Brain Drain in Full Flight
Monday 1 Jul 2002
ACT Leader Richard Prebble today attacked Helen Clark's statements concerning immigration at Labour's party launch as dishonest campaigning.
"Helen Clark selectively used statistics to give the false impression that talented New Zealanders are coming home.
"In reality, statistics that ACT has from the Parliamentary Library demonstrate that New Zealanders are leaving the country in unprecedented numbers. Since Labour came to office a net 83,000 kiwis have left - which is like losing the total adult population of Dunedin overseas.
"There has been a net loss of nearly 10,000 skilled people during the same time.
"What has been happening in the last year is even more disturbing as Labour seeks to replace Kiwis leaving with `quantity rather than quality' immigrants. Last year's new immigrants were the least qualified since the points system began.
"We are replacing Otago-trained doctors with immigrants who drive taxis at Auckland Airport.
"The ACT party has been warning the Labour Government about this situation for the past two-and-a-half years.
"The fact is that in just over two and a half years of a Labour government more New Zealanders have left than in the three years of the last National Government and that is despite the temporary influx caused by September 11. Helen Clark's record on immigration is the worst of any Government ever.
"Part of the reason might be that she actually believes her statement today where she is claiming that New Zealanders have the lowest taxes of any country in the OECD barring Mexico. In fact New Zealand has the highest income tax rates on low incomes (typically students) of any country in the OECD. For example a New Zealander on $20,000 a year pays an effective 21 percent of their income in tax and in Tony Blair's Labour Britain it is just 3.2 percent. No wonder students loaded down with debt are leaving for overseas in record numbers," Richard Prebble said.