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David Hargreaves says the tweaks the National Government made to immigration settings towards the end of its tenure have turned the migration tide

David Hargreaves says the tweaks the National Government made to immigration settings towards the end of its tenure have turned the migration tide

By David Hargreaves

The silence from the Labour-led Government on migration has been near-deafening.

The constituent parts of the Coalition - Labour and certainly NZ First - were strident about reining in migration. Action was promised.

But the talk of this has died down since the Government took office.

And now the figures themselves are telling you why. The Government doesn't need to fix the problem because at least a partial fix is already in place. And the National Party will have known which way the tide would turn.

Over the months and now years that we've seen immigration soar in this country a lot of the comment around the place has talked about it all as if its been some kind of accident. Something that just happened.

It didn't. The National Government back in 2013 cynically changed the rules to allow students to work - and that opened the floodgates.

Suddenly it was not about New Zealand offering first class tertiary education in return for good fee revenue from students who would be here for three or four years and go home with a quality degree.

No. Now it was all about people who had the avowed intent of migrating to New Zealand. They could now do 'soft' degrees and courses, often through private tertiary institutions of variable quality - and then seek work. Once the work was grabbed they then got themselves into the situation where their employer would go into bat for them, say that they were needed, and get them an extended visa to stay in the country.

Pump it up

What did the National Government get out of this?

It got a way of keeping wages down and of artificially pumping up the economy.

Once it saw what a heavy political football the growing wave of immigration was proving, and with an election looming, National then moved to make changes - first by putting in place tougher language rules and then last year by tweaks to minimum wages that could be paid to those on temporary work visas, and, crucially, by introducing a three-year time limit after which someone would have to leave the country for at least 12 months.

The changes came in two parts, first an announcement in April 2017 and then another in July that was a partial rework of the first. 

It's no coincidence that the rate of annual migration has started to fall since July last year. 

The rise in rate of immigration wasn't an accident. The subsequent fall has not been either. I just don't think a lot of people at the time realised the impact last year's measures would have.

Record month of departures

The fact that a March-month record number of non-New Zealanders (over 3,000) left the country long term last month tells you what is happening. People are reaching the end of the road on visas and having to leave.

At this stage the arrivals are still high, but my reading would be that once would-be migrants start to clearly get the message that it is harder to stay here now, then fewer may well start to come. Watch this space.

If, as I suspect, overall arrivals of non-New Zealanders do start to fall meaningfully, then that should be good. It should get things back more on an even keel.

The Government can probably sit back and watch the figures slacken and not have to be too concerned - particularly if it does get some traction with its housing initiatives.

Strangely one thing that would need to be watched though is the number of New Zealand citizens leaving the country.

Departing Kiwis

At this stage those figures have not risen meaningfully. But if they do start to, and if Australia once again starts to look attractive, then the overall net migration picture could start to look very different indeed.

It would be an interesting situation if the Government manages to start really cranking up house building, only to see fewer people around to occupy the homes.

That's certainly not the situation we are looking at right now. But the migration tide does change quickly.

In the meantime the Labour-led Government can enjoy the benefits of cynical policy changes that National made to correct earlier cynical policy changes.  

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Government needs an agreed long term vision on the nation's positioning.

Put in an easy term - the questions parents always asking their kids -- what is your dream and what do you want to be?


A beautiful place with opportunities for everyone. We welcome a smaller number of immigrants from anywhere, provided they bring what NZ really needs to become a better place. We don't need 'business migrants' and their extended families


... no more citizenships for billionaires ..... unless they agree to actually live here ....

No more flooding the country with cheap labour to squeeze our cows or to squelch our grapes ... ...either primary producers must lift their game with decent wages and career structures for existing Kiwis , or they have to mechanise to increase productivity ...

... no more citizenships unless folks can get in behind our most cherished national institution , and barrack for the Canterbury Crusaders ... as the rest of us do ...

it is this kind of back ward looking view point that will destroy the hoped for civilisation of the new zealand. The hamilton city council should probably sell the local ruby stadium to pay down debt becuase ruby cant pay its way. I call new zealand sportsspatonina. A country where civilisation has yet to take hold and where back ward new zealanders think ruby is actually an important part of society. In fact its nothing more then barbarism. Its time new zealanders grew up and learnt to read books and stop whatching violent sports for there small minded addictions. Prehaps the new zealand symphony orchestra could replace this pathological virus in the brains of the new zealand public.

We have a stadium made of rubies in Hamilton?? Wow!!

I'm of the view that rubies can pay their way. I think a ruby still is quite valuable? I don't wear jewellery myself, though

Jokes aside, I think this is a dubious post Mr accountingsoftwaremodels. Modern NZ realises rugby is not the be all & end all, but it is good entertainment IMHO. If you re-read the comments to David article, most are lucid and thoughtful in regards to NZ's issues in maintaining a socio-economic and cultural equilibrium. The status quo does need to be challenged and I really do feel for those on lower wages, who are suffering from the supply & demand effect of high immigration leading to higher living costs.

......and what the hell is "Meta Data Accounting software" exactly?


