Some public opinion on immigration

Over the course of the last week, I’ve noticed a couple of interesting polls on attitudes to (some aspects of) immigration.

First was a note by Katharine Betts, for The Australian Population Research Institute, drawing on data from the 2016 Australian Election Survey.   Two of the questions asked were

A1: ‘Do you think the number of immigrants allowed into Australia nowadays should be reduced or increased?’

A2:  ‘The number of migrants allowed into Australia at the present time has: gone much too far, too far, is about right, not gone far enough, not gone nearly far enough’

And one of the very interesting aspects of the survey is that election candidates were asked the same questions as general (voter) respondents.

Recall, too, that the target level of non-citizen immigration to Australia was increased a lot about a decade ago, and is now similar to –  just a little less than – New Zealand, in per capita terms.

Here is a chart of the summary responses to that second question.

betts a2

Among all voters, more think things have gone too far than think there hasn’t been enough migration.  On the other hand, a majority favour either keeping things at the current high level or increasing immigration further  (the results are similar for the first question, the wording of which is more explicitly flow-based).

But what is most striking is the contrast in views between voters and candidates.   60 per cent of candidates favoured further increasing Australia’s rate of immigration while only 6 per cent favoured a reduction (a net 54 per cent favouring an increase).   By party, that result is massively dominated by Labor and Greens candidates, with Coalition candidates more evenly divided.    By contrast, among voters a net 17 per cent favoured a reduction, and among non-graduates a net 32 per cent favoured a reduction.

It will be interesting to see the results of any immigration questions in the New Zealand 2017 Election Survey, including the results by party.  In last year’s election, two of our now governing parties campaigned on policies intended to have the effect of reducing immigration (one half-heartedly, and one not very specifically).

The other poll results were from the UK-based CANZUK International, which has been calling for free movement between Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the UK.  In New Zealand, some pro-immigration advocates –  including ACT’s David Seymour – have been championing the cause (and I noticed these results thanks to Eric Crampton of the New Zealand Initiative).

This was the question posed in New Zealand (country names re-organised according to which country is being polled)

“At present,citizens of the European Union have the right to live and work freely in other European Union countries. Would you support or oppose similar rights for New Zealand citizens to live and work in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom, with citizens of  Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom granted reciprocal rights to live and work in New Zealand?”

And this is their summary graphic.


Pretty overwhelming support in all four countries (at least as the question is worded).  Interestingly, support is strongest in New Zealand –  perhaps because New Zealanders have been the biggest beneficiaries in recent decades of freedom to go to another of these countries (Australia)?

I’ve never been quite sure what to make of the CANZUK cause. I read a lot of imperial/Commonwealth history, and ideas like this sort of free movement area among the old ‘white Dominions’ are strikingly reminiscent of calls for an imperial federation or, much later, for imperial trade preferences (which became a big thing as the UK moved away from free trade itself).  I could be a little provocative and suggest that is wasn’t entirely dissimilar to the sort of immigration policies New Zealand and Australia ran until a few decades ago, that could be  –  not entirely inaccurately –  characterised as “white Australia” or “white New Zealand” policies.  In that sense, I’ve always been a bit puzzled by Eric Crampton’s enthusiasm for this particular formulation, when he is so ready to characterise sceptics or opponents of New Zealand’s current immigration policy as “xenophobes”.   The logic of his position looks as though it should favour open borders more generally, not just among these four advanced, fairly culturally similar, countries.  And yet, for example, even as an example of Commonwealth sentiment, not even South Africa –  let alone Zimbabwe, Kenya or Namibia – appears in the CANZUK proposal.

Of course, there is a pretty straightforward answer.   Almost invariably, public opinion in almost any country is going to be more open to large scale (or at least unrestricted) migration when it involves culturally similar countries than when it involves culturally dissimilar ones. In fact, there are good arguments that, if there are gains from immigration they could be greatest from people with similar backgrounds (and of course counter-arguments to that).  Reframe the question as “would you support reciprocal work and residence rights among New Zealand, France, Belgium and Italy?”, and I suspect the support found in the CANZUK poll would drop pretty substantially –  my pick would be something no higher than 50 per cent.  Reframe it again to this time include Costa Rica, Iran, and Ecuador (let alone Bangladesh, India, and China –  three very large, quite poor, countries) and people will start looking at you oddly, and the numbers will drop rapidly towards the total ACT Party vote (less than 1 per cent from memory).

