WINSTON PETERS: Little’s eureka moment over immigration just vote-grabbing

16/06/2017

Written by WINSTON PETERS, June 16th 2017
Little’s eureka moment over immigration just vote-grabbing

Twelve months ago National and Labour tip-toed around New Zealand’s excessive immigration as if it didn’t exist.

The only voice constantly speaking up about it was New Zealand First.

For that we were called racist and xenophobic.

But the Auckland housing crisis escalated so badly Labour had a whiff of courage and piped up about people with Asian sounding names buying up large in Auckland.

They got slammed over that one and went silent.

Things have changed. New Zealanders’ patience over massive immigration has worn thin. National and Labour know it.

To give the impression they’re doing something about it National tweaked the immigration settings and this week Labour really got brave (for them).

Let’s have a breather, said Mr Little.

He gained some courage and inspiration by checking out the New Zealand First manifesto and reading what people like Michael Barnett, the Auckland Chamber of Commerce boss had been saying.

Last month Mr Barnett called for an immigration debate and suggested a regionalised approach to immigration as well as a crack-down on student work visas.

With a pillar of the Auckland business establishment saying this, Mr Little knew he would be on safe ground.

So, he made his announcement this week targeting the international student industry primarily. He said net immigration would be cut by 20,000 to 30,000 a year but foreign construction workers would still be welcomed under a KiwiBuild visa.

Of course he veered clear of the primary industries many of which are propped up by cheap foreign workers. For this, the sub-branch of the National Party, Federated Farmers, threw him a bouquet in appreciation.

Under Labour’s policy we will still have 50,000 to 40,000 permanent residents from overseas flooding in here every year who are driving down wages and not helping lift productivity.

Compare this intake with the UK which has over 12 times our population. Their Prime Minister Theresa May aims to reduce immigration to 100,000.

Like National’s feeble tweaking, Andrew Little’s announcement has just been political posturing.

You could drive a bulldozer through it.

Nothing’s really changed.