Fourthly the book offers a different account of Nzs rapid urbanisation. The usual account is that farming modernisation reduced labour demand, forceing agricultural workers to up sticks and head into town looking for work. The undercurrent in this story is that these were reluctant migrants that if given the choice would have remained on the land. Yet the evidence seeems to suggest that most workers favoured urban life. A perenial problem for NZ Labour Department was getting settlers to leave town. It continually noted that many working people prefered to be unemployed in the city than gainfully employed in the country putting this down to the desire to be close to the cultural amentities of urban life . Theaters, clubs…. In other words rurual people were not forced to go to the cities for work because work coninued to go begging in the countryside.

Soit isn't drugs or laziness: there is a premium on getting someone to work in social isolation.

Vision ?
I never would have invisioned my city of birth turned into a branch of China
When I go to China every year I don’t see the demographic change I saw happening in Auckland
Why could that be ?
Could it be the Chinese government do have vision


Rising departures isn't really the solution. Labour specifically listed "structural" problems from the strong arrival numbers. They claimed more workers and low quality courses and subsequent work visas were the problem. They suggested a 20-30k reduction in arrivals would take the lid of wages and allow the government to catch up on infrastructural deficits; departures were irrelevant in this case.

Even if the departure rates were to pick up in the near future, the problems from record arrivals will persist.


So, in essence the new coalition government promised to take action on immigration, failed to take any action and it is now reaping the benefits of the previous governmnet's actions!?!


"In the meantime the Labour-led Government can enjoy the benefits of cynical policy changes that National made to correct earlier cynical policy changes."

I guess you missed the last part.


You could argue that in forcing the previous government's hand on this, Labour and NZF have already done part of the job. National would not have undone their previous policies without political pressure.

I'd hope that more will be done in due course though.

no, now reaping the benefits and mess of the last Govn's desperation to undo the cockup it made of things.

Lets face it National only finally decided to come off the sugar hit when death beckoned.


The coalition was loudly emphatic that the changes the previous government made were nowhere near enough. They insisted the cuts needed to be harder and many voted for them on the basis they would be true to their word. Explanations for them now breaking their undertaking to the electorate by doing zip, are:

(1) Their pointy heads are incompetent, having limited understanding of the subject and screwed up their projections of the impact of the previous govts changes, and
(2)They are hopeless at understanding the impact on migration of global macro economic trends, or
(3)They knew the Nats cuts would over time work and had no intention of making further changes but cynically spun a line of BS to keep Peters sweet and con the punters.

Do you seriously think National would have made the two changes in April and July (two months before the Election) if they hadn't suddenly realised that mass immigration was not so great after all if they wanted to get votes? It worked - great - so the Coalition do not need to do anything in a hurry
. Is that a problem?

DiDi. You miss the point of the article - which is about implementation (or lack thereof ) of the governments election promise on immigration , not the previous administration's actions.

The coalition was loud in condemning the previous government's changes as not enough to deliver the needed slowdown. Either incompetence, arrogant dismissal of previous official forecasts or an intentional deception was involved.

middle man - you need to re read what you just said - "not the previous administration's actions". Cause and effect are not relevant? So after nine years, you expect a seven month old Coalition to slash and burn immigration without looking at all the categories and future plans. I did not vote for Labour but am now well aware of all the issues that have surfaced that had never been disclosed. Example - the report on Middlemore Hospital was delivered just after the Election. Just wish National's disenchanted voters would look back on "the previous administration's actions" and realise that you, we, NZ were let down by the lack of transparency. Mind - Brownlee's fiscal hole now makes sense - just not for National voters it seems.

The then opposition promised to curb immigration. The then Government realising they were on a vote loser enacted the policy change the opposition promised. In effect the new Labour Government got its policy in place before it was even elected.

Meanwhile the present Govn now has a breathing space to look at what if anything needs to be done as the first round of their policy may have done enough.

Quite a win for labour me thinks.


In total, these changes are estimated to reduce net migration by 20,000-30,000. Without these changes there would be up to 10,000 more houses needed and up to 20,000 more vehicles on our roads annually. Our immigration system will be regularly reviewed to ensure it is functioning well.

From the link above by Advisor:

And yep, they've done nothing on it. Numbers might be falling a bit, but this is not what they campaigned on.


And people voted Labour..... Not to forget Winston Peter.

Media should ask the question to all party in government.


""It got a way of keeping wages down and of artificially pumping up the economy."". That says it all.


Keep wages down, keep house prices up, invisible tax for NZers.

That's not how tax works

by forcing ppl to pay more interest on more capital than needed is a form of private taxation.

Well if I have 100 dollars

I spend 10 on mortgage I have $90 to spend on beer.

If the government has house friendly policies and encourages an environment where people go nuts on property and the price of my mortgage goes up to $50 a week, then I only have $50 for beer. I would say that is a form of tax on me as I have less money for beer.


Even this slightly reduced level of immigration is still far far too high.
Again just to put the figures in perspective
New Zealand currently 68,000 = 1.51% !!!!!!!!!
NZ Labour proposed before the election, now conveniently forgotten (40,000) 0.9%
UK 0.39%
USA 0.3%
France 0.04%
Germany 0.19%
Australia 0.75%

We are currently not building enough houses to keep up with this immigration level, let alone catch up with the huge shortfall, so every newcomer either has to sleep on the street or push out an existing citizen. That logic is inescapable and cannot be ignored.
This government is no better than the National government and despite all the rhetoric is quite prepared to continue with a policy that tosses children out onto the street.

