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Immigration ACT's Latest Bandwagon Says Dunne

31 October 2000

Immigration ACT's Latest Bandwagon Says Dunne

ACT's belated interest in immigration shows they are the new populist party of New Zealand politics, says United New Zealand leader the Hon Peter Dunne.

"ACT's sudden interest in immigration has everything to do with politics and nothing to do with substance."

"However, they need to differentiate between immigration and population policy. While the two may be related in terms of net population figures it is too simple to link the two the way ACT does."

"In the case of New Zealanders leaving, ACT is claiming many young, skilled New Zealanders are leaving because of student fees. Yet ACT opposes any move to reduce student fees, claiming that students are abusing the fees system. It could just be the case that high student fees and the level of interest graduates are required to pay are an important reason they are leaving," says Mr Dunne.

He says only when there is a positive incentive to stay will emigration be reduced, not withstanding the Kiwi tradition of travelling on your OE when young.

"What is actually needed is a properly balanced population strategy supported by sound migration settlement policies to encourage new migrants to settle in New Zealand and existing citizens to stay. Such a population strategy would require additional resourcing, which ACT conveniently overlooks."

"It is not simply good enough to complain about the brain drain, while not putting forward any workable proposals to encourage new long-term migration."

"ACT thinks the immigration issue is an easy bandwagon to jump on now, because people are concerned about our population, but I do not recall ACT showing anything this level of interest in previous years when New Zealanders were not as concerned about population policy."

"ACT's stand is all about politics, and nothing about values," concludes Mr Dunne.

END

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