Immigration backlash swells in New Zealand

By Leith van Onselen

The New Zealand National Government’s single-minded focus on solving the nation’s housing crisis by boosting dwelling supply continues to fail.

In 2016, New Zealand added a whopping 100,000 residents, more than 70% of which came from net migration:

ScreenHunter_17805 Mar. 06 15.18

The bubble hotspot of Auckland has been the primary recipient of the population influx, with Statistics New Zealand recently revealing that Auckland’s population had grown by around 200,000 (over 13%) in just four years, with the region’s population also projected to grow by between 37% (low growth scenario) and 75% (high growth scenario) between 2013 and 2043:

ScreenHunter_17596 Feb. 22 09.13

Meanwhile, Statistics New Zealand’s latest figures showed that construction momentum has slowed, with trend number of new homes consented decreasing 11% in the six months to January 2017:

There were just 30,174 new dwellings consented across New Zealand in the year to February 2017, with just 10,045 consented in Auckland – nowhere near enough to keep up with population growth.

In addition to driving-up house prices to all-time highs in March, the inability of dwelling construction to keep up with New Zealand’s immigration-led population growth has also led to surging rents, which also hit an all-time high $400/week nationally in March. From

Median rents have increased by $50 a week a week in parts of Auckland over the last 12 months, according to the latest housing bond data collected by Tenancy Services.

Across the entire country the median rent for new tenancies completed in March was $400 a week, up by $20, or 5.3%, a week compared to March 2016…

That reflects an increase in demand for rental properties as more people are priced out of home ownership by high housing prices and the growing demand for rental housing as a result of increasing levels of net inward migration.

The immigration-driven boom in population is also causing chronic pressures outside of housing. As reported in the NZ Herald earlier this month, traffic congestion has also become hideous in Auckland, and is set to worsen, as the city’s population booms.

Concerns have also arisen that working conditions in New Zealand are being eroded by the mass immigration. The Salvation Army, the Treasury, the RBNZ, and former RBNZ special adviser Mike Reddell have all raised concern that New Zealand’s immigration program does not take sufficient account of whether their are genuine labour shortages, and may be depriving incumbent residents of employment opportunities.

Sensing the growing resentment, the incumbent National Government on Wednesday announced curbs to the country’s immigration program, along with a new remuneration threshold for skilled migrants set at the New Zealand median income of $48,859 a year.

The changes come as today revealed that an Immigration NZ random sample of 600 live Skilled Migrant Category applications in March showed 57% were for jobs offering less than the new median wage threshold:

A majority of applicants for New Zealand’s Skilled Migrant Category (SMC) visa were set to take on jobs offering less than the government’s new $48,859 wage threshold…

Of the sample, 57.5% were for roles offering less than the new threshold of New Zealand’s median wage, the spokesman said. That meant 42.5% were for roles with wages above $48,859. Meanwhile, 14% earned above $75,000. The results were given a margin of error of plus or minus 5%, the spokesman said.

The Labour opposition is gearing-up to announce its own curbs to New Zealand’s immigration program. Earlier this month, Labor took explicit aim at New Zealand’s mass immigration program, claiming it is choking housing, infrastructure and public services in Auckland, as well as undercutting working conditions.

Yesterday, Labour Party Leader, Andrew Little, yesterday stated Labour would cut annual net migration numbers, currently above 70,000, by the “tens of thousands” by way of changes to New Zealand’s working visa scheme.

Cutting New Zealand’s immigration intake is a policy no-brainer to alleviate pressures on housing, infrastructure and congestion, to boost weak wages growth, and to improve overall living standards of New Zealand residents.

With New Zealand’s national election scheduled for 23 September 2017, it appears that significant immigration cuts are baked in. Hopefully Australia’s dopey politicians sill follow suit.

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  1. How about a graph of Norway then.

    Living in AUS/NZ/UK/USA, it is hard to believe that a rich nation like Norway can have much less immigration!

    The Norwegian government actually does what the voters want?


    • Norway, with a population of around 5 million had NOM of around 40k last year. That effectively means that their NOM as a proportion of their existing population is almost identical to Australia’s i.e. there are roughly 4.5 Australians for every Norwegian, and 4.5 times 40k gives you Australia’s most recent NOM print with less than 1% error.

      • Well, yeah, to get to 40k last year they increased NOM massively over the last three or four years due to angst about their far lower natural growth compared to Australia, and your time frame leaves out the most recent increase. Their natural growth was only 0.35% in 2016 compared to roughly 0.7% in Australia. Growth due to NOM, OTOH, at 0.65% in Norway was far closer to Australia’s 0.7%

        The overseas born population in Norway between increased more than 350% since 1992 to 2015, compared to Australia where the overseas born population increased by only 70% from 1993 to 2016. (ABS let me down wrt 1992)

        Norway arrived later to the party, and hasn’t had the same immigration culture, but it is no longer true to talk about Norway as a low immigration country the way it might have been 10 or 20 years ago.