You seriously expect the coalition to suddenly produce all the needed builders in their first six months? It will take a few year to get apprentices trained in so many needed areas. The shortage of builders in many areas of NZ is desperate so where was the apprentice training over the past 9 years? That is what you need to consider.


How many builders in that 68,000? Very few I bet. (Here is a hint 1,896 carpenters in 2016)
Besides which it is totally unnecessary to grant them anything other than a temporary work visa till we sort the mess out.

Yep, very few. Michael Reddell recently savaged the 'who will build the houses' line.

Interesting piece - thanks.

No one wanted to pay for apprenticeships. Eventually this feeds through into lack of supply of tradesppl and with high demand their cost go through the roof.

How about keeping a work visa and residence visa as two separate things?A work visa should not carry an automatic entitlement to residency. Many countries do this e.g UAE, in Asia.

And it is time for the so-called business visa to be reviewed ("Investor/Investor-Plus"). The less than stringent criteria for these enable many to enter with extended families in tow.And then park their funds in low-risk bonds, residential property. What is the spin-off in benefits to the wider community?

As an investor immigrant before starting a business we were paying 200k in tax had private health care and spent a lot of money in shops and on local services . Then started a business and spent even more while delivering services that were of benefit to the growth of the nation . I would consider the tax these investors pay plus their spending power .

My observation over the years philip east is that immigrant investors have purchased all the cash flow businesses and a lot of rental houses.
Why the attraction to cash flow businesses? They obviously don't wish to contribute fully to our tax system even though they have stepped off the plane and got our infrastructure and social services for free.
Corner dairies, liqueur outlets, service stations are all high cash flow businesses. Thanks to the plastic card more and more transactions are captured.

Go into almost any non-franchised bakery and buy something and hand over cash. If you know how tills work you will notice that cash is not actually rung on so that it records. Every. Single. Time. Of course this is why immigrants purchase cash businesses.
There are new mini shopping areas popping up everywhere, with the proliferation of new housing. I have yet to find one that is run by someone who was born here, so it is clear that immigration is for immigration's sake in this country.


Very disappointed that the labour led coalition have done nothing to stem the flood of migrants, but not surprised..

To be fair, they haven't done nothing. Next to nothing, maybe.


Not just disappointed but astonished - they know immigration has been used to keep wages low and developers happy. Surely that is not what any Labour party stands for? They know low wage immigration may lead to breakdown in social cohesion but still they haven't stopped it - do they care more for the middle class than the working class?

Maybe give them a few minutes while they sort 9 years of very little progress .

Why, lets get them doing what they were elected on. Or was it just empty promises to get elected on


This is going to sound overtly racist.
For those of you who were diligent enough to attend a dawn ceremony this morning - did you notice the demographically disproportionate number of New Zealanders?

It really annoys me that so much emphasis is put on New Zealanders supporting Chinese New Year and Diwali. Yet for arguably our most culturally sacred day of the year there is no emphasis put on motivating immigrants to participate.


Of course not. We are Asia's doormat and our culture doesn't matter.

Top three events in Auckland:
(1) Lantern Festival (2) Diwali (3) Mid-Autumn Festival
Top three events in NZ:
(1) Waitangi Day (2) ANZAC Day (3) Christmas Day


At the risk of 'triggering' the easily offended, I think people have consistently made a similar mistake about Chinese immigration as they have about China's intent re: modernisation. It is finally dawning on some in the West that China never intended to adopt Western ways, they just want to co-opt Western technology and living standards with no regard to - and perhaps really contempt for - traditional Western ideals.

I think the same can be said of the Chinese diaspora, which has largely been as insular and mercantilist as China the nation. Just look at the surveys of how naturalized Chinese immigrants - particularly more recent ones - identify with China vs. NZ (or insert whatever Western host country you like).

Anyone who is astonished by their lack of regard for the traditions or institutions of the country that took them in either hasn't been paying attention or is willfully blind to it.


It works two ways - do we make them welcome? If numbers were reasonable there would be no problem - the handful of Chinese friends that I have all been in NZ for decades and their social life is just Kiwi.
It is the large numbers of low wage newcomers who arrive for a better standard of living and the welfare state but with no intention to integrate that we ought to be worried about but are beloved by our academic and council multi-culturalists.


Anecdotal support for this. Met a chinese woman who had been here 12 years. Worked for chinese buisiness, lived with chinese people, shopped at chinese supermarkets.Called me a foreigner(been here 5 generations).lol.she could not make a whole paragraph of english. Knew nothing of kiwi norms of behavior.
My experience is she is not a solitary example.
Grandfather and two of his brothers surviving Gallipoli. Father survived active service in ww2.Which must be slim odds for a family.
Point being , we are diluting a strong kiwi culture very quickly. We do have a culturevl with good values. And useful institutions,And ability in the world.

