There’s good immigration and there’s bad immigration. Good immigration helps the nation more forward economically and socially. Bad immigration does the opposite, but worse it can fundamentally undermine the culture of a nation, leading to civil unrest.
Whether immigration is good or bad depends on two things.
Firstly, it depends on the motives of those who want to make their lives in a new land. If they come because they seek a better life and will work hard to achieve it, all well and good. In so doing they will benefit themselves and the nation, a win win. If they come because they seek to exploit the generosity of the host nation so that they do not have to work then everyone loses, the person themselves because they are motivated by greed and idleness and the host nation because they drain its wealth.
Secondly, it depends on sound immigration policy. Immigration policy that encourages participation and integration is a pre-requisite to better outcomes. On the contrary immigration policy that encourages indolence and bludging are counter-productive. It is also counter-productive to encourage immigration that outpaces the resources of health, education and welfare to cope with the policy consequences.
There is also a third factor that needs to be taken into consideration. Domestic policies are also needed that encourage the same good outcomes i.e. discourages bludgers and encourages a strong work ethic. It is little use having strong economic growth and attendant job and wealth creation if all this does is encourage immigration because Kiwi workers are more content being on benefits than getting paid employment. This point is made by Rodney Hide in a recent column in NBR replicated on the NZCPS website.
Immigration is a hot topic because there is growing concern that the high levels of net migration are putting hosing supply, and health, education and welfare systems under increasing pressure.
Immigration will be a major election issue. Concerns are growing over New Zealand’s high levels of net migration, which hit a record 72,000 in the year to May, with 130,400 permanent long-term arrivals and 58,400 permanent long -term departures.
In essence, the high levels of net migration are being driven by New Zealand’s strong economic growth. A critical shortage of skilled workers is attracting record numbers of immigrants to our shores. In addition, changes to New Zealand’s health and safety laws, that are forcing more and more employers to drug test workers, are creating a growing demand for unskilled migrants.
Most are aware of the unfettered and destructive immigration that is wreaking havoc in Europe where illegal immigration as well as an open borders policy in the EU is upsetting the cultural balance in its sovereign nation states. There is concern that security has been sacrificed on the altar of multiculturalism leading to instability. There is growing resistance to mass immigration from sovereign states. Sovereignty was at the heart of the vote in the UK for Brexit a year ago.
New Zealand is uniquely positioned to make the most of immigration to enhance the wellbeing of all. It is a democratic country. It is wealthy beyond the wildest dreams of the vast majority of the world’s population. It is far enough away from the scourge of human trafficking that is flooding many democratic nations with migrants, many of whom come with bad intent. It is not heavily industrialised and offers a natural environment that is the envy of the world. It has a stable political and economic system that has weathered the shock of 2008 world financial crisis better than most and is experiencing strong economic growth. It is a modern nation forged by migrants.