Jessica Irvine ignores evidence in latest ‘Big Australia’ spruik

By Leith van Onselen

Jessica Irvine yesterday penned another shameless mass immigration spruik, entitled “Why I love a Big Australia, and you should too”, which yet again missed by a wide margin. From The SMH:

…many countries around the world would like to have the population problem we have, as the demographic timebomb that is ageing populations begins its slow detonation. Japan is its most visible casualty, shrinking by 1.3 million people over the past six years.

Australia may still be growing, but we’re ageing rapidly too. Between the 1996 census and last year’s, the percentage of the population aged 14 and under shrank from 21.4 per cent to 18.9 per cent. Meanwhile, the share of the population aged 65-plus has risen from 12 per cent to 15.2 per cent.

As a result, the median age of Australians has risen from 34 years to 37.3 years.

As this population ageing continues, the federal budget is about to take a body blow, as fewer working aged people are available to do the work to pay the taxes to fund the growing bills of the elderly.

Migrants, tending to be younger, are like a fresh inflow of water into a stagnant tributary. They help rejuvenate us as a nation.

And they also bring valuable skills.

Of course, there is always the attendant fear that migrants will take our jobs, and hurt our wages.

In simplistic theory, an influx of new workers should reduce the bargaining power of existing workers, making labour less scarce and making it harder for them to push for pay rises.

But in the latest issue of the Australian Economic Society’s Economic Record journal, three academics from the Crawford School of Public Policy, Robert Breunig, Nathan Deutscher and Hang Thi To look at the impact of migration and the labour market outcomes of Australian-born workers, and those who have lived here for more than five years.

The evidence confirms Australia’s migrant intake – unlike that of the US or Britain – is highly targeted to fill skills gaps or to perform work that Australians seem reluctant to do, like fruit picking, nursing or mining.

They find no evidence that migrant workers result in negative outcomes for Australian-born workers, either in terms of unemployment or wages growth.

Yet again, Jessica Irvine has recycled the myth that Australia can prevent a “demographic timebomb” by continually importing younger people via mass immigration. However, as outlined dozens of time on this site (but ignored by spruikers like Irvine), this myth has been debunked over and over again by the Productivity Commission (PC). For example:

  • PC (2005): Despite popular thinking to the contrary, immigration policy is also not a feasible countermeasure [to an ageing population]. It affects population numbers more than the age structure”.
  • PC (2010): “Realistic changes in migration levels also make little difference to the age structure of the population in the future, with any effect being temporary“…
  • PC (2011): “…substantial increases in the level of net overseas migration would have only modest effects on population ageing and the impacts would be temporary, since immigrants themselves age… It follows that, rather than seeking to mitigate the ageing of the population, policy should seek to influence the potential economic and other impacts”…
  • PC (2016): “[Immigration] delays rather than eliminates population ageing. In the long term, underlying trends in life expectancy mean that permanent immigrants (as they age) will themselves add to the proportion of the population aged 65 and over”.

Who would have guessed: trying to overcome an ageing population through higher immigration is a Ponzi scheme?  It requires ever more immigration, with the associated negative impacts on economic and social infrastructure, congestion, housing affordability, and the environment.

This brings me to Irvine’s next faulty claim that Japan is the demographic timebomb’s “most visible casualty, shrinking by 1.3 million people over the past six years”.

It is true that Japan’s population has fallen over the past six years, as it has in several other OECD economies:

Importantly, however, Japan’s economic growth has matched Australia’s when measured in per capita terms, whereas Australia’s per capita GDP growth has actually underperformed the OECD average over the six year period quoted by Irvine:

Taking the data further back to 2003, which is when Australia’s migrant intake accelerated sharply (and also captures the mining boom), also paints a lacklustre picture of the Australian economy. As shown in the next chart, Australia’s population has surged by a whopping 21.5% over this time period – roughly 2.5 times the OECD average:

And yet Australia’s growth in per capita GDP has barely beat the OECD average, and has actually underperformed most economies whose populations shrank:

Clearly, the suggestion that Australia needs mass immigration to stop the “demographic timebomb” from detonating is not borne out by the data when the economy is measured in per capita terms.

Indeed, economists at MIT recently found that there is absolutely no relationship between population ageing and economic decline. To the contrary, population aging seems to have been associated with improvements in GDP per capita, thanks to increased automation:

ScreenHunter_18202 Mar. 26 13.24

If anything, countries experiencing more rapid aging have grown more in recent decades… we show that since the early 1990s or 2000s, the periods commonly viewed as the beginning of the adverse effects of aging in much of the advanced world, there is no negative association between aging and lower GDP per capita… on the contrary, the relationship is significantly positive in many specifications.