And thus my own ambivalence about the CANZUK proposition.  If I were a Canadian (of otherwise similar Anglo background to my own) I’d say yes.  The historical and sentimental ties across these four countries –  less so Canada –  mean something to me.  I’d probably even add the US into the mix.  And across Australia, Canada, and the UK incomes and productivity levels are pretty similar –  although the prediction would still presumably be that there would be an increased net flow of people from the UK to Australia (in particular) and Canada.  As it is, I’ve repeatedly noted that my economics of immigration argument doesn’t distinguish between whether the migrants come from Birmingham, Brisbane, Bangalore, Buenos Aires, or Beijing.   We’ve made life tougher (poorer, less productive) for ourselves by the repeated waves of migrants since World War Two –  in the early decades, predominantly from the UK, and in the last quarter century more evenly spread.  Even though we are now materially poorer than the UK, enough people from the UK still regard New Zealand as attractive, that free movement – the CANZUK proposition –  would probably see a big increase in the number of Brits moving here (big by our standards, not theirs).  That might be good for them –  that’s up to them –  but wouldn’t be good for us.  Perhaps the effect would be outweighed by more New Zealanders moving to the UK long-term, but I’d be surprised if that were so.

The CANZUK proposition is an interesting one, and is worth further debate.  Apart from anything else, it might tease out what people think about nationhood, identity, and some of the non-economic factors around immigration (including some of those Wilson and Fry suggest).  As I noted, at present public opinion appears to be strongly in favour, but on the specific question asked in isolation.  It would be interesting to know, if at all, how responses would change if the option was free CANZUK movement on top of existing immigration policy, or (to the extent of the new CANZUK net flow) in partial substitution for existing immigration policy.   The two might have quite different economic and social implications.

Finally, on immigration-related issues, I recorded an interview yesterday with Wallace Chapman for broadcast on tomorrow’s Sunday Morning programme on Radio New Zealand.  It was prompted by a lecture I’m giving this week for Presbyterian Support Northern in their series on different angles on responding to (child) poverty –  mine being a focus on productivity.  My focus in the lecture isn’t on specific solutions, but rather on the need to make lifting productivity a top national economic priority, since in the longer-term productivity is the only secure foundation for much higher material living standards.  I’ll put up the text of my lecture here later next week, but the interviewer was more interested in possible specific solutions and thus quite a bit of our discussion was around immigration policy issues.   Not thinking very fast on my feet that day, I forgot to respond to his suggestion that higher minimum wages might be part of the productivity answer by noting that we already have one of the highest ratios of minimum wages to median wages anywhere…….and one of the worst productivity records over many decades.  Whatever the case for some mimimum wage, raising it is not part of the overall answer to fixing our productivity failures.



38 thoughts on “Some public opinion on immigration

  1. When it comes to “compatible culture” on the part of immigrants, some of the best ones are those coming FROM a country with an incompatible culture, who KNOW it, and want to get out of it, and want to share in OUR culture, and understand the implications of culture better than we do ourselves.

    There is a term used by many Asians, of themselves, and proudly: “Banana”. Yellow on the outside, white on the inside. It is unfortunate that this has a “racial” overtone but they are actually talking about culture. They want our culture. There have even been “Banana” conferences where like minded Asians get together.

    Martin Luther King had the right idea: he talked about “the bank of western civilisation’s cultural values” at which minorities “wished to cash their own cheques”. The modern era has become marked by identity-group politics initiated from neo-Marxist philosophical circles but now dominant in the institutions of western civilisation, where “other” cultures of all kinds are expected to co-exist in their own silos in western cities and be pandered to by the government and polite society; and worse, people of certain races are expected to “connect with their ancestors cultural heritage” and likewise be pandered to.

    Western civilisation might be mostly “white people” but they willingly abandoned their own ancestors cultural heritages in the adoption of a universal cultural project called “the enlightenment”. If anything, the real horrific racism extant today is in expecting people of colour to not move onwards and upwards in the same way.