I think the best comment made about multi-culturalism was by the senior Iman of Sydney commenting about Sydney council banning 'Christmas' and calling it 'Seasonal festivities'; he said that isn't multi-cultural it is no culture.
I'm an immigrant still learning to be a Kiwi and admitting ignorance of history and especially Te Reo but I see a Kiwi culture that is admirable - especially at ANZAC service this morning. It seems many kiwis are either embarrassed or deliberately ignorant of their own culture. They are being brain washed into believing that being proud of being a Kiwi is some kind of racism. It isn't. We all think our own family is the most interesting family; so why not our country being the most interesting?

Northcote - just a few Chinese (could be Korean / Japanese I'm not a great judge) and a couple of Indians. Less than the ratio of our local population but really not that surprising. In the UK (at least when I left) nobody commemorated the sacrifice made during the war - sadly nobody seems to remember how many POMs died at Galipoli.

You cannot compare ANZAC day with celebrations like Chinese New Year or Diwali. Maybe the Jewish day of atonement.

Lapun, in my opinion, Brits, especially younger Brits increasingly associate Remembrance Day with the glorification of war. Remembrance Day commemorates a war that even modern historians can't agree on. Was the first world war justified in the context of how many suffered and/or died? The second world war, yes, without question... but the first world war? Have subsequent Slavic wars required the deaths of 17 million people? Would 17 million people have died if everyone had just stayed out of each others business? Would the second world war ever have happened if WW1 hadn't? Was the Slavic peoples issues with Austria/Hungary really worth the deaths of 17 million people worldwide? Have current or ex-imperial powers throwing their weight around in other countries conflicts resulted in peace and less suffering in the world? Many Brits look at British history in the Middle East since the 90s as deeply problematic and shameful. What exactly did any of these victims of war die for? WW11 we have a clear enemy, fascism, Hitler, the holocaust... but WW1 we really don't. It's not about whose Granddad or Great Granddad sacrificed their life, does anyone in Europe not have a relative who didn't die in either conflict? It's not about a lack of respect for their deaths, it's that WW1 was not a simple war about freedom fighting as it is portrayed. It was a stupid tragic war that should never have happened. Just like so many subsequent wars with fabricated triggers, war mongering and non-existent WMD's. The glorification of the memory of those who died is less important than the future lives that would be lost in the next stupid war, which has imperial or otherwise cloaked motivations. NZ has not continued to drag its youth into other peoples wars like the UK has and is unlikely to do again in the future. But Brits are constantly involved in someone else's war, to this its citizens are entitled to a different perspective on war and how they remember it.

Gingerninja, you are one of the most sensible people to make comments so it is rare I disagree but although much of what you say is right there is plenty wrong. And the most important point is that at an Anzac service (or at least at any service in the last 15 years since there were no local equivalents in the UK) there is absolutely no glorification of war but there is a solemn remembrance of brave usually young people who died. These were people who had something they believed in that was for them worth risking their life for. They deserve a few minutes contemplation once a year.
Then you go into specific wars and it would be easy to expand this into one of those tit for tat arguments like Israelis and Palestinians always finding an prior excuse to justify for whatever barbarity they are committing. However in the times of universal conscription the UK and NZ both fought together - so no reason to have a different concept of the folly of war. Then after the Korean war it was volunteer military for both countries. At this point you claim the UK is more military than NZ. But both have troops in the middle east, NZ even had troops in Vietnam. They have also sent armed soldiers to Timor and the Solomons. You make moral judgements about wars: WW1 bad, WW2 good, Korea? Iraq? Falklands?
Read Hariri's Sapiens to get a bigger picture and Pinker's 'Better Angels of our Nature'. You are looking at the past with a god-like eye and judging wars as justified and not-justified; it is easy to judge our ancestors; for example my Granmother who remains my moral exemplar would not have approved of same sex marriage whatsoever. Be cautious how you judge because your grandchildren will be deciding why in both UK and NZ we have society that allows an elderly person to die unmourned and mental health issues increasing to the state that 1 in 10 teenange UK girls have reported mental problems.
But taking your last sentence the UK perspective of rememberance when I lived there (it could have changed) was not the equal of New Zealands.

I didn't mean to suggest that the ANZAC service in NZ was a glorification of war, I was referring to why some Brits may have a difference stance.... that perhaps one of the reason why some Brits don't observe their Remembrance Day in the way that Kiwi's observe ANZAC day is that there is a different cultural experience and perspective of war, including the belief by some in the UK that Remembrance day glorifies war. My entire point was to suggest to you that the UK and NZ are different, but perhaps for different reasons than you suggest. My husband's opinion on why the ANZAC service is a more heartfelt observation in NZ (in amongst other reasons) is because a much larger percentage of Kiwis died in those wars than in the UK and that the loss of so many men has left a cultural scar on the national psyche. So again, please let me be quite clear, my point was to respond to your comment about the British behaving differently to Kiwis and to suggest that the difference in cultural observation may be much more complex than you implied.

But to address your points above... NZ is no way near as militarily active as the UK has been over the last 20 years. Millions of Brits marched and protested against the Iraq war, and the sentiment towards war there has been affected by the lies and distortions told by politicians to the electorate, that have been exposed since then. I would suggest that this has altered how many younger Brits think about war (amongst other factors).

