Thursday, August 25, 2022

Heather du Plessis-Allan: Immigration is a 'chicken and egg' situation


I like the idea of letting another 4 million people into New Zealand in the next ten years, that doesn’t scare me. 

I know that’s going to scare a lot of people, so let’s talk about it.

This is the suggestion from an economist called Dr Kirdan Lees who works for Sense Partners.

Kirdan reckons that if New Zealand removed restrictions on immigration and aimed to rebuild the country like Australia and Canada are doing, we could add another 4 million people by 2032. 

This would mean we’d be pushing 10 million people.

What’s the problem with that? 

Critics will say we don’t’ have the houses. That’s true.

They’ll say we don’t’ have the schools and teachers and the roads to carry that many people. That’s true as well.

But what’s also true is that we will not be able to build those houses and schools and roads quickly, unless we get the immigrants in to do the work.

So it’s a 'chicken and egg' situation. 

You can’t house the immigrants, but you can’t build the houses without the immigrants.

Here are two reasons we don’t have a choice:  

First; we have to take more people. Right now we have two vacancies for every unemployed person in this country.

So even if we forced every one of them into work, we’d only fill half the jobs.

There’s only way to fill the vacancies; bring in people. 

Secondly; we can’t afford to run this country with only 5 million people.  

Everything’s going backwards, from health to crime to roading.

We are almost the size of Japan in terms of geography, yet we’re trying to pay for the necessary roading networks with five million people, compared to Japan's 125 million. 

Ultimately, this is a question of whether we want to supercharge New Zealand or just grind down our economic growth.

If bringing in 4 million people over the next ten years helps us make money and pay for things, I’m up for it. 

Heather du Plessis-Allan is a journalist and commentator who hosts Newstalk ZB's Drive show.


Anonymous said...

If they can find anyone willing to move here. Teachers and other professions will have to be fluent in te reo and many would be immigrants from places like india are reading about how there is no punishment for criminals here and are put off. The uk and europeans see nz as a totalitarian state even though we are not, however that is the perception.

Robert Arthur said...

Bringing in very able persons with cultures which integrate and who stay is one thing; bringing in labourers to build houses for others the same and for family hangers on is another matter. However we have to take immigrants to counter the sacrifice living standards to breed for democratic domination attitude , which seems to be the maori/islander approach.

Anonymous said...

should quantity matter or quality? unfortunately, even asking that question seems to be considered racist now :(

perhaps the middle east model of offering a work visa without any possibility of residency unless you achieve a target income level might be a way forward. it might seem harsh and inhuman, but at least it would be honest.

i also don't understand how the monetary value of an immigrant as a family is evaluated. is it better to have one partner earning 120K or two earning 90K each? it might also be worth asking if immigrants are attracted by the growth opportunities generated by a western model of democracy and property rights or an ambiguous bicultural socialist natural paradise. i think a lot of soul searching is needed to reset the policy on immigrants.

CXH said...

'If bringing in 4 million people over the next ten years helps us make money and pay for things, I’m up for it.' Could someone explain how it makes us money. To survive and pay for things we need foreign exchange. All the new houses need foreign exchange to buy all the bits. Our oil etc needs the same. So how much foreign exchange will these house builders and baristas earn?

NZ is reliant on primary industries to earn the money. There is a finite limit to how big an amount that can bring in. Doubling our population just means the cake has to be divided between even more people. Our conditions are more likely to get worse than better.

Unless you are towards the top of the pile, then life will get better with much cheaper services. Until they break in and rob you.