    Asian common sense is also illustrated by a pejorative slang term that has come into existence among them that loosely translates as: “the white left”. This term is used as an insult – telling someone they are behaving like “the white left” means that they are completely off their rocker.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think we are as compatible as you say. It reminds me of a science fiction novel I once read where someone grew up on a planet with 6 times the gravity of Earth (or similar). Naturally he was very strong when he got here.
      The Chinese sounding names who were buying way above their numbers in real estate is a case in point. You might want a nation of Rich mastery types but that wasn’t the NZ I grew up in.
      Likewise the Samoan’s might be a bit slack, but that’s o.k it’s their country; it doesn’t justify the Chinese taking over the place.


      • House prices are always a fault of local policy. The US cities pointed out by Demographia that have never lost their median-multiple-3 affordability are not that way because there are no hardworking Asians and other immigrants moving there. Quite the contrary; significant numbers of smart Asians choose those cities BECAUSE the housing dollar goes so much further.

        But I would agree with you somewhat on the basis that cramming multiple generations of occupants and paying too much for space is something that Asians are used to in their own culture; and the ones who choose to go to Houston, Dallas, Nashville, Indianapolis etc rather than Sydney. Auckland, Vancouver and Los Angeles, are probably the ones who MOST epitomise what I am saying. They want in not only to “western” culture, they want in to the spacious housing at a fair-go price.

        There is no excuse for not offering the same in NZ. This is an entirely self-inflicted phenomenon.

        Guess who said the following in 2007:

        “…Over the past few years a consensus has developed in New Zealand. We are facing a severe home affordability and ownership crisis. The crisis has reached dangerous levels in recent years and looks set to get worse.

        This is an issue that should concern all New Zealanders. It threatens a fundamental part of our culture, it threatens our communities and, ultimately, it threatens our economy.

        The good news is that we can turn the situation around. We can deal with the fundamental issues driving the home affordability crisis. Not just with rinky-dink schemes, but with sound long-term solutions to an issue that has long-term implications for New Zealand’s economy and society.

        National has a plan for doing this and we will be resolute in our commitment to the goal of ensuring more young Kiwis can aspire to buy their own home…”

        Slippery …….. (word deleted – MHR) that guy was!

        Liked by 1 person

      • One of the Chinese sounding names was David Wong Tung. Only thing is he is not chinese but Samoan and has the looks and personality of a Samoan. Or my mate John Lee. He is British. Comes with that fantastic Brit accent and white as a sheet.


      • 70% of NZ population is still white Pakeha. Not too sure why you would feel threatened by a minority of 15% asian. Don’t forget Asians are a diverse group, there is such a thing as koreans, vietnamese, Malaysians, Singaporeans, Indonesians, Thai etc etc. Chinese are perhaps only 5% of that 15%.


      • Misinformation …..

        According to an interview with Judith Collins ……
        David Wong Tung, is of Samoan-Chinese heritage

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sure if you go back far enough you would probably find an African ancestry in your own parentage.


    • An interesting hypothesis of racism here from an evolutionary psychology perspective. We automatically categourise people by race; sex and age (we can’t help it) Race signals coalition membership (or otherwise). Once we learn someone of another race is a coalition member that replaces the initial reaction. The problem is how in times of mass migration (where “diversity” is encouraged) do you convince people that these people are coalition members and not competitors. Present policies are based on suppression of natural tendencies.
      Also if your not on $200,000 like Devoy and Spoonley you are an ant when it comes to home affordability. Then there are other costs such as loosing your status as a New Zealander as the definition is widened. Humans are obsessed with status (evolutionary psychologists say): put a guy in a Porsche and his testosterone rises.
      I’m picking Susan Devoy has no clue about things like that.


      • Porsche? Thats a girls car. NZ guys are more into the practical grunt and horsepower of a Mustang. Recently I have seen the Tesla perform very well against the other grunt cars. Impressive start and finish time. Guys are into cars because women are into guys with grunt cars.


  2. Further to what I just said, that people of colour who respect and want our culture make some of the best immigrants; the corollary is that Anglos (or Europeans of any kind) who are identity-politics lefties, are often terrible immigrants, akin to Trojan horses against us. I won’t mention any names, but….