I also am not judging an "ancestors" war in any different way than I am judging a modern war. My moral stance on various wars has nothing to do with time or changed moral perspective of the past in the way you suggest (but I have read Sapiens and it's sequel Homo Deus). Although I would suggest an awareness of history, knowledge of human psychology and insight into previous wars ought to make any person extremely cynical about war in general.
I did NOT say that WW2 was good. I spoke of justification. I said that WW2 was justified. My moral stance would be that a war is justified if it saves more lives and alleviates more suffering than it causes. There are very few wars that have had such a clear and unambiguous justification as WW2. We don't have to have tit for tat discussions on multiple wars, it can be addressed much more easily. WW2; would the world have bled and suffered more or less if the war hadn't happened? Hitler was murdering Jews, Poles, disabled... millions of people, and no doubt countless more if he and his regime hadn't been stopped. WW1.... how does the border, ethnicity and nationalism disputes in the slavic states necessitate the subsequent 17 million deaths across the world? Were the Austria/Hungarian committing genocide? No. Were the Bosnians, Herzegovians, Serbians committing genocide? No. Did WW1 save genocide from happening NO. In fact, wars between these countries have continued and do so to this day!!! So I would suggest that the moral justification for WW1 is not clear in the way that it is so often portrayed ("the soldiers died for us (who?)" and "they died to protect our freedom"). Was the fact that some Bosnians and Herzegovians wished to align with Serbia rather than Austria/Hungary a good moral justification for so many deaths? That there were many motives from various countries participating in WW1, that were unrelated to freedom or saving human life. We should be able to look at history and if at all possible learn from our mistakes with as much unbiased clarity as we can. Perhaps, it was because of the utterly tragic and futile loss of life in WW1 that a myth of "fighting for freedom" had to be created to help console the many grief stricken? Believing that your loved one died for a good cause is more comforting than them dying for a mess of imperial/political ambitions and agreements. But now that no one is alive from WW1.. why can't we look at the documents and evidence related to WW1 and remember it for the actual causes rather than cling to a comforting myth? Obviously moral norms change and will continue to do so and global politics was a very different beast then to now. Nonetheless, human nature and behaviour remains remarkably consistent.

To play devils advocate, how long are we supposed to observe the death of particular soldiers from a particular war? Why aren't we remembering the soldiers of the Napoleonic wars? Why don't we have a day for Vercingetorix and all the fallen Gauls? At what point are the younger generations allowed to stop observing a particular war? Why do we hold a minute of silence for the soldiers who died in the early 20th century but not more recent wars?

My personal perspective is that as a Brit in NZ I do observe ANZAC and to be honest, both times, it's caused me to choke up and cry. I find it very moving. But not because I think that soldiers from WW1 died for my freedom but because I find the loss of life and that wars occur to be utterly tragic.

According to the UK had a higher % of deaths than NZ in WW1.

Not sure why you mention Slav nations and WW1; if Serbia and Bosnia hadn't existed the war probably would have occurred anyway - note the previous decades of building of armaments - the Brits being particularly concerned about the German navy building battleships. It was a terrible war but it was just like two large schoolboys having a fight to see who was strongest and involving all their mates.
ANZAC is celebrated because it was the foundation of NZ and Australia - proof that they existed as countries - rather similar to children leaving home (with which I am familiar). It has no equivalence to UK or a nearest equivalent would be the charge of the light brigade.
Note how in the UK they discuss the Dunkirk spirit not the battle of the Bulge spirit - a loss not a win.
Over 50 years ago my mother told me that an anthropologist asked what was different about modern western civilisation from all the other almost uncountable cultures answered 'western civilisation is unique in having minimal mourning. If someone in the house across the road dies we look the other way and try to pretend nothing happened or it is a private matter. ANZAC is a minor kickback - we actually think about death and make it a big public event.
We suspect we might have a long argument about the right and wrongs of UK and NZ military involvements. For what it is worth I would have no Kiwi military west of Timor; we should stick to the Pacific and no token 'trainers' in Arab countries just to keep the USA happy.

As a Brit i feel more for the ANZAC's who were sucked into a war that really was not theirs yet many made the ultimate sacrifice for what . They could have sat WW1 out a war caused by a group of Royals and rich guys who fell out with each other , such tragic losses .

Yes true but in those days NZ was still a colony and patriotism flourished. Gallipoli was Churchill’s folly and it was not his first or last. Amongst that though, he got a lot right, when it counted. While the ANZACs quite rightly and understandably enshrine Gallipoli as the origin of their military campaigning on the world theatres, and all the courage and tragedy that has unfolded ever since, it must not be overlooked either that here they were a minority presence. Both British and Irish troops were in greater numbers and amounted to over half the casualties. French, Indian & Canadian troops also fought. They too must not be forgotten.

True, look at the enlistment papers for Australia and NZ where they ask if the applicant is a Natural Born British Subject.

