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Honest Immigration Debate Needed – Peters

Media Release

11 June 2008

Honest Immigration Debate Needed – Peters

New Zealand First has called for an honest and open debate on immigration and for a sensible population policy that takes full account of the country’s resources and future economic direction.

Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters said recent extreme statements on both sides of the immigration issue showed that officials implementing policy and academics were floundering around without clear direction.

For example, an immigration conference in Wellington was given an outrageous claim that an immigrant can be four times as valuable to the economy as a New Zealander.

It was claimed that each immigrant makes an annual net impact of $3547 against $915 for a New Zealand born individual. Mr Peters described this statement as “moronic”.

“The conference was clearly fed some ridiculous nonsense that is contradicted by the Labour Department’s briefing papers to past ministers.

“There have been huge costs associated with the influx of immigrants over the past two decades. The costs are linked to infrastructure, education, health and social services.”

On the other hand, Mr Peters said he was extremely wary of a recent academic paper that claimed an underclass of crime-ridden Pacific Islanders was developing.

“It is time to take stock of who we are and what we want to be. We need to look at ourselves and decide whether we are a Pacific nation, part of Asia or wish to retain our uniqueness as New Zealanders shaped by our colonial history.

“It is time for an honest discussion about immigration, not some one-sided cheerleading excuse for policy failure,” said Mr Peters.


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