Politicians Spark New Zealand Immigration Row

Politicians spark NZ immigration row

The Kiwi Labour government refute suggestions by the National Party that New Zealanders are being replaced by immigrants, as rhetoric increases before the 2008 elections.

The Homes Worldwide,
June 1, 2007

Labour's Immigration Minister, David Cunliffe, has suggested that a “desperate National Party is using rubber numbers with its claim that Kiwis going to Australia are being replaced with Asians”.

Neighbouring Australia is an attractive option for many New Zealanders as there are many job opportunities there, plus as the Aussie dollar is currently stronger than the Kiwi, it stretches further if they return home. However, Labour argue that many return when it's time to start a family, and that the influx of migrants isn't a problem.

“Twelve thousand more people moved to New Zealand than left it in the 12 months to 31 March, despite the tremendous international competition for skilled migrants,” Mr Cunliffe said. “A total of 1,586 people returning New Zealanders and foreigners are moving to New Zealand on average every week because it is such a fantastic place to live. What is more, over the long term, three-quarters of Kiwis who go overseas eventually come home.”

The National Party's immigration spokesman, Lockwood Smith, is alleged to have said: “To be losing good New Zealanders to Australia, Europe and the Americas, and to have to survive by having more Asian people come to New Zealand is a little bit troubling.”

Mr Cunliffe hit back by saying: “Asian New Zealanders are some of the hardest-working members of our community. To single them out in a negative fashion, like Dr Smith does, is disgraceful. In any case, National's rubber numbers ignore the fact that the largest single source of migrants is the United Kingdom. The latest Department of Labour Quarterly Migration Update, quoted selectively by Dr Smith, shows that 10,324 permanent or long term arrivals in the year to 31 March were from the UK.”

“This Labour-led government is working hard to ensure that all New Zealanders, new and Kiwi-born, can make the best of their potential,” he continued. “We are also working to attract expat Kiwis back, through the NZ Now campaign and strengthening expatriate networks through KEA (Kiwi Expat Association). New Zealand gains more people in the international brain exchange than it loses. National has no immigration policy whatsoever and is simply trying to divert attention from the fact they have been thumped by an outstanding KiwiSaver Budget.”