What you say about NZ in 1914 could be said about the Outer Hebrides and Skye and the Isle on Man and Pembrokeshire and just about every community in the UK. If they had sat out WW1 as you suggest then surely they wold have done so in WW2 like the Irish.
At that time the Empire was a community although with hindsight we can see how it was beginning to break up. So ANZACs thought they were fighting for their country/empire (just as today we all willingly pay taxes that support NZ but give us no benefit - eg rebuilding Christchurch doesn't do me any good except it feels the right thing to do). The other attraction was seeing the world - in those days you lived your life in your village but war gave you the chance to see the big world - not we have TV and Internet. Even today the idea of war with its ultimate risk has attraction for some - look at the young attracted by ISIS from all over Europe.

Yes and it was thought because Vietnam appeared on our TV screens and with it some of the horrors of war, it might have been enlightening, in a negative sense. In some ways it did in the USA, draft dodging etc .A hell of a lot of carnage has ensued since though. No shortage of cannon fodder as some might say.

Lapun, I don't disagree with your subsequent comments. But I was trying to highlight some of the many reasons why some Brits don't observe Remembrance Day in the way that Kiwi's observe ANZAC day.

I would suggest it's not because the younger British generations are disrespectful or can't be bothered to observe a few minutes silence, it's a lot more nuanced and complex than that. For instance, many Brits choose to wear a white poppy rather than a red one. The white poppies "represent remembrance for *all* victims of war, a commitment to peace and a challenge to attempts to glamorise or celebrate war".

Do you deny that aspects of War Memorialism sometimes glamorises war? Young men sign up to become soldiers because they are sold the myth of heroism, freedom fighting and patriotism. But how many wars have actually been about that truly? And how many wars have seen generations of men and their countries left torn and grief stricken, because of political ambitions, territorialism, imperialism and trade domination?

And yes, WW1 would likely have found another trigger if the Slavic disputes had been otherwise, but that doesn't negate my point. My point is that in the time since that war, we are sold a fairytale mythic version of WW1, that the soldiers of WW1 died to protect our freedom. Listening to RNZ this week, the number of times I heard this!!! I totally agree that armament and old imperial ambitions were the powder keg waiting to be lit (by which ever spark occurred first). However, this is not the tale that is told about WW1. The soldiers of WW1 died tragically for appalling reasons, as so many soldiers have always died. Not for freedom, not in defence, not in protection of the weak and innocent..... but for powerful men's ambitions, fears and paranoia (and as aforementioned WW2 may have been started by German politicians with the same old power ambitions, but those who fought against him, were fighting to defend, protect etc so I do feel that WW2 had more noble and justifiable motivations).

In the UK the narrative, especially since the Blair/WMD/Iraq scandal has been a realisation of this (especially since that war is now also believed by many to have increased the appeal for Radical Islam and terrorism). That our soldiers are dying and have died for a lie, for so many lies. And that many now object to the glamorises and over simplification of War Memorialism. There is no disrespect or lack of honour to the soldiers that have died. But rather anger that they should ever have died and a commitment to facing the truth about the causes and motivations of war rather than allowing war mongering politicians to tell the story that best serves their purposes.

Haven't lived in the UK since '94 so I accept your description of the UK.
""they are sold the myth of heroism, freedom fighting and patriotism."" - if you swap 'religion for country that would apply perfectly to most of the European ISIS volunteers.
I do remember significant disagreement about the Falklands (I was for fighting - my justification is you let the cat out of the bag once you allow force to win - fighting in the Falklands effectively protected the inhabitants of Belize from Guatemala - however I worked with people who I really respect who were for pacificism.)
Another debatable fight was Yugoslavia where Europe looked on and said both sides were guilty and watched helplessly as Bosnia prisoners were slaughtered and women shopping in Sarajevo shot by snipers. Hundreds of thousands died while Europe twiddled its thumbs and made 'balanced' condemnations of all sides. When the US bombed the Serbs the war stopped - how many slavs died because Europe was lilly livered?
Much trouble in the UK has been willingness to do whatever the USA wants. Similar applies to Australia and NZ.

Lapun, re; European ISIS volunteers, yes absolutely. ISIS and other terrorist groups now have media campaigns to sell the myth that serves their purpose and gains them recruits, high production videos, social media targeting and grooming etc. IMO the more Islam is demonised in the media, the more young Muslims feel ostracised and "othered" within the European countries that they are often born and bred, and the more vulnerable they are to radicalisation. However, again, there is deeply complex context to ISIS. Would ISIS have ever gained such a traction if the US and UK hadn't spent so many decades involved in middle eastern conflicts? What has provoked the revival of conservative Islam? Looking at Muslim Iranian women from the 1970's provides a stark contract to now. And i'm sure you rarely saw a woman wearing a Burka when you were in the UK in the 90s and yet now it is extremely commonplace.
Why have Turkey suddenly changed course so suddenly? When I was last in Turkey (2006) all the twenty and thirty somethings I spent time with were convinced that their future would be a more western one, that Turkey would join the EU, that whilst their identity would always be Muslim, culturally they would become less conservative and this was what they all seemed to want, desperately. Back then, I would never have conceived of the Erdogan administration and a move back to the conservatism.

