Jacinda Ardern initiates sweeping immigration review

Jacinda Ardern’s Labor Government has tasked the New Zealand Productivity Commission (PC) tom undertake a system-wide review of the nation’s immigration program, focusing on the “impact of immigration on the labour market, housing and associated infrastructure, and the natural environment”.

The goal of the inquiry is to “enable New Zealand to strategically optimise its immigration settings” so that it maximises community wellbeing and living standards.

The terms-of-reference notes that “before the COVID pandemic more people were entering New Zealand’s labour market through permanent and long-term migration than from the school system” and wants the PC to examine among other things:

  • the impact of large increases in net migration (and hence rapid population growth) on housing markets and associated infrastructure, on social cohesion and on the natural environment;
  • the impact these increases in aggregate demand are having on macroeconomic phenomena such as interest and exchange rates and GDP growth, and on New Zealand’s international competitiveness;
  • how New Zealand should think about meeting future skill or labour shortages;
  • whether the skills of migrants are being well-matched with the jobs available in New Zealand;
  • the effect of access to migrant labour on firms’ incentives to: make productivity-enhancing adjustments (e.g., adopting technological solutions or other forms of capital investment); develop the skills of existing and future domestic workers in their own firm
    or industry; and make efforts to attract new domestic hires;
  • the impact of migration on labour demand and wages in particular areas or sectors; and
  • the use of the student visa as a pathway to residency, and the labour market impact of international students’ in-study and post-study work rights.

The terms-of-reference also wants the PC to focus “on immigration policy as a means of improving productivity in a way that is directed to supporting the overall well-being of New Zealanders, having regard to a wide range of communities of interest and population groups in New Zealand society”.

The Ardern Government seems especially interested in labour market outcomes:

The Commission should aim to provide concrete advice on how immigration affects labour market outcomes and the overall wellbeing of New Zealanders, including through productivity growth, the development of skills, levels of capital investment and labour market opportunities among different groups. It should assess evidence on the impact of low-skilled migration on wages, working conditions and business models in relevant sectors, and consider the impact on those sectors of reduced access to migrant labour, including any lessons learned from border closures due to COVID-19.

The Morrison Government should have initiated a similar review by our Productivity Commission, rather than kowtowing to its business lobbyist mates and declaring open immigration war on Australian workers.

Unconventional Economist
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  1. Hard to get excited about anything announced by this govt. Elected promising a break from immigration driven population growth > accelerated it. We know what happened to their housing affordability promises.

    I despise the nationals, so it’s not like I would vote for the opposition but NZ labor have been pretty disappointing under Jacinda in delivering on what are some good policy announcements.

  2. reusachtigeMEMBER

    Conclusion: Immigration is ace and we need much more of it! Betcha…

  3. I would have thought that any sensible government would have asked these questions BEFORE opening the gates. Silly me.

  4. sps179MEMBER

    Who knows, Ardern herself might just be tiring, of her “St Jacinda of the Veil” image. She is very capable, and it is just dimly possible, to imagine her pivoting, on mass migration. With Monstrous Morrison, that’s much harder to imagine.

  5. Could it be that she is using her strong ‘mandate’ to actually deliver on prior promises…… or simply conducting a faux review in full knowledge that it will robber stamp the status quo and can therefore be referred to as the definitive dismissal of any and all future criticism of the current model?

    We all want it to be the former (just watching so called ‘progressives’ process how their hero of woke could even ask such questions will be entertaining).

    Of course the realist in me as a snarky $100 on the latter….. though I doubt I’ll find a bookmaker stupid enough to take that bet on decent odds.

  6. GarethMEMBER

    Depends how they define New Zealanders

    ‘…and the overall wellbeing of New Zealanders’.

    Is it citizens, visa holders, temps etc. The scope sounds promising if they can focus on the citizenry but as we all know the outcomes have already been written, now they just have to go through the charade of pretending to do the research.

  7. BoomToBustMEMBER

    Didn’t she promise more affordable housing yet did the total opposite?

    • She also promised a pause in NOM growth and instead accelerated it massively.

  8. MathiasMEMBER

    ‘ Well being index ‘… hmm. So New Zealand is setting itself up to take Australians while Australia itself implodes?

    I wonder what Enterprise can be established in NZ which isnt dairy. They’ve got pretty fast internet too, from what I understand. Better then Australia.

    Housing… expensive. She still has plenty of work to go by the looks of it.

  9. Ghost of Stewie Griffin

    I’m sure whatever the NZPC’s findings they will be treated with the same priority attention that she has applied in regards to making NZ housing more affordable.