Migrants coming to New Zealand at a faster rate compared to other countries
Migrants are piling into New Zealand at nearly twice the rate than in Australia and more than three times the rate of the UK, figures suggest.
Parliamentary research, obtained by Labour, shows New Zealand took in, on average 14.7 people for every 1000 in our population during the year to June 30, 2016.
Of the developed countries New Zealand most often compares itself to, Australia took in the next largest amount at a rate of 7.5 per 1000 population.
The United Kingdom – which was currently navigating post-Brexit negotiations arguably brought about by growing discontent over high rates of immigration – stood at a rate 5.1 per 100 population the year prior.
Labour leader Andrew Little and immigration spokesman Iain Lees-Galloway plan to cut immigration by up to 30,000 if in Government. New Zealand needed a “breather” to invest in infrastructure that could keep up with rapid population growth.
At the end of the June 2016 year, New Zealand’s total population was 4.7 million, however – just a fraction of the other countries, the indicative comparisons were made with.
Labour’s immigration spokesman Iain Lees-Galloway said the figures showed New Zealand had to have a conversation about immigration.
“It’s astonishing to see that our rate of migration is so far out of step with countries that we would ordinarily compare ourselves with.
“I think that shows that while immigration has always been important to New Zealand and always will be, we’re experiencing a rate of population growth that our infrastructure cannot keep up with and it’s time to take a breather.”
“I think New Zealanders value migration and recognise the benefits that new migrants bring to New Zealand, both economically and socially,” he said.
But it was not sustainable at current levels.
“Ask anyone stuck in traffic in Auckland, or who can’t get to their nearest hospital, because of the strains being placed upon our public services.
“We do need to take a breather and we need to make the investment in infrastructure that National have failed to make for nine years,” he said.
The data could only be seen as indicative, rather than a precise measure of comparison. This was due to limitations that included slight differences in the way countries recorded their data and differing time periods in data for the UK and France.
Labour unveiled its policy earlier in the week, vowing to cut immigration by up to 30,000, mostly by targeting international students it said were targeting low-value training courses in New Zealand as a means of gaining an easier route to residency.
Even with 30,000 taken off the figures, New Zealand’s rate of migration would still outpace the others, Lees-Galloway said.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse would not comment, however, a spokeswoman said on his behalf, he did not agree with the figures.
“When comparing countries like the UK for example, the number of people who are considered to be arriving as permanent residents is far greater than in New Zealand.
“New Zealand only grants 45,000 – 50,000 permanent residence each year – that number has not increased,” she said.
The biggest contributor to net migration data in New Zealand is more Kiwis coming home and fewer Kiwis leaving.
“International students and working holiday makers also make up a significant proportion of our PLT figures – all of which are temporary migrants and eventually return home again,” she said.
In an unscientific Stuff/Massey survey of more than 40,000 readers, most expressed reservations about foreigners and identified immigration as a top-five election issue.
55% agreed on the numbers of immigrants arriving was “too high”, and nearly 53% agreed new arrivals should be told, “do things the Kiwi way”.