  3. The recent Ipsos Issues Monitor (NZ Herald 5 May p A9) gave some figures on Kiwi’s biggest worries.
    Interestingly Immigration is only 14% (note no breakdown for Auckland only!)

    However some other bigger worries which have had a major influence from unfettered immigration are:
    Housing 41%
    Poverty/inequality 29%
    Healthcare 27%
    Crime 24%
    Cost of living 22%
    Education 14%

    One problem is that simplistic surveys do not trouble the brain of Joe Public in why a problem exists or Immigration may just score near the top, again particularly in Auckland.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Recently a computer phoned and claiming it was relevant to my Northcote electorate asked me a series of political questions very similar to the ones you list; immigration was not mentioned. The difficulty is in how questions are phrased. It is easy to list issues and ask ‘which is most important to you?’ but harder to ask a nuanced question and even harder to analyse nuanced replies.
      Once I received a phone call from a human asking me what were the political issues I was most interested in; replying ‘immigration’ I was immediately concerned that I would be misunderstood and recorded as neanderthal racist. Then my attempt to explain it was an issue of numbers, economics, mix of cultures and integration, the problem that multi-culturalism is itself a cultural option imposed by a dominant culture, etc while throwing in my own family’s ethnic mix to justify my assertion will have left the researcher with no option but to record me as ‘confused voter’.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Immigration policy should have come with a right of review for citizens for at least 3 elections, As noted there are differences in poll responses between migrants and those with deeper roots. instead the government leave it up to interested parties like Asia NZ Foundation. It isn’t racist to want to keep Asia and New Zealand discreet although elites claim it is. Polls can be manipulated by order of questioning and who is to say the employees aren’t themselves interested in the results?

      Percentage of New Zealanders who say each
      of the factors below will have a positive impact
      on New Zealand in the next 10 to 20 years.
      from Asia to
      New Zealand 48%

      Click to access Perceptions-of-Asia-2015-Report.pdf

      see page 8

      Meanwhile house prices go through the roof and “immigration is shaping as an election issue”

      Percentage of New Zealanders who say each factor will have a positive impact on New Zealand in the next 10 to 20 years
      from Asia to
      New Zealand 51%

      Click to access nz_poa_asian_people.pdf

      They are over that magic 50%


  4. “support is strongest in NZ – Perhaps because NZ’ers have been the biggest beneficiaries in recent decades of the freedom to go to Australia?”

    The strength of support in NZ is not surprising considering NZ has one characteristic that UK and CA and AU don’t possess and that is the back door into Australia – the survey would need to demonstrate it excluded all those jumpers of convenience – including their near associates

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The idea that there should be free movement between Canada, UK Australia and NZ was close to what we had in the past. We fit in because they are also Anglosphere countries and so there is no need for any sort of training to counter ethnocentrism. But also they are all on the same street as per living standards and we couldn’t just walk in to an Asian Country.

    I was reading A Land of Milk and Honey?: Making Sense of Aotearoa New Zealand
    The first chapter is by Paul Spoonley who begins:

    As a settler society, New Zealand has been characterised by a particular nation-building project that reflected two things: the fact that the primary colonial agent and arrivals came from the United Kingdom and Ireland; and the desire to create a ‘Britain of the South Seas’ (Belich 1996). At the core of this was a racial project to ensure that the peopling of the country was largely (and almost exclusively) confined to a particular group of arrivals, with an explicit political and populist framework designed to exclude racialised others, and specifically settlers from Asia.’ The other key racial ‘othering’ involved Maori and the marginalistion or replacement of their key cultural identities and practices. This racialised, nation-building project did not change its core elements from the early 1800s through to the 1960’s(for more on Pakeha identities, see Matthewman in this volume; for a different take on the nation-building project, see Bell in this volume).

    This explains the current thinking that (I think) is a free pass for “some of the biggest business minds” (Corin Dann to John Key at National Party conference) and a cost to New Zealanders whose well-being and identity are under attack.