So what is the problem that Irvine is trying to solve via mass immigration? When you add negative externalities, such as increased congestion in our major cities, the need for expensive new infrastructure to be built (paid for largely by the incumbent residents), smaller and more expensive housing, as well as damage to Australia’s natural environment, then it is clear that mass immigration is not improving living standards as measured by per capita GDP, and is wrecking living standards once broader impacts are taken into account.

Irvine’s next assertion that migrants “bring valuable skills” and that “Australia’s migrant intake – unlike that of the US or Britain – is highly targeted to fill skills gaps or to perform work that Australians seem reluctant to do, like fruit picking, nursing or mining” is also not backed up by evidence.

The PC’s recent Migrant Intake Australia report explicitly stated that around half of the skilled steam includes the family members of skilled migrants, with around 70% of Australia’s total permanent migrant intake not actually ‘skilled’:

…within the skill stream, about half of the visas granted were for ‘secondary applicants’ — partners (who may or may not be skilled) and dependent children… Therefore, while the skill stream has increased relative to the family stream, family immigrants from the skill and family stream still make up about 70 per cent of the Migration Programme (figure 2.8)…

Primary applicants tend to have a better fiscal outcome than secondary applicants — the current system does not consider the age or skills of secondary applicants as part of the criteria for granting permanent skill visas…

The PC also showed that while primary skilled migrants have marginally better labour market outcomes than the Australian born population in terms of median incomes, labour force participation, and unemployment rates, secondary skilled visas, and indeed all other forms of migrants, have much worse outcomes:

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) latest Characteristics of Recent Migrants report, released last month, also revealed that migrants have generally worse labour market outcomes than the Australian born population, with recent migrants and temporary residents having an unemployment rate of 7.4% versus 5.4% for the Australian born population, and lower labour force participation (69.8%) than the Australian born population (70.2%):

Finally, Irvine’s claim that mass immigration does not lower incumbent workers’ wages growth does not pass the laugh test.

Throughout the mining boom, business groups lobbied to increase immigration (both temporary and permanent) to alleviate labour shortages and prevent a wages/inflation break-out. And yet now that the mining boom has finished (and there substantial labour underutilisation), we are somehow supposed to believe that continually importing workers does not place downward pressure on wages? Get real.

As I noted when the ANU academics’ ‘research’ was initially released:

“..the ANU academics have a bias towards immigration, given they noted the ‘benefits’ of “cultural and culinary diversity, innovation and creativity”, without also acknowledging the negative externalities from immigration, such as increased traffic congestion, reduced housing affordability, and environmental degradation. This is hardly surprising, given the ANU is a factory for foreign students.

Their modelling also has a clear short-coming in that it only examined labour market outcomes during a period of “robust economic growth”, rather than the situation we have now where immigration remains strong”.

Instead of trusting their modelling, I prefer to go with the PC, which has studied the economic impacts of immigration for well over a decade, and can rightfully be considered an ‘independent umpire’ on the issue.

On the specific issue of whether immigration lowers incumbent workers’ wages, the PC’s view is clear. In 2006, the PC completed a major study on the Economic Impacts of Migration and Population Growth, which modelled the impact of a 50% increase in the level of skilled migration over the 20 years to 2024-25 and found that the benefits from increasing skilled migration accrue to the migrants themselves and wealthy capital owners, whereas existing resident workers are made worse-off. Here’s the money quote:

The increase in labour supply causes the labour / capita ratio to rise and the terms of trade to fall. This generates a negative deviation in the average real wage. By 2025 the deviation in the real wage is –1.7 per cent…

Broadly, incumbent workers lose from the policy, while incumbent capital owners gain. At a 5 per cent discount rate, the net present value of per capita incumbent wage income losses over the period 2005 – 2025 is $1,775. The net present value of per capita incumbent capital income gains is $1,953 per capita…

Owners of capital in the sectors experiencing the largest output gains will, in general, experience the largest gains in capital income. Also, the distribution of capital income is quite concentrated: the capital owned by the wealthiest 10 per cent of the Australian population represents approximately 45 per cent of all household net wealth…

In a similar vein, the PC’s most recent modelling found that labour productivity is forecast to decrease under current immigration settings, as are real wages, versus a zero net overseas migration (NOM) baseline:

Compared to the business-as-usual case, labour productivity is projected to be higher under the hypothetical zero NOM case — by around 2 per cent by 2060 (figure 10.5, panel b). The higher labour productivity is reflected in higher real wage receipts by the workforce in the zero NOM case.
ScreenHunter_14902 Sep. 12 16.24

Anyway, let’s forget the modelling and think logically for a moment. The whole purpose of ‘skilled’ visas is to suppress wages growth by allowing employers to recruit from a global pool of labour to compete with Australian workers.

