Box 22, Catch 22: David Shearer on Predicted Migration to Australia
David Shearer Stand-up - Westpac Stadium, Corporate Box 22 - Dec 6, 2012
Mark P. Williams
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David Shearer Starts the clock
Today David Shearer held a stand-up press conference at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington to mark the 50,000th New Zealander's migration to Australia. He held the meeting in Corporate Box 22 to commemorate four years since John Key press conference in the same box where he promised to stem the flow of economic migration across the Tasman.
Mr Shearer criticised the prediction made by Mr Key in 2008 and said that the National led government's policies had failed to live up to this. He added that Labour's policies would aim to make New Zealand a higher-waged economy, encouraging people to return to live and work.
Mr Shearer then answered questions from the press.
Mr Shearer was asked why he chose to hold the conference at the Wespac Stadium. He replied that it was because John Key had said in 2008, as a criticism of the previous Labour government, that the number of people leaving for Australia would fill this stadium. Mr Shearer said that in reality Eden Park would barely be able to contain the numbers leaving each year under National.
Mr Shearer was asked whether he had a problem with people going off-shore to seek opportunity when he has done so himself. He responded that he had no problem with people going abroad to do what they need to do to increase their opportunities but emphasised that his concern was with the number of people leaving New Zealand permanently in greater numbers than ever before.
Mr Shearer was asked how his party would stem the exodus. He replied that Labour's policies would encourage affordable housing and higher wages but refused to make any specific predictions regarding numbers.
Mr Shearer was asked whether this was proof that the problem of migration was too difficult to be solved by either Labour or National. He replied that he did not accept that and that it was a question of offering people the hope and opportunity to want to live in New Zealand.
Mr Shearer was then asked how he would compete with overseas incomes when wages in Australia, Canada, the US and the UK remained higher than in New Zealand. He responded that it was "giving up before we start" to suggest that New Zealand could not compete with this income gap.
Pressed for more details on Labour policies, Mr Shearer spoke about incentives for Research and Development for companies and looking at the exchange rate to allow companies to grow their business.
Mr Shearer was then asked whether he believed that Australia and New Zealand were a single market. He responded that there are some markets that they share but that he wouldn't want to see them merge and lose New Zealand's sovereignty.
Mr Shearer was asked whether there was reciprocal fairness between Australians living in New Zealand and New Zealanders living in Australia, including matters of disability entitlements. He responded that there were certain issues which needed to be addressed and that a Labour government would bring up these problems with the Australian government, adding that Labour shared with the National government an interest in making sure that the entitlements between Australia and New Zealand were balanced.
Mr Shearer starts the clock
Mr Shearer stand-up with the press