New Zealand First’s immigration policies

I was briefly half-encouraged when I heard that Metiria Turei had been attacking New Zealand First for having “racist” immigration policies.  Mostly it seemed like a further rather depressing attempt to suggest that any serious debate about New Zealand’s unusually large and ambitious immigration policy was illegitimate, all the while trying to look like the Greens were taking the high moral ground, even as their co-leader actually descended into mud-slinging and name-calling herself.   But….there was the hint there that perhaps New Zealand First actually had some distinctive immigration policies.  The last time I’d looked on the NZ First website what was notable mostly was how little material there was on immigration policy, and how few significant policy proposals.

But, no.    When I checked again yesterday, there still wasn’t much there.    From listening to Winston Peters over the years, or even just listening to the reaction to him, you might have supposed New Zealand First had some far-reaching and specific proposals that would change the face of immigration policy in New Zealand.  Instead what you find is this.

New Zealand First is committed to a rigorous and strictly applied immigration policy that serves New Zealand’s interests. Immigration should not be used as a source of cheap labour to undermine New Zealanders’ pay and conditions.

There have been numerous instances of administrative failure to apply immigration rules and standards.

New Zealand First will strengthen Immigration New Zealand to give it the capacity to apply immigration policy effectively.

New Zealand First will:

  • Make sure that Kiwi workers are at the front of the job queue.
  • Ensure that immigration policy is based on New Zealand’s interests and the main focus is on meeting critical skills gaps
  • Ensure family reunion members are strictly controlled and capped and there is fairness across all nationalities.
  • Ensure that there is effective labour market testing to ensure New Zealanders have first call on New Zealand jobs.
  • Introduce a cap on the number of older immigrants because of the impact on health and other services.
  • Make sure effective measures are put in place to stop the exploitation of migrant workers with respect to wages, safety and work conditions.  In Christchurch and elsewhere there is evidence of exploitation of migrant workers.
  • Develop strategies to encourage the regional dispersion of immigration to places other than Auckland. Auckland’s infrastructure is overloaded.
  • Remove the ability to purchase a pre-paid English lesson voucher to bypass the minimum English entry requirements.

And that is it.   I’m guessing that no one (or at least no political party) is going to disagree with anything in the first three mini-paragraphs.    But if no one is going to disagree, those words aren’t saying much either.

What about the specifics?   Everyone is going to sign on for avoiding the exploitation of migrant workers, even if reasonable people might differ on quite where the line would be drawn.  Even the current government took some steps in response to the Christchurch evidence.

The current labour market testing system may, or not, be working well, but on paper there are requirements in place that are supposed to prioritise potential New Zealand workers (three of the eight NZF bullet points).  Again, no one much  –  perhaps not even ACT or the New Zealand Initiative –  is going to disagree with the general goal, and nothing New Zealand First says here is very specific.  It all seems pretty mainstream stuff –  probably putting too much faith in the capabilities of MBIE for my own tastes.

New Zealand First wants to cap family union entry, and also cap the number of older people getting residence visas.  But again, how different is that to current policy, where applications for parent visas are currently suspended altogether?    Perhaps New Zealand First wants to go further in that direction than most, but it hardly has the ring of something very dramatically different.

And in calling for a larger proportion of migrants to be encouraged to places other than Auckland, NZ First seems quite consistent with the government’s policy of offering additional points for people with job offers in the regions.  And Labour want to allow regions to develop their own priority occupation lists.  Personally, I think all three are daft, and simply tend to lower further the average quality of the immigrants we get, but (sadly) there is nothing out of the mainstream in the direction NZ First seems to be proposing.

And that leaves the final bullet about English language requirements.  Without knowing anything much about it, on paper what NZ First is proposing looks reasonable enough (if we are going to have English language requirements, a prepaid voucher for a course one may never bother attending doesn’t look like much of a substitute.    But it is a level of detail that hardly seems likely to divide parties deeply.

And quite what qualifies as “racist” there –  and Turei was explicitly talking about “policies” –  is beyond me.  Except of course that she and her co-leader (the latter in his speech last week) seem determined to insist that no legitimate discussion or debate is possible about New Zealand’s unusually large immigration policy –  unless, of course, they are proposing things, in which case presumably we can all be assured of their virtue and rectitude.