When demand for workers rises, employers would normally need to bid against each other for the available scarce talent, thus biding-up wages. However, the ability to bring in a migrant under the auspices of “skills shortages” obviously breaks this nexus. We don’t need some bullshit economic model from the ANU (a factory for foreign students) to tell us otherwise – it’s common sense.

Perhaps the final word on Jessica Irvine’s latest dross should go to reader “Susan”, who wrote the following comment under Irvine’s article:

“Not sure why you regularly complain about high house prices when you want a big Australia. Big Australia means big Sydney and Melbourne and minor growth outside of those 2 cities”.

Touche!

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Comments

  1. sydboy007MEMBER

    Dun be too hard on poor Jess.

    I’m sure she’s hampster wheeling like mad to keep her job with the competing interests of the gas lobby and domain it’s hard to know which way to zag or maybe it was zig???

    • Go easy? No chance.

      Time Jessica pulled a Sam deBrito.

      These fucking journalists think they are part of some elite and selective dissed real world evidence in an attempt to convince themselves they belong with the 1%, until they are forced to confront reality or their mind breaks from the cognitive dissonance.

  2. What are the reasons Irvine et al continue to spruik a big Australia? They don’t make any money from the ponzi yet it seems to form an integral part of what is important in their lives.

    I think if we can deal with why it is so important to them then we can get rid of 90% of the spruikers.

    • SwittersMEMBER

      Guilt over earlier years of a white Australia only policy? Overcompensation for embarrassment over still present undercurrents of racism?

    • stagmalMEMBER

      it’s domainfax, they make money from the ponzi. but it’s not just about that. immigration is basically a quasi-religion and to question or advocate for less of it is a secular heresy in many circles these days.

    • It’s mass immigration or a bust and back to affordable housing and being Australian again, or a semblance of it.

      Being Australian is racist. We’re all very sophisticated and cosmopolitan at the moment.

    • JunkyardMEMBER

      We have to have a big Australia coz a TV show in the 80’s had all white kids on it. Well that’s what it sounded like she said to me.

    • DarkMatterMEMBER

      The answer to this question is that immigration provides an easy way to make things change (“progress”), without directly taking responsibility for the outcomes. Most people believe that growth and multiculturalism are inherently virtuous, so that makes immigration a motherhood deal. The problems are seen as “challenges” which are in a way, the hallmark of a thriving, lucky young nation. Also, there is “growth” which is youthful and good. Problems associated with too much bigness will never be blamed on anyone in particular. From the elite point of view, this is all perfect, and it makes it seem like we are moving forward. Blameless.

      Going against the Big Australia meme (bigger is better, right?) has only negative connotations. Caution, prudence, restraint – these are attractive to the public like week old fish guts.

      • bolstroodMEMBER

        There is a lot of blow back against Jessica’s support for a Big Australia in today’s SMH (paper) letters pages.All letters are anti big Australia, most call for reverting immigration numbers to historical average
        MB is doing a great job and is starting to gain traction in the wider community… unless all the letters critisising high immagration were written by MB subscribers.

      • haroldusMEMBER

        Yeah! Reus HAS had a spring in his step recently.

        If that’s not suspicious nothing is.

    • drsmithyMEMBER

      What are the reasons Irvine et al continue to spruik a big Australia? They don’t make any money from the ponzi yet it seems to form an integral part of what is important in their lives.

      It’s mainstream economic orthodoxy.

      No need for any convoluted or conspiratorial thinking and reasoning. They promote the situation because they’ve been taught that it produces the best economic result (and it probably does in the sense of ‘most efficient distribution of resources’).

      The problem is the best economic result is not necessarily the best human result. A little bit of inefficiency here and there is what saves grandma from the lion. Or kept Stephen Hawking alive long enough to change the world.

      • “they’ve been taught that it produces the best economic result.”
        They’ve been told repeatedly by the Productivity Commission that it doesn’t.

