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Immigration Symposium aims to take the heat out of debate

Thursday 29 June 2017

Immigration Symposium aims to take the heat out of the immigration debate

New Zealand’s first Immigration Symposium is being held in Dunedin this weekend to understand the real facts about immigration in New Zealand.

New Zealand’s immigration policy is coming under increased public and media scrutiny and is one of the key political issues for the 2017 general election. But what do New Zealanders really know about immigration in New Zealand?

“The aim of the symposium is to objectively explore New Zealand’s immigration policy from number of viewpoints, particularly as we head into the 2017 general election.” Said Alexis LewGor, National President, New Zealand Federation of Multicultural Councils.

Dr Bryce Edwards (Political Analyst), Metiria Turei (Greens co-leader), Iain Lees Galloway (Labour spokesperson for Immigration), Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi (National List MP) and Arihia Bennett (Chief Executive of Ngāi Tahu) are some of the speakers attending the symposium.

Immigration issues are being linked to New Zealand’s housing issues, our economic prosperity, national security and our broader social development. Internationally, immigration is a highly topical issue that is seen as having a large influence on the US presidential election and the UK’s decision to leave the European Union.

“What is less appreciated is that it is not so much immigration that leads to these events but more ignorance and misrepresentations about immigrant communities” said Alexis LewGor.

“That’s why we’ve invited experts from a range of backgrounds and disciplines to share their views on immigration in an open and constructive forum” Said Alexis LewGor.

Some of the question the symposium aims to answer include

What are New Zealand’s current immigration policy settings and how do they compare historically and internationally?
What are the costs and benefits for New Zealand from immigration?
Is immigration really responsible for housing unaffordability?
Who is responsible for helping to settle new immigrants in New Zealand – central government, local government, communities, immigrants
“We hope that this symposium will be a place to start a genuine discussion about immigration in our country. One that is constructive, respectful and informative for all of us ” said Alexis LewGor.

What we know about immigration in New Zealand:
Almost 1 in 4 people living in New Zealand were born overseas
Migrants on average contribute 15 times as much to the economy than the average kiwi
Migrants are less likely to claim a benefit, more likely to be employed, and their children have better education outcomes than native born New Zealanders
87% of migrants say they feel they belong to New Zealand
71% of Kiwis feeling that migrants make an important contribution to the country
Minority groups continue to experience significant discrimination in employment and public services


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