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Immigrants Help The Economy


11 November 2002

Media Release
Immigrants Help The Economy

Long standing research findings from Canada, United States, Australia and even NZ overwhelmingly show that immigration helps increase economic growth, reduce unemployment and improve productivity.

In New Zealand’s case, the research shows that a net inflow of 15,000 people a year is sufficient to build a sustainable growth-led economy.

Between 1969 and 1999:
1. The economy grew by an average 4.1% a year in the eight years when net immigration exceeded 10,000; and,
2. Economic growth averaged only 0.7% in the 11 years when net migration loss surpassed 10,000.

3. A LOT OF THE VISIBLE “ASIAN” PRESENCE IN AUCKLAND IS LESS TO DO WITH LONG-STAY IMMIGRANTS AND MORE TO DO WITH OVERSEAS FEE-PAYING STUDENTS COMING TO AUCKLAND TO STUDY FOR 2-3 YEARS.

4. What is it that New Zealanders really want - less visible immigrants on our streets, OR less fee-paying students adding nearly a billion dollars to the economy every year?

5. WINSTON PETERS IS SAYING THE POLICY IS WRONG - OR IS IT THE VISIBILITY - THE COLOUR OF THE IMMIGRANTS - THAT IS THE PROBLEM?

If New Zealanders want to build a better economy, then we must understand that immigration is helping to do that.

Expecting Chinese or for that matter - Irish or American immigrants - to leave their unique cultures and language at the border, is insulting the immigrants and insulting the rest of us.

- WE NEED A PUBLIC DISCUSSION OF MIGRATION - in all its dimensions economic, social as well as race, religion and culture.

- To pretend that race and religion do not affect attitudes towards migrants - even where they are perceived to be of benefit to the economy - makes policy more restrictive than it should be.

- Responding to Winston’s focus on the race and culture aspects of immigration by saying he is destroying New Zealand’s reputation, takes the discussion no further forward.

To quote the latest Economist on this topic:
- “If voters see that immigration is managed for their benefit and not for that of strangers, they may even learn to enjoy some of the changes it brings.”

- It is the mix of colours and cultures that gives such exuberance to New York and London (and Auckland?). Open the door, and let in new ideas, new foods, new businesses and a new buzz along with those eager new faces.


ENDS

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