  6. Attitudes towards immigrants
    Both studies found that New Zealanders’ attitudes towards migrants and ethnic diversity were largely positive. Most survey respondents in the Gendall et al (2007) study agreed that immigrants make New Zealanders more open to new ideas and cultures. Ward and Masgoret (2008) found strong endorsement of multiculturalism with 89percent of respondents agreeing that a society made up of people from different races, religions, and cultures is a good thing. This rating was found to be significantly higher than that in any of the other countries included in the international comparison (see Figure 9).

    But then you find a whole lot of qualifiers. After all it makes a massive difference what proportions of race , religions and cultures they are referring to. It didn’t stop Nigel Latta quoting that; “New Zealanders tell us” -(yeah right)!

    Both studies asked respondents about the level of immigration to New Zealand. In Gendall et al (2007), 42percent thought the number of immigrants coming to New Zealand should remain the same or increase. Around half of those in Ward and Masgoret (2008) thought the number of immigrants was about right. However, both studies showed that perceptions of some immigrant groups were more favourable than others. Immigrants from countries with Anglo-Celtic backgrounds (such as Great Britain) or where English was the predominant language (such as South Africa) were viewed more favourably than immigrants from non-English-speaking countries.


  7. Some of the most valuable discussion on immigration is taking place on the Credlin and Bolt programmes on Skynews.
    Last week during a discussion on the budget , the “Australian ‘ journalist Judith Sloane was a guest and was excellent to listen to around the impact of immigration in Australia.
    They have the same problems as NZ but we have no quality lournalists to dig in to the issues.
    What makes New Zealand great is its small size. The current immigration policy foist upon us in the name of GDP is actually ruining the country. along with creating a multitude of problems that tax and rate paying New Zealanders are being expected to pick up the tab for.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Judith Sloan is much more than a journalist – highly respected – very much a go-to person for balanced opinion

      “Judith Sloan is an Australian economist. She has been teaching as a university professor at Flinders University and the Curtin Institute of Technology and is an honorary ….”

      Andrew Bolt is Australia’s version of Mike Hosking


    • Peta Credlin – was Tony Abbotts gun-dog and sometimes attack-dog

      Peta-Louise Mary Credlin is an Australian political adviser who served as chief of staff to Prime Minister Tony Abbott from September 2013 to September 2015, and previously as chief of staff to Abbott as Leader of the Opposition. She is married to Brian Loughnane who was the Federal Director of the Liberal Party of Australia


    • Just to add that Judith Sloan was also a commissioner at the Australian Productivity Commission, and also spent some time on the NZ govt’s own 2025 Taskforce (where she contributed to the very moderate tone around immigration of the Taskforce’s report).


  8. Your lead link – What an excellent article by Katherine Betts – worth the time and effort to read – it’s balanced and direct. A perfect example of the work that isn’t coming out of NZ academia

    couple of snippets
    quote: “Immigration and public opinion: how voters’ concerns about high migration are sidelined and suppressed. On the immigration question politicians live in an attitudinal world remote from the average voter. Bipartisanship means that the costs of population growth are not debated in Parliament and that neither government nor opposition has any political motive to produce an explicit population policy” endquote

    The migrated section of society is now so big it is political suicide to offend it regardless of the colour of the political party


    • The politicization of immigration in New Zealand has contributed to a growing public ambivalence about immigration and its contribution to the development of New Zealand’s society and economy. Briefing papers prepared for the recently re-elected Labor government signal a number of concerns about current levels of immigration in general and the impact of immigration on Auckland’s society and economy in particular. Minister of Immigration Lianne Dalziel has indicated that several aspects of the current policy, in addition to the level of English required by prospective residents, will be reviewed over the next few months.

      Notwithstanding this ambivalence, there seems to be clear recognition and acceptance that New Zealand society is going to become more diverse in terms of ethnic and cultural groups over the next 20 years. Immigration will play a major part in this diversification of communities, especially immigration from countries in Asia. Fortunately, there seems to be a broad consensus among the main political parties as well as many of the minor ones that this is not something to be feared or resisted at all costs. In this regard, there appears to be some consensus of party view (excluding the position adopted by New Zealand First) that continued immigration at or above present levels will produce positive outcomes for the country’s economy and society.
      New Zealand: The Politicization of Immigration