What is more striking is that, for all the speeches and interviews, there is nothing in that New Zealand First list that would make any very material difference to the expected net inflow of non-citizens.   In particular, there is nothing at all about the overall level of residence approvals.  Reading this list, NZ First appears to be comfortable with a residence approvals target of around 45000 per annum (three times, per capita, the US rate of approvals), and it is the number of residence approvals that will, over time, determine the contribution of immigration to population growth, pressure on resources or whatever.     There is also nothing at all on provisions around international students, nothing about working holiday visas, and nothing specific on temporary work visas.

If one took this page of policy seriously, one could vote for NZ First safe in the expectation that nothing very much would change at all about the broad direction, or scale, of our immigration policy.     Of course, there would be precedent for that.  The last times New Zealand First was part of a government, nothing happened about immigration either.

Perhaps there is still some major announcement with some more substantive policy specifics still to come.  I see that the New Zealand First conference is being held this coming weekend.    Perhaps that will be the occasion.   But at present, there is very little there, and most of what there is isn’t a million miles from where the other parties –  including the government –  seem to have been.

26 thoughts on “New Zealand First’s immigration policies

  1. Winston Peters was quoted in early June as saying immigration – I think he means residence approvals – should be limited to between 7500 and 15,000 “seriously qualified” people per year. I believe he said this in a Q&A interview. The Greens have absolutely no credibility on the subject. To cry “racist” is nothing more than an attempt to close down discussion of an important issue by bullying.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Over the last 10 years only 26.8% of residents were principal applicants in the “Business / Skilled” category; the others being Humanitarian 7.8%, Family reunion 11.1% and ‘Uncapped Family’ 23.9% which I assume means husbands and wives of existing citizens & residents. The respective percentages for the 11 months of 2017 data are: 8.5%, 4.9% and 27.4%.

      So NZF’s between 7,500 and 15,000 highly skilled would extrapolate out as between 28,000 and 56,000 based on the last decade or 26,100 and 52,200 based on last year.

      Nobody is suggesting that a NZ citizen cannot bring their partner to NZ so we should expect about 13,000 as we had last year even if we had stopped all refugees, all family reunion and all skilled immigration.

      My own politics do not coincide with NZF although they are the preferred party for some of my ‘visible immigrant’ (Melanesian) family.
      A rational department of immigration not tainted by rorts, exploitation of naive foreigners and not importing low wages is what I will vote for but which party is my best choice?

      Liked by 1 person

      • With tourism and international student now a massive $15 billion industry, expect Chefs, front desk reception, builders, and waiters to be the most highly skilled migrants that are required. That’s where the job vacancies are.


      • Yes, they do. Go have lunch in any of the asian restaurants in the city, they are filled with International students with their expensive Iphones and latest Ipads talking about the next party and discussing the last lecture complaining about their Indian lecturers that they can’t get a grasp of the Inglish(Indian English).



  2. He has never specifically talked about residence approvals. I’ve taken his numbers to mean the PLT inflow, but again there is nothing specific in the policy section of the website, either on what those speech/interview numbers actually are, let alone how he would deliver them (concrete changes to policy).

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The only reason that I can see as to why the Greens want the current immigration numbers to continue, is that they see these people as allowing them to counter the farming vote.
    No one seems to have an actual immigration plan, should we not start with an idea population number & age distribution and then create an immigration policy to achieve that.


    • A cow eats and create wastes equivalent to 20 people. NZ has 10 million cows which mean that cows eat and create wastes equivalent to 200 million people. With NZ population growing at a rate of 2% per annum, thats only a tiny 9,000 additional people to deal with each year. If you reduce cows by only a mere 450 cows a year, that covers the additional 9,000 additional people a year.

      I think the Greens have got it figured out that a few less cows is a heck of a lot less emmissions and a heck of a lot less polluting wastes than 9,000 additional people a year.


      • While agreeing with your point that if you want to reduce carbon emissions lets tackle cows first I cannot agree with your maths. Cows do not drive cars, nor heat houses, nor require vast quantities of concrete for their infra-structure. If Auckland had a stable population then maybe 2% of the infrastructure would be knocked down and rebuilt each year but with say 3% growth you have 5% of the infrastructure being built annually. This must have a major carbon footprint cost. However I can find no statistics to say either how many metric tonnes of CO2e- nor what the current cost of that CO2e- is. Maybe the Green party would review their immigration quotas if they knew.