As for the Kosovo war. The official death toll is 13,517 and consists of all involved ethnicity's. It was not "hundreds of thousands" not even close. There were acts of genocide done by all sides. The NATO bombing campaign is not universally accepted as a positive thing in the way you state it and the bombings themselves killed nearly 500 people. And what about all the Kosovan refugees? Furthermore, bombing campaigns do not always end conflicts. It certainly hasn't in Afghanistan, so now you are using hindsight to apply a logic that neither NATO or Europe would have had in deciding how to act on the Yugoslavian civil war. And in particular I take issues with your use of phrases like "lily livered"? No one knew how many would die in a bombing campaign or indeed whether a bombing campaign would be successful so I don't think it's fair to say that Europe didn't act because it was cowardly whereas the US were just a swell, stand up example of good bombing.

Much trouble in the UK *has* been about ramming their noses up America's proverbial, which again, is more about the perceived gain and political ambitions of a few powerful people, than it is about the morality of war.

Talk about unintended consequences. War is without doubt, the best example of long lasting, far reaching and usually negative unintended consequences. I could quote Edwin Starr, but i'm just going to leave that one hanging.

In the Kosovo conflict, around 13,500 were killed. Overall, no less than 133,000 people were killed in the post-Yugoslav conflicts in the 90s. The highest death toll was in Sarajevo: with around 14,000 killed during the siege, the city lost almost as many people as the entire war in Kosovo.
Yugoslav Wars - Wikipedia

There was one genocide in the Yugoslav civil war - it was Serbians against Bosians and done in Bosnia. This 'all sides were equally bad' just is not good enough.
Much as I agree with you about USA in general (Iraq war - would it have happened without oil!!) I will not equate USA even under a mad bad Trump with ISIS pushing gays off roofs, selling Yazidi young girls, covering a pilot with petrol and setting him alight. One side a shade of moral gray the other plain evil.
BTW some interesting data about deaths in recent wars in that Pinker book.

I certainly wasn't equating the USA with ISIS. Or even slightly suggesting that. That wasn't anything like my point. My point was about the unintended consequences of war, stretching on for decades after, creating changing in culture and potentially leading to much wider and negative ramifications than the simple death toll of a particular conflict.

Yugosslav civil war: Nato & European union policy was wishy washy and that could not help but cause unneeded misery by prolonged war. Either say it is none of my business or say this is a safe area (Srebrenica) and enforce it whatever the cost. By whatever the cost I mean the full might of army and airforce. Anyone who has watched school boys fighting in a playground would tell you that you either part them or ignore them; what you don't do is stand alongside and say 'you are being naughty'.

"" long lasting, far reaching and usually negative unintended consequences"" I'd give that to religion not war. Others will disagree.

War and religion are as old as each other. Probably propelled by the same fears and motivations within the human psyche. Why one and not the other? Unintended negative consequences aren't exclusive. Central banks and governments manage them all the time.

If you do your research the Renaissance of Anzac day is a recent thing in NZ. Boomers of the Vietnam generation wanted nothing to do with it.
In fact if you went to Gallipoli in the 1970s you have only found a couple of hundred people there.

I think that is a bit harsh. Many kiwis feel so deeply about Anzac day because of ancestors who fought in the wars. Most immigrants don't have that connection.
I was speaking to a couple of Indian people at work yesterday. I was impressed how sympathetic they were to the Anzac Day values. But they weren't going to a dawn service.

It is still difficult for Japanese to attend.

... having lived in both Australia and the Philippines , I found it easy peasy to join in with their respective commemorative days ...

The key is to hold right hand over heart whilst watching the chicken being BBQ'd .... and grasp a stubby of beer in the free hand ... worked a treat in two very disparate cultures ...

... we Kiwis would do well to follow their fine example ...

We call our military the NZ Defense Force and yet they have never defended NZ and have a history of subjugating firstly the Maori people and then whoever the Brits and USA have been subjugating ever since.
What about Japan I here you say?
We got all excited and declared war on them, the only enemy we have had who could have attacked us. They didn't know we existed, their beef was with USA trade sanctions and Asian colonization by Brits, France and Dutch.
When we told Churchil that we needed to bring our military home because we now had our very own war to fight he said no. Queen needed them.
So we had declared war and effectively had no military because our defense force was fighting the Hun in Libya and Tunisia. Why wreck your own country huh?
None of the war heroes in my extended family ever talked about the war. I don't think they would like to see their grand children marching wearing their old service and bravery medals. I think Anzac day is becoming a propaganda parade glorifying military glory with no understanding of a shameful history.
Its only a decade ago that we found out our SAS were deployed in Afghanistan when they showed up on BBC news footage. A big debate erupted as to the right of the NZ people to know who and when we are fighting. A quick VC latter and everyone was happy.

I've never seen so much rubbish and misinformation written in one comment.


ohhh nymad.....

I don’t get this. I avoided the Museum Dawn Service because I heard Taxinda was going to be there and instead attended a local service. The people there told me that it was a bigger attendance than last year. Granted it was highly Anglo Saxon but does that matter? Why does other people’s decision to attend or not affect the participants who choose to go? ANZAC Service attendance is a personal decision based on my connection to that past. I would go if there was only me and the bugler. If my Chinese neighbours don’t go, then why should I care?

