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Turner: Here We Go Again

Wednesday, 27 April 2005

Turner: Here We Go Again

You know its election year when Winston Peters is whipping up fears about the numbers of Asian immigrants again, United Future acting leader Judy Turner said today.

“It’s just a pity for NZ First supporters that the only time he seems to be interested in doing anything about immigration is when he’s on the make for votes,” she said.

During this term, Mr Peters had the opportunity to vote for an Immigration Bill that allowed the Government to prioritise the residency applications of those who actually have skills we want and a job offer that is relevant to those skills.

Yet, NZ First voted against this legislation despite the fact that one of his party’s policies is to “give greater priority to immigrants who have the skills and qualifications necessary to further regional economic and social goals”.

“United Future, on the other hand, was the only other party in Parliament that supported this legislation. We believe in an active immigration policy, but also one that is ‘smart’ about the people it brings here, prioritising the applications of those who actually have skills we want and a job offer that is relevant to those skills.”

However, the resulting decline in the number of residency applications approved means that the Government needs to do more to attract people to this country, and that includes drawing expats home.

“What Winston cannot deny is that population growth is slowing. According to the latest data from Statistics New Zealand, natural population increase is down 200 to 28,600, but net long-term migration is down from 28,000 to 10,000 in the past year.

“At the same time, the 65-plus age group has increased by 17.3% in the past decade, and the biggest increase in this group came from people aged 90 and over, which increased 65.5 per cent.

“If Winston is going to continue to make grand gestures towards senior citizens then he has to explain how he is going to pay for it without measures to increase the working population.

“That’s why his anti-immigration/big spending has no economic credibility - unless of course, he plans to raise taxes.”


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