    • It’s a mindset belonging to Fairfax/ABC. Read Neil Mcmahon who does a recap every Tuesday in the SMH of Q&A from the preceding Monday night (why it needs a recap is anyone’s guess).
      His writing gives an indication firstly of what beliefs are integral to belong to the church of Fairfax and secondly the tone of sneering condescension tells you all you need to know about what will happen to you should you not share those beliefs.
      Thus, to truly belong, one must adhere tenaciously to the doctrines or one will be excommunicated. One of the core beliefs is mass immigration.

  3. “fewer working aged people are available to do the work to pay the taxes to fund the growing bills of the elderly.”

    Because income taxes are the only taxes?

    AUS can not have an energy export tax and a mineral export tax?

    3% of Indians in India pay income tax! Relying on income tax to fund the federal budget is a one of those stupid Aussie policies. In the future, 40% of the jobs will be done by robots – what then, Jessica?

    A great chunk of immigrants are imported to work for $9/hour cash – thus paying no income tax at all while denying Aussies like me a job. Genius!

    I used to say $10/hour but yesterday The Australian newspaper said fruit pickers are paid $5/hour and office clerks $9/hour!

    • Totally agree. Resource tax, carbon tax and land tax are best options. But, even hiking GST to 15% would be better than mass migration. It would still be 7% lower than many Euro countries. On the other hand, if Govermment does nothing, “bracket creep” from 33% to 37% is not going to kill the economy. Some commentators are still living in the world of 1985.

  4. Mining BoganMEMBER

    Wow. Just wow.

    So the trolley pushers, servo attendants and kitchen hands are the fresh water that we stagnant tributaries need. Geez Jessica, you must have a piss-poor opinion of the average Australian if you think they don’t have the ability to do those jobs.

    I know where the skills shortage is. It’s in journalists who aren’t willing to destroy the future.

    Tumbril.

    • These people are out of touch and their research has badly failed them. I suspect they’re the same people that believe there isn’t wide spread worker exploitation going on. And what are the authorities doing? I got an email off the ATO stating they did a random audit of my tax return last year, but they didn’t ask why I wasn’t paid super, or why I didn’t have a group certificate. I could have put any number down for my income and completely avoided tax. Sadly I’m stupid and did the right thing, but I’m sure a lot low paid workers don’t (because unlike me they’re not completely stupid).

  5. Johannes Kepler

    or to perform work that Australians seem reluctant to do, like fruit picking, nursing or mining.

    tell that the unending stream of slaves found on farms, nurses with zero wage growth and Perth FIFO workers looking for jobs.

    What an absolute cow – cherry picked data at its absolute worst – woman is corrupt.

    .

      • ^^Yeah, this is at least a part of the reason why lots of decent people won’t sign up as members here and instead just casually peruse. If this site wants credibility you should just delete / ban this kind of garbage muncher.

      • This kind of posting and it’s non-moderation is why the members who have signed up stay signed up and pay their fees year after year.

        This site works like the whole internet used to work back in the day, and that’s good.

        Anyone can see that St Jacques is making an observant remark about how being a street slut is a more honest profession than being a corporate slut.

      • Jam, you’re not a decent person. Whilst I don’t agree with mentioning prostitution in this context this site, from what I can tell isn’t one for the tyrannical ‘ban anything I don’t like’ types. It’s people like you that are one of the main reasons why we’re in this pickle, can’t mention mass immigration, or Chinese buyers, without a whole heap of treasonous scum pulling out the race card. Face it you’re a tight arse, that’s the reason you won’t pay, you’re just looking for an excuse. This site is hardly riddled with sordid jokes, they might pop up once in a blue moon. I’ll admit to being a cheap skate myself, but I won’t dress it up in virtue signalling and blame others.

      • reusachtigeMEMBER

        To be honest, I don’t think she’s good looking enough to compete with the pretty Thai girl slaves (my friend tells me they are mind blowingly pretty with way better service than the locals at half the price). I’ve never seen Jess at the property seminars. I think she’s a wannabe but just doesn’t have the ticker to be really hot with a decent portfolio!

      • St JacquesMEMBER

        I’d normally call somebody like her a mercenary or gun for hire economist, but because she was being defended because “she’s cute” I responded the way I did.. I’m not going to let this shameless propagandist off the hook because “she’s cute”.

      • McPaddyMEMBER

        Actually, jam’s right. If MB wants to appeal to female readers this kind of comment needs to go. Surely people can understand it’s alienating, no matter the intention or otherwise?

