Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Peter Williams: The changing face of New Zealand

Latest immigration stats are staggering

In case you hadn’t noticed, the makeup of the New Zealand population is changing significantly every day, every month, and every year.

The most recent numbers from Stats NZ are simply mind boggling.

In the year to February, more than a quarter of a million people arrived here to live. Nearly 51,000 were citizens of India, there were 35,000 Filipinos, and 29,000 held a Chinese passport.

Just over 27,000 were returning New Zealanders.

So every day for the year to February 29th, 693 people arrived to live in New Zealand but of them, just 74 were Kiwis coming home.

To somewhat offset the flood of new arrivals over 120,000 left here to live somewhere else.

By far the largest group of emigrants were those holding New Zealand passports – just under 75,000, or 205 a day.

So let those numbers sink in.

Immigration alone increased the population of New Zealand in one year by 131,000 – a city the size of Dunedin. Not that many of them actually came to live in Dunedin.

For what it’s worth, the net immigration inflow has slowed a little since the year ended November when it reached 142,000. But the question remains, when will we start closing the doors a little to stem the flow?

Stats NZ estimates New Zealand’s population as of December 3 at 5,305,600. That’s a 300,000 increase in just under four years.

Traditionally our population growth has been a slow burner. There weren’t a million of us till 1908, the 2 million mark wasn’t reached till 1952 and we passed three million in 1973.

Remarkably the brakes then really went on. It was 2003 before we hit 4 million, although the progress up to 5 million was much quicker as we reached that milestone in March of 2020.

But despite the restrictions of the Covid era, the floodgates have opened since.

At our current rate of growth through immigration, coupled with a tiny natural increase (just 19,071 last year) we’ll be at six million by the end of the decade.

It will be by far the quickest addition of a million people this nation has ever seen.

Are we ready? Is housing stock adequate? Do we have enough schools and hospitals? Will our transport infrastructure be able to cope?

The answer of course is a resounding no.

More importantly, is the population boom being felt evenly across the country? Of course not.

Some regional centres might be attracting more people but that would appear to be driven by internal migration – Auckland escapees coming to Wanaka, Queenstown and Central Otago for example.

But it’s not an even spread.

Auckland has more than doubled its population since 1966 – a random pick because it was a census year.

The Big Smoke has gone from 702, 000 to nearly 1.6 million in those 48 years. But Oamaru, where our family shifted to that year had 13,200 when we moved in. According to Stats NZ Oamaru was still to crack 14,000 as of 2022.

So as well as planning and building the necessary infrastructure for this population explosion, surely there should be government policy to attract immigrants to places other than Auckland.

Back in 2018, the economics consultancy BERL predicted it would be 2043 before New Zealand’s population reached six million. That prediction, at the current pace, will be incorrect by more than a decade. But BERL also predicted a quarter of us would be “Asian” by then, 21 percent Maori and 11 percent Pacific.

The consultancy said the European/Pakeha cohort would reduce from its current 70% to about 64% by 2043.

If the current rate of immigration is maintained, and the inflow from India, the Philippines and China is maintained (remember 115,000 arrived from those countries in the year to February) the wider Asian population, which is already in excess of 700,000 will be around 1.5 million by 2030 – the quarter of the population that BERL thought wouldn’t happen for another decade and a bit.

The staggering thing is that this supersonic population growth appears to have attracted no political pushback at all. Even the great ethnicity baiter Winston Peters is strangely muted on the issue.

If we take it that everybody who comes here to live is in search of a better life, then there is absolutely no concern that anybody should have about the changing face of the country.

After all, eating out is much more fun now than thirty years ago and a few more Rachin Ravindras would be appreciated as well.

What bothers me is that there is no statistical data available which tracks the educational achievements of those who arrive and those who leave.

How many of the seventy five thousand Kiwis who emigrated in the last year have university degrees? How many of them were highly qualified specialists in medicine and engineering?

I suspect too many.

Conversely how many of the 115,000 Indians, Filipinos and Chinese were similarly educated?

Sadly, I fear, not enough. Isn’t it about time our immigration policies tried to balance the books a bit more?

Peter Williams was a writer and broadcaster for half a century. Now watching from the sidelines. Peter blogs regularly on Peter’s Substack - where this article was sourced.


Anonymous said...

A real challenge for Minister Stanford.

Is she up to the job?

Anonymous said...

All by design 'replacement migration' going to plan throughout the west. The order for 'open boarders' went out and all western governments complied.

Anonymous said...

We are witnessing the demise of the greatest country in the world.
Politicians have systematically planned to increase our population with no discussion, no debate, no consideration of the effect on our country , it’s people or culture.

Anonymous said...

Totally agree Peter. We need to replace the doctors, professionals, plumbers, etc with like. Since Xmas I know 18 people who have left to oz who were all very skilled people, we can't afford to lose them.

Robert Athur said...

My taxes support these immigrants. And when many are out of work, as soon will be, my taxes will prop them up.
One virtue of the policy is that it helps counter the very fast and deliberately multiplying maori pacific communiy (which my tax also supports), thus delaying takeover by democratic means (and so encouraging enthusiam for pre emptive co governance) Would not be so bad if all high enrgy, high motivation, cuturally comapatible, high ability chinese but not. And they pose a huge threat to employemnt of even industrious locals and our established balanced way of life.
it is surpring maori groups do not oppose. But I suppose they appreciate the myriad flash state units being built by toiling Chinese for maori to laze in.

Rob Beechey said...

The financial destruction Ardern, Robinson, Orr and Hipkins created in New Zealand will eventually be repaired, albeit, over a long period of time, however to open the floodgates to non traditional immigrants with questionable skills will be baked in forever. It will change our traditional origins duplicating the homogenised face you find in every other country.

Cara said...

It is puzzling, to say the least, that new Minister Stanford has been lumbered with two of the most complex & contentious government portfolios available. While it is true that our tertiary education sector has, until recently, been propped up substantially by overseas students, chiefly from Asia, that seems an insufficient reason to link the two portfolios under one Minister.
The Immigration portfolio, as Peter has indicated, is too important to be an add-on.

Don said...

Bear in mind that Maori were the first wave of settlement - certainly not indigenous.