      • You have also missed the fact that the waste from the cows is relatively pure (small amounts of antibiotics, no synthetic hormones) where as the waste from the Humans is a delightful soup of synthetic hormones, drugs etc of which we have no idea of the effects on Aquatic species (other than it is mostly a negative effect) but that is OK because a great tag line “Dirty Dairy” is far better than dealing with a messy reality. Cows are also a closed loop carbon source (they eat grass which gets its carbon from the air) while humans use large amounts of open loop carbon (Oil & Coal etc)

        Liked by 1 person

      • 1. The bulk of cow “waste” is manure and urine (nitrogen fertiliser) both of which are recycled

        2. Human waste contains pathogens and heavy metals

        3. According to EPA the volume of manure from a dairy cow is equivalent to 164 humans compared to GGS propaganda


      • Bob, the Greens have worked out that with improving technology. Cars are getting greener and with electrification and solar power advances, car emmissions will be dropping dramatically in the next few years. House heating as well is largely supplied by Hydro and in future increasingly solar.


  4. Why are you venturing into politics?

    Why were you “half-encouraged when Metiria Turie attacked NZ First for having “racist” immigration policies – a typical Pauline Hansen smear

    In the interests of balance one supposes you will craft an analysis of Nationals immigration policy which amounts to a Spartan X Let the fittest survive


    • Well I for one am pleased that political party immigration policy is up for discussion – it is an important issue and we do have an election coming up.
      My inclination is to the Greens on environmental grounds but some of their recent statements leave me wondering if they are fully in touch with reality.
      This “racist under every wood pile” nonsense is typical. The head guy was saying the other day that they wouldn’t like to put in place measures to encourage lower population growth as that would be racist. You couldn’t make it up; they are fully confused over religious/cultural preferances and race.
      The recent debacle over their immigration policy (any reduction in numbers would be xenophobic by default apparently) and stubborn insistence that increasing population would not pose an issue for our environment or emissions leaves me convinced they are confused and fully captured by a lib/left agenda with little basis in reality.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Since the Treaty of Waitangi is a bi party agreement between Maori and White British migrants. Therefore the Treaty of Waitangi is actually a racist document that gives the exclusive rights to rule and govern to only 2 parties. Since Maori represents only 15% of the population and White British migrants more than 70% of the population, It does make sense from a Maori perspective is to increase and encourage non white British migration and to dilute white British population percentages.

    It is actually quite fascinating how MMP with the guarantee of 7 Maori seats have swung majority power in favour of a 15% minority to eventually govern NZ forcing all political parties to have a Maori in the upper rankings of their respective Party Lists in order to try and win the 7 Maori seats virtually guaranteeing that we would have Maori in any makeup of any government. Paula Bennet does not get enough recognition as the very first Maori woman in NZ history that has made it to No 2 in cabinet.

    Now it is a race as to who will become the first Maori Prime Minister of NZ, afterall our British Governor General is now also Maori.


    • The TOW is between Maori (as indigenous inhabitants) and the British Crown (which included/s all British subjects regardless of race). Any new migrant who takes NZ citizenship swears allegiance to the crown and hence is party to the TOW. Nothing to do with race or skin colour.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The TOW by itself carries very little weight but combined with 7 guaranteed Maori seats under a MMP type election, then the racist bias moves towards a minority group. Throw in Te Reo and TOW compulsory taught in schools and basically you have future generations brainwashed into Maori being the ruling class.

        Liked by 1 person

    • I am always surprised by how many white New Zealanders vote for NZFirst which looks like a pretend to be white Maori party. I would have thought that David Seymore with ACT and Peter Dunne with United Party as pretty much white parties would be more popular than the 1% of party votes that they seem to garner compared to NZFirst of 11%.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t normally read and have made it a policy to not respond to your deranged trolling but this latest turd can’t go unanswered.
        I am NZ (of European and Maori heritage) and find your divisive comments revolting. I don’t think you know us Kiwis at all, you’re just making stuff up. We don’t generally consider race as a big issue – we’ve lived together too long. NZ First are opposed to the separate Maori seats and Maori privilege generally, what on earth gave you the idea they were a “pretend White Maori part’y – whatever the hell that is.
        Dave has responded to your garbled nonsensical assessment of the Treaty of Waitangi but be assured Maori are under no illusions as to the corrosive effect high levels of immigration have on their status and prospects in New Zealand. We are not (a few nutters aside) in favour of high levels of immigration from any source. There is no requirement to have Maori in Cabinet or high on the list, the Maori seats have traditionally gone to Labour or the Maori Party, National hardly even bothers with them. More utter nonsense.