      • Mcpaddy we don’t only comment on women’s looks. We also praise the angelic good looks of reusa, the seductive manner of Nathan B…. and I never get tired of calling “our Chris” a chubby pie-muncher.

        It’s inclusive and egalitarian.

      • reusa – I think you’ll find that the underlying reason why the ever so attractive J.Irvine is a fervent supporter of mass immigration is because she needs to ensure her continued employment for the time being whilst firming up her balance on the property ladder by paying off a bit of her mortgage. Soon enough, she will join the truly beautiful people at one of your negatively geared relations parties

  6. St JacquesMEMBER

    Wages going down while private debts balloon, workers being ripped off routinely by employers by the tens of thousands, people who are working living in their cars, thousands sleeping rough, the gas cabal pushing gas and therefore electricity prices through the roof, the big metals miners paying cents in the dollar earnings for the country’s non-renewable resources, AUD destroying any remaining tradeable industry left standing, the nation’s education system debased.

    • ^^ I mean seriously, delete this garbage muncher and I will sign up. Literally a bottom of the barrel loser. Just look at his filth – do you really want to see “MEMBER” alongside that? You should have a way higher quality following than that.

      Edit: At least he edited it so it wasn’t just a splash of filth across your otherwise decent article.

      • MB team, please consider restricting guest posting privileges. This dude for example just comes and labels everyone “garbage muncher”.

        I’m pretty sure that is code for either “curry muncher” or “carpet muncher” which is either xenophobic or homophobic.

        This offends my gentle sensibilities.

      • Peachy – guests can, and do, add value , same as with immigrants and members; what’s with that request, mate.

      • Nuisance – yes they can. You should try as well. What’s your special subject of expertise that you can contribute?

        Mine is finance and taxation; the rest is opinion.

      • I’ve no issue with profane language and no interest in the sorts of folk with designs on censorship, especially when you consider that, in this country, people who have, in the past, tried to make honest assessments about the economic realities facing straya have been shouted down on the basis of “talking down the economy/confidence/whatfuckingever”.

        Sometimes, what goes on is bullshit. At times, bullshit is caused by a prick, or a collective of pricks, and when that happens, it’s pretty fucked. It’s important to be able to say this, because shouting down folks who express legitimate concerns in a way that is a little confronting is the thin edge of the censorship wedge.

      • Thanks Peachy. Also, guests are okay. Mostly. Those with an agenda (astroturfers?) stand out pretty bad though, it’s important to make reasoned arguments rather than shout for their banning. I like to think that’s what this place does.

      • Know IdeaMEMBER

        C’mon people. Jam has a point, which has been taken. A little bit of individual moderation – to keep the discussion civil – will avoid the need for any centralised moderation.

  7. Jessica is a real smart cookie.

    As for “Susan”, well – big Australia means an increased economic growth ( even *per capita* ) and the regulators simply need to improve infrastructures/(incentives + attractions to regionalize ). That they don’t can’t logically be used as an excuse for not desiring a much bigger Australia, and higher house prices in Eastern States. It’s fallacious to attempt to argue to the contrary – economic growth is a function also of population growth ( and other factors ). The supposed negatives of population growth should not be allowed to outweigh the positives – simple ; the issue is that it’s economic handling has been poor, rather than it’s a poor idea/concept, and therefore should not be pursued. Jessica knows what she’s talking about – disagreeing others, I am convinced they don’t.

    Jessica is simply advancing well-established economic fact, not spruiking any individual commercial purpose / interest at all.

    Silly, small-minded, non-economically literate argue to her contrary.

    • St JacquesMEMBER

      It’s being used to support the RE bubble and other forms of rentierism. She’s just acting as a high class RE spruiker.

    • “ig Australia means an increased economic growth ( even *per capita* ) and the regulators simply need to improve infrastructures/(incentives + attractions to regionalize ). That they don’t can’t logically be used as an excuse for not desiring a much bigger Australia”

      Yes they can. Shit that works in theory but doesn’t work in practice isn’t how I want the country run.

      If you want to buy into that kind of stuff – feel free to do so on your dime, and in ways that affect you only, without imposing silly ideologies on the whole population.

    • Jake GittesMEMBER

      Nuisance – from the French ‘nuire’ : pollutant, to damage or cause harm.

    • Silly, small-minded, non-economically literate argue to her contrary.

