Changes coming on migration

It was an election policy debate that split the country. The National Party said it would be discriminatory and send the wrong message to potential migrants. Labour said that the rate of migration 70,000 per year or roughly one Nelson size city (based on 2016 statistics) was unsustainable. Six months after the election, the Government has announced that changes are on the way for migration.

New Zealand First wanted to lower annual migration to 10,000 people a year. This was far lower than the 30,000 that Labour said would be its target.

I have no problems with migrants. I have an American sister-in-law living in New Zealand. I have met many great people who have New Zealand permanent residency or citizenship who came from other countries – Colombians, Peruvians, Indians, Filipinos, Iranians, Americans, Britons and many more.

Where my concern comes in is about making sure that New Zealand can accommodate migrants at the current rate, and sadly the answer is no. At least not without seriously degrading the living environment for the people who are already here and possibly arousing resentment as a result. It is that resentment that drives toxic elements such as the National Front. A multicultural New Zealand is what New Zealanders desire and as such we are probably as close as any other multicultural nation to successfully functioning as such.

Every person, migrant or citizen by birth, needs somewhere to live. That somewhere – house, flat, apartment, or otherwise – needs running water, electricity, a driveway or other vehicle access, sewerage disposal. The resources that are necessary to put all of this together have to come from somewhere.

Whilst most come intending to be useful migrants, there are a few who come with questionable motives in mind. These might be criminal elements looking to expand criminal empires based on fraud, drugs, trafficking and so forth. They might be people wanting to make a quick dollar as an employer by setting up a company, hiring at illegal rates and then disappearing again as soon as the authorities get whiff of what is happening. It is these people who need to be shown the strong arm of New Zealand law.

Is our immigration law perfect? Absolutely not. Which is why it is being changed – Immigration New Zealand have made their mistakes, but most of them were probably the result of half baked assessments being done by under resourced and possibly under paid staff struggling with a backlog of cases. Without commenting on any particular individual cases, the only expectation I have is that any person coming to New Zealand will be totally honest with Immigration New Zealand; that they will seek to clarify anything that they are uncertain about and that I.N.Z. will be completely transparent with them in return.

Common sense in other words.

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