters in our own land), ironically for some, who do not count, but I can.

Figures can be distorted and distorting and no one would believe the results as we have been lied to for so long. I can see the figures imported in my own mind, but some cannot count towards an influx. I have been told this many times, by an ex- Prime Minister. One less as he is not a Permanent Citizen..anymore, so does not count, but then he never did.

Numbers can count, some cannot...I does not add up, but never did.

Thanks JH. What do they say; you don't know what you've got till it's gone.

While doing a bit of research for another comment thread I noted that the ANZ in their Focus Report considers migration to be at the 'extreme' level. Under the sub heading Property Gauges:

ANZ Property Focus

Indicator - Migration, Level = Extreme

5 million tops for me.

No evidence any more will work any better.

No referendum yet. While some have thought it through and suggested a target number in this post, for many it's so new they didn't offer a number. New Zealanders are going to take a while to work on the idea.

10 million can live in Bluff, no issues there, as long as they are far away from AKL.

If we got an IKEA finally we could stop immigration...

Even if you stopped immigration, birth rate would see population of 10 million by 2050, so what do you do?

You number predictions are contradicted by the chart at the top of this post.

Where SHOULD these people come from? What's the best mix? How to measure quality migrants? How many of one ethnicity or religion is the right number (their reproduction rate being considered) to achieve a balance, avoid social disconnection, ghettos, violence, welfare drain, and the subsequent biproduct, racism and the decimation of the joy of living in our beautiful country. When it's gone, it's gone.