The immigration policy review in 1986 was part of a much larger agenda for change in New Zealand (Bedford 1996). It was not essentially a change in state policy with a primary focus on one region of the world, as Parr (2000:329) suggests, although clearly through the 1980s and 1990s immigration from countries in Asia was a highly topical issue for both politicians and the public. The attitudes of New Zealanders in the mid-1990s towards immigration may not have reflected the positive perspective on the value of diversity in our society that is contained in the Review of Immigration Policy August 1986. But this does not mean that the globalisation of immigration to New Zealand was an “unintended consequence of policy changes in 1986”. It was a deliberate strategy, based on a premise that the “infusion of new elements to New Zealand life has been of immense value to the development of this country to date and will, as a result of this Government’s review of immigration policy, become even more important in the future” (Burke 1986:330). The data on arrivals, departures, approvals, refugee flows and net migration gains and losses reported in this paper indicates that “the infusion of new elements” into New Zealand society is proceeding apace. There is no suggestion in immigration policy in 2002 that this will not “become even more important in the future”, as Burke (1986) assumed in the mid-1980s.

New Zealand’s population is undergoing a profound transformation in terms of its ethnic and cultural composition. This transformation is being driven by two key processes. The first of these is differential ageing of the major components of the resident population with the dominant “white”
population experiencing structural ageing more rapidly than the Maori and Pacific Island components (Pool 1999). The second is international migration which is seeing a replacement in numerical terms of tens of thousands of New Zealanders who are moving overseas by immigrants from countries in Asia, Europe and Africa especially. This process of population replacement is occurring at a time when natural increase amongst all components of the New Zealand resident population is falling. International migration is thus playing an increasingly important role in changing the ethnic and cultural composition of the population, but to understand this role it is necessary to examine both the immigration of new residents as well as the emigration of New Zealanders. Both dimensions are essential for appreciating the globalisation of international migration in New Zealand.


Yes, but surely immigration is still completely out of control at 100,000 arrivals a year? I mean isn't it? That's about 50,000 extra houses a year we don't have, on top of the rubbish state of the "housing" stock, many of which should be classified as chicken shacks.

Isn't rising numbers of kiwis seeking better opportunities overseas also an indictment of policy, too?

Er, hello?


I just wrote to the Minister of Immigration's office asking when the government will confirm changes to immigration in line with their election promise. Perhaps others could too?

Different arms of the Govt are working against each other in this immigration debacle.
Dept of Immigration is charged with pouring immigrants in to keep the economy superficially pumped up, while the Govt Depts charged with keeping infrastructure working is underfunded and struggling to keep up, especially in Auckland.
While TEC Govt funding arm deliberately underfunds all our universities and Polytechs, so they are forced to enrol 100,000+ international students (students mainly interested in immigration not study) to keep financially viable, while NZQA and Govt audits are struggling to protect NZ education providers reputation, close down this non-authentic education & keep the quality of tertiary education on track & closing PTEs who are running Diploma mills.
So we have Govt depts working against each other, as the Govt objectives are at cross-purposes, and work against interests of NZ citizens and against each other.

What you say is rather obviously true but there is no way of having any debate. Whoever says anything you disagree with can be labelled 'racist' or the preferred word 'xenophobic' and you win without debate. Something simple like permitting/prohibiting multiple wives? So actually discussing what numbers of new arrivals our infrastructure can handle or how much each immigrant should contribute to pay for the roads, hospitals, schools, bridges, libraries and other public services they will be using is impossible to debate.

Most of us know that the government will not adjust policy to meet even its own targets.

Maybe they finally found a way to muzzle Winston Peters or perhaps he's grown softer with age?

See my comment above. Write to the Minister of Immigration. We need accountable government.
Perhaps the wonderful journalists at could also seek out what's happening.

It also needs staff and managers, CEOs in all these Govt agencies, departments, universities, etc to speak out publicly as well as challenge internal strategies.

This is the other high volume immigration pathway - via Education
Some effort by the Govt now to slow the reputation damage & start auditing:

It is so embarrassing.


We should learn from the US in tightening restrictions on immigration, to protect local people, their income and lifestyle.

One example, a H1B visa holder (similar to work visa here) can bring their spouse to US but they can't work. But here, even international students on student visa can bring their spouse who are given work visas. How is that agreeable ?

What is Winston doing ? Where is his input in reforming Immigration ?

Winston lost his opportunity when asked by a Sikh boy "why are you against immigration" and "why is it only Asians?". By caving in he seemed to be agreeing with the status quo. The status quo is that it is over to the government to remake the demographics of this country without the approval of it's citizens. The difference is rate and absorption. People welcome newcomers into healthy communities (as has been commented on by some earlier migrants). The government (however) is confronting us with difference/parallel societies (based on the theorising of Candian professor Will Kymlica).

In Taleb's 'The Black Swan' he mentions the parallel societies in his home country of Lebanon. They have existed for 1400 years with some conflicts and when a minor conflict erupted he was told by his uncles "don't worry the warlords will arrange something behind the scenes and it will all settle down like it always has'. Eleven years of civil war later Beirut had changed from the Paris of the Mediterranean into ruins.
So I am very nervous of parallel societies. A second reason is they are simply colonies and these days colonisation generally is considered bad..