Skills-based immigration – D

I’m sure they are excellent dairy workers/farmers (all 8000+ of them), but there are only around 11000 dairy farms in the whole country.  It does, rather, have the feel of an approach more strongly focused, in effect, on keeping down wages rates and conditions in the New Zealand dairy industry –  and fuelling the gross output driven mentality which Peter Fraser and co-authors suggest has dominated the industry in the last decade or so, a period when real value-added in agriculture has not grown at all.

The gains to farmers are clear, but those to New Zealanders as a whole are rather less obvious.

A quite remarkably larger number of (skilled?) domestic house-keepers as well, no doubt complementing the 1000 commercial housekeepers, and contributing to the long-sought lift in productivity.

work visas D

AUT Briefing Papers on housing

AUT University has, over the last few weeks, been running a series of short essays on housing-related issues, in their Briefing Papers series.  There are now seven contributions from a range of different perspectives –  from economics, to social housing and health issues.  My contribution to the series is up today.  In it I reprise (briefly) my story that persistently high house prices, especially in Auckland, are best seen as the result of policy blunders of successive governments: land use restrictions running head-on into high target rates of inwards non-citizen migration.

For regular readers there will be nothing new in the latest piece.  For others, a fuller version of that story is here, and a complementary piece explaining why Reserve Bank investor finance restrictions are not a sensible or appropriate response to a problem of this nature is here.

Skills-based immigration – C

Lots of the work visas approved in the last five years were for occupations starting with C.   There were quite a few carpenters, as one might expect, but when three of the top four categories are chef, cook, and café and restaurant manager it doesn’t have the ring of a strategy well implemented to enhance productivity and the earnings prospects of New Zealanders.  I was also struck by the number of commercial cleaners, commercial housekeepers, and community workers.  And I mentioned the 250 or so checkout operators yesterday.

A skills-based economic lever to lift productivity and living standards for New Zealanders?  Really…….

work visas c