Labour’s election promise shattered as NZ immigration climbs

In the lead-up to the September 2017 general election, the New Zealand Labour Party launched a plan to reduce immigration by around a third in a bid to relieve chronic housing and infrastructure pressures (especially around Auckland):

…in recent years our population has been growing rapidly as record numbers of migrants arrive here. This has happened without the Government planning for the impact immigration is having on our country… This has contributed to the housing crisis, put pressure on hospitals and schools, and added to the congestion on roads…

Labour will… take a breather on immigration… In total, these changes are estimated to reduce net migration by 20,000-30,000. Without these changes there would be up to 10,000 more houses needed and up to 20,000 more vehicles on our roads annually.

Today, Statistics New Zealand released immigration data showing that “net migration remains at historically high levels” and jumped by 9.5% over the year:

Migrant arrivals have continued to increase, reaching almost 150,000 in the year ended March 2019, however, more people are also leaving New Zealand long term, Stats NZ said today.

“The number of migrant arrivals for the year ended March 2019 is actually higher than when net migration peaked at almost 64,000 in the year ended July 2016,” population insights manager Tehseen Islam said.

“However, migrant departures have continued to rise since mid-2016, bringing net migration to its current level. Net migration remains at historically high levels, but lower than the 2016 peak.”

Annual net migration was provisionally estimated at 55,400 (± 900) in the year ended March 2019 compared with 50,600 in the previous year.

The Labour Government has also recently announced a bunch of measures to increase immigration into New Zealand, including:

Jacinda Adern has unambiguously broken her key election commitment to reduce immigration, while effectively declaring war on Labour’s traditional working class base.

Unconventional Economist

Leith van Onselen is Chief Economist at the MB Fund and MB Super. Leith has previously worked at the Australian Treasury, Victorian Treasury and Goldman Sachs.

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