      Good description of the Productivity Commission /sarc.

    • At the moment the negatives outweigh the positives. Current infrastructure can’t cope with current demand, therefore we need to improve infrastructure before adding more demand. Otherwise all we’re doing is reducing both our GDP per capita and the standard of living for all current residents.

  8. The defence of extreme and reckless immigration levels is becoming increasingly shrill.
    This is our brexit i think.

  9. ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

    Where is the “Slave Labor” Post that was put up at 6.25am?

    It described some audit that showed 4 out of every 5 Chinese, Korean and Spanish language job adverts, were for jobs paying less than the minimum Award rates of pay.
    I was halfway through typing an anecdote reply between 7.30-8am when it got pulled down.

    Why?

      • ErmingtonPlumbingMEMBER

        I would be interested to see a comparison/ratio of articles, like the one above to the Number of articles published by the commercial media demonizing the CFMEU and Unions in general.

        When the Reserve bank governor is stating that workers have to “Man up” and “Demand” pay rises,… for the sake of the economy!,…I’m wondering if he has any clue at all, about the reality on the “Coal face” within the industries most affected by this instutionalised contravention of Australian law.

        A Right wing political Party may have less “Brown people” being exploited within our boarders, but only a pro Union, Economic left of centre Party can eridicate the idelogical mentality that underpins this kind of exploitation.
        The Labor party should be the political party to turn all this around,…But,….thanks to Keating and his lingering legacy, Labor have been a big part of this growing and developing problem.

        BUT they still have a democratic structure within the party and a rank and file revolt, could have the party FORCED back, to honouring it’s traditional roll of representing Working people and the Poor,…instead of the Careerist ambitions of its Proffessional class of apparatchiks.

        Single issue parties like SAP are all very good, well and noble,…and are certainly a way of forcing a bit of change against an injust and unpopular 2 party consensus,…but the fact remains Australians, like most in the AngloSphere, Vote tribally, with roughly, just under half voting Tory/Conservative and the other, just under half, Voting “Progressive/Left”.
        The Corporate media support this “pretend” and fake left/right dichotomy,… as long as it remains focussed on Non economic issues,… and the mainstream parties acquiesce to this Plutocratic demand,…thus we have the Neoliberal consensus, where “there is no alternative”.

        Well,… there is an alternative, and it requires people to take something back that used to belong to them,…The Labor Party.

        http://www.alp.org.au/joinlabor

        The Corbynites have been slowly clawing back the UKs Labor party from the Tory light, Blairites, but they to have some way to go,…we’ve got an even bigger fight here in OZ.

        IMHO, there is no other non violent, possibilitity for real change, without a retaking of the instution, that was established over 100 years ago, to limit and redistribute the POWER of the “Owners” of this world.

        https://youtu.be/Grn2EZxcUeA

        Continued Neoliberalism today = Neo-fedualsim for our future.

  10. Gotta say, Japan is a pretty shitty example economically.

    If Kyle Bass is to be believed, they’re .25% away from their debt repayments wiping out their tax revenue.

    Also, anyone 30 and under from Japan, hates their work culture. Korean’s are similar. They love our laid back, work to live lifestyle and for the most part, once they get a few friends they want to stay.
    While they’re theoretically growing their economies, the human cost is pretty high. Anecdote, but it’s from their mouths to my ears.

    • The .25% issue is a result of their over borrowing to try to achieve a soft landing for their bubble of decades ago.

      This is where we are going to. Well on our way.

    • macrofishMEMBER

      We dont need to take on the work culture they have to operate the low immigration they do.

  11. kiwikarynMEMBER

    Tourism is New Zealand’s biggest export earner, and its probably right up there in Australia too. So if both countries just become one large multi-cultural hot pot with no distinguishing cultural characteristics, why will tourists want to come here? There is a lot to be said about maintaining the original culture of a country when its so dependent on selling that concept to overseas visitors. I mean, do people go to France to experience Algerian restaurants, or Britain to get a good vindaloo? I would prefer it if countries stayed original to what they were, like Japan has, so that there is a reason to visit them. Otherwise, multi-culturalism will morph into global mono-culturalism, and how boring will that be?

    • Hunter80MEMBER

      Agree Karyn.

      And why are we keen to have a flood of people from countries that are notorious for corruption and caste systems? In number so great that they don’t have to change and assimilate to an existing culture built on fairness and equality?

  12. Irvine is out of her depth
    Her simplistic nonsense should be challenged vigourously