      January 1, 2003

      By Richard Bedford

      Greg Clydesdale – Kim Hill (no rematch scheduled)
      Peter Brown Paul Spoonley/Marcus Lush/ Keith Ng
      Nigel Latta – The Hard Stuff
      Noelle McCarthy – A Slice of Heaven

      John Carran 1996 GMI economist
      Of course there is more to life than attaining economic excellence. The social and environmental impact of immigration also needs to be considered. But here the reasons given for restricting immigration range from pathetic to extremely dodgy. Most of the accusations are barely disguised racist piffle backed by tenuous rumours and cloudy anecdotes. Winston Peters’ stirring of the masses has exposed the ignorance and racial biases of a small and distasteful section of New Zealand society. These people yearn for a cloistered, inhibited, white (with a bit of brown at the edges) dominated utopia fondly envisaged by racists and xenophobes everywhere.


    • That was NZ Firsts niche but they failed miserably to organise at a grass roots level. I joined but the only correspondence was an email from Winston once a week (or something). To have a say you had to pay but no encouragement to do so. There was no reaching out, The Greens (on the other hand) had a forum, brances and meetings. The impression I got was that a group saw themselves as a shoe in and wanted resources and support but not interference. At the end of the day the fishing industry won.


  9. Some good comments. My two cents.

    You’d think at the very least, that the government would keep a more careful eye on the infrastructure to population ratio. It is much harder to add new houses or motorways than it is for people to move here on an aeroplane. Sure there is an argument that it’s easier to raise money via new taxes or whatever when infrastructure problems have got to crisis level but surely it’s better to plan these things ahead and then carefully manage population numbers?

    Politicians like immigration because it means economic growth and, at the minute, loose monetary policy globally is providing plenty of work but what about when that ends and what about when robots start taking jobs en masse?

    Sure there will be a new wave of innovation that will provide work but that innovation will, primarily, be coming out of China and the USA so shouldn’t we be focusing on opening up immigration there? American billionaires seem to like our landscape! 😉

    On productivity, we need better numbers than a crude revenue divided by number of workers. We know that the rising class of super-managers are taking an increasing share of the overall income so if wage levels are coming under the spotlight then productivity should be based on a median income revenue measure or something similar.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Great interview “lot’s of feedback”

    Hard to take NZ Initiative seriously?

    CORIN You don’t want immigration to fall, though, do you? I just want to say something. I saw you in a speech after the Budget, and you were speaking to a big room of businesspeople – some of the biggest business minds in the country – and you stood up and you said, “Don’t worry about Treasury’s figure or estimation that it will go back to the trend of 12,000.” You were confident it was going to be a lot higher than that.

    JOHN I just think it’s unlikely it will go to 12,000.

    CORIN But it was like you wanted immigration to go up, because you were telling them, “Don’t worry. The demand in the economy is going to stay there. That’s what’s keeping New Zealand afloat.”


    • How many children should we have for the country?
      Spoonley makes a rare good point in the follow interview pointing out that as many people are visiting as those who live here. He says we shouldn’t look to Japan as an example of how to deal with demographic decline: they have 43(?) cities in decline and are short of 600,000 IT workers “and they don’t do migration” A problem that will take care of itself surely? He has stated on numerous occasions the myth that immigration is a fix for an ageing population.

      Suzy cut in on Spoonley prior to that saying you can have a smaller economy (meaning less workers). Suzi isn’t an expert on agglomeration but Spoonley cuts in. He says Michael is “slightly wrong” on the benefits of immigration. There’s an economist called Mare who has done ……. Spoonley says the gains aren’t all economic some are social. He is described as a “social cohesion expert”. While it is contested territory Putnam found an inverse relationship between diversity and social cohesion. Local Government NZ say moving from a neighbourhood of high to low social cohesion is as bad on the health as taking up smoking.
      Is it a gain for productivity: “absolutely” says Spoonley.
      Spoonly applauded NZIER report advocated 15 million.

      Suzi says” We are going to have to move people around the world” With the consent of the citizens or on past form, I wonder? That’s the wish of a global elite (the equivalent of send them to Invercargill – nobody lives there)


      • The podcast gets around to immigration pretty quick

        Spoonley says
        The working population in our prime working groups will shrink due to declining fertility and have to be supplemented by immigration

        Suzi Kerr spends most of her talk time trying to save the