      • Over 28% of AUS is foreign born.

        What percentage of Norway is foreign born?

        Less than 14% I think.

        I am not sure that Norwegians want that figure to be 28%.

      • Just over 16%
        With 2 overseas arrivals for every extra net Norwegian born Norwegian, they’re not even that far from 28%. Following the current trend of adding 20k Norwegian born and 40k overseas born, they’ll get there before 2035.

  2. reusachtigeMEMBER

    Cutting immigration will make NZ a far more boring and less interesting place than it already is! Same for Australia if we make that silly mistake too!! What sort of country follows the lead of a minor?

    • I’d rather have boring affordable house prices, boring traffic, and a boring job paying a livable wage thanks.

  3. reusachtige you should move to Paris, far more interesting place with bombs/bullets whizzing past.

  4. 70k NOM in NZ, with a population of 4.8 million means they are bringing in migrants at almost twice the rate of Australia compared to their existing population, which is a truly amazing effort, and means that Labour could cut migration by ‘tens of thousands’ and still be in charge of a world beating population ponzi.

    • ScientistMEMBER

      Yes, but most migration in Australia flows into Melbourne and Sydney. Take Melbourne for example: approximately 127k NOM into city with population of 4.67 million = 2.7%!

      • So, growth in NZ is evenly spread across all urban and rural areas, and definitely not concentrated somewhere like Auckland?

    • There were 700k long term arrivals to Australia in the past year. Even though 500k people left, thats still a lot of social upheaval.

      • The point was that if we had NZ’s NOM settings, your 700k would be more like 1.4 million.

  5. New housing supply … what lessons are being learnt from Greater Christchurch ?

    Median rents up $50 a week over last 12 months in parts of Auckland; Rents continuing to increase sharply when supply is also increasing suggests supply is still falling well short of demand |

    By Greg Ninness

    Median rents have increased by $50 a week a week in parts of Auckland over the last 12 months, according to the latest housing bond data collected by Tenancy Services.

    Across the entire country the median rent for new tenancies completed in March was $400 a week, up by $20, or 5.3%, a week compared to March 2016.

    But rent increases were considerably higher in much of the upper North Island and Wellington and more modest in the rest of the country, with median rents in Christchurch continuing to decline. … read more via hyperlink above …

    … refer Fig 10 Page 26 …

    2017 13th Annual Demographia international Housing Affordability Survey

    … and …


    … extract …


    Recently Donald Ellis of North Canterbury New Zealand, prepared a graph of New Zealand’s building consent performance since 1970 … and the local government areas of the bureaucratically bloated and dysfunctional Auckland and Christchurch … and the smaller and functional (populations about 50,000) Waimakariri and Selwyn … since 1996.

    The graph employing the standard industry measure of the consent rate per 1,000 population per annum.

    Building consent information was sourced from … Building Consents Issued – Statistics New Zealand …

  6. NZ please show us the way, PLEASE riot and vote in someone who will CLOSE the bloody borders.
    We need it here, ASAP, because this is unacceptable.

  7. NZ is the backdoor – a transit stop for the third world migrant guestworkers and welfare seekers who would not get into Australia directly or have been exited from Australia to use NZ to gain ‘residency’ then enter Australia on Special Purpose Visa.
    Then they have full work rights & freedom or movement & property purchase etc and can then apply for Australian citizenship.

    That’s why Auckland is like Sydney & Melbourne.
    That’s why NZ along with Australia is known as the money laundering hub of the South Pacific,

    We have 650,000 to 680,000 of NZ SPV in Australia.
    Half of the NZ SPV coming in are non NZ born.

    Asian criminals & vice workers.
    Purchased Tongan passports, fake students, fake skilled workers, fake partners. Mainland Chinese factory workers and slum clearance or highly corrupt criminal class – sent by China to be someone else’s problem.

    Indians mainland & Fiji Indians Etc, fake documents fake skills fake partners / arranged marriages, labour services rackets.
    Bangladesh & Nepalese imitating or in bondage to the Indians.
    South East Asian vice workers. Whole districts of Thai or Filipino prostitution workers sent en mass as the districts main source of income.
    Pacific Islanders – a long well trodden path..
    Middle East jihadi & Africans needy who can’t get in to Australia directly using the nz back door to eventually join their kin in the vast slums of Sydney or Melbourne.

    Eurotrash -often exited out of Australia on criminal or character grounds / use NZ as second go around..

    All unskilled, dubious backgrounds & virtually everyone would never get into Australia directly.

    When did you last meet a genuine New Zealander recent arrival coming in on SPV ? It’s rare.

    The anecdotal evidence is the real NZ’rs are going back to NZ – as the huge wave of non NZ born third world trash on SPV floods into Australia.

    We need to shut the NZ back door.

    The rule is simple.

    No SPV to enter Australia – unless that person is NZ born and over 18.

    All these non nz born SPV that have sneaked into Australia should be sent back to NZ.
    They should never have got in.

    Time for a Royal Commission into the whole visa racket.