        Liked by 2 people

      • National has been very bothered. Look at the amount of pandering that National has to the Maori Party. Firstly the removal of Helen Clarkes Foreshore and Seabed Act, the very foundation of the formation of the Maori Party.

        Also the Maori Party has now appointed an Asian within its ranks.

        “Wetex Kang has today become the Maori Party’s first ever Asian candidate. He’s Malaysian-Chinese, speaks three different Chinese dialects and understands Malay. Kang actually wrote the immigration policy for the Maori Party”

        Sure feels like and looks like a power grabbing strategy in the works.


    • The quotation of population dispersion from National Demographics is selective 70% European and 15% Maori

      The dispersion in the Auckland region is different – European 55%, Asian 21%, Pacifica 13%, Maori 10%. The composition of the Puketepapa electorate of which you are familiar the distribution is Asian 44%, Euro 38%, Maori 5%. You are the majority

      See here

      The TOW has been available in the public domain for many years – we hope you read and understood it before you came to New Zealand – if you understood it then, and accepted it then, why rail against it now

      Liked by 1 person

      • My concern is the majority rule should prevail in a democracy. Our current election system is race biased towards a minority group with a guarantee of 7 Maori seats and the majority is 70% European but because of MMP that 7 seats gives a minority party too much power over a majority. I am appalled that Te Reo is to be compulsory in schools when only 15% of the population actually speaks it. Anyway I signed up to First Past the Post type of government where the majority rules rather than MMP with 7 guaranteed Maori seats.

        I do not have a problem with the TOW as a founding document, but I do recognise it is 2 party document between Maori as British subjects and the British crown and really should be relegated to the history books as the once great British Empire has been. It is certainly not a NZ independence document.


      • In the interests of accuracy there have been dedicated Maori seats ever since 1867

        Māori Representation
        Four Māori seats were established by the 1867 New Zealand Parliament to give Māori a direct say in Parliament

        The difference is under FPP the elected party always had a substantial margin of seats in basically a 2 party system + Maori and because that margin always exceeded 4, the Maori seats never had a balance of power

        Now under MMP the 2 Main Parties are unable 2 rule effectively in their own right which gives power to the smaller parties, including the dedicated Maori seats. The power of the dedicated Maori seats only arises because of the reluctance of the electorates to give the 2 main franchises an outright majority

        Liked by 1 person

    • GetGreatStuff: you sound just like Prof Paul Spoonley who I heard at a lecture last week: everyone is either a ‘this’ or a ‘that’ as if racial intermarriage was illegal. In Britain the second largest ethnic group is now ‘mixed ethnicity’. If our rush towards a multi-cultural NZ slows down you will find all manner of PI / Asian / Pakeha / Maori relationships.
      Prof Paul Spoonley seemed enthusiastic that Northcote is now an ethnic neighbourhood where Chinese immigrants could life their lives speaking only Mandarin in shops, dentists, medical centres and at accounting and legal firms. I suspect he lacks knowledge of Northcote – the businesses are not all one flavour of China but contains some Korean, Vietnamese, Thai and Indian restaurants and the local streets are heavily various flavours of PI.

      See Ranginui Walker’s eloquent article and its conclusion “” The government has defaulted on its obligation under the Treaty of Waitangi to consult widely with Maori people on its immigration scheme. In the eyes of Maori leaders, the government is vulnerable once again to an embarrassing claim before the Waitangi Tribunal. “”

      Was the race to be first Maori Prime Minister won over a century ago – from wikipedia “”James Carroll known to Māori as Timi Kara, was a New Zealand politician of Irish and Ngāti Kahungunu (Māori) descent – He was held in high regard within the Liberal Party and was acting prime minister in 1909 and 1911.””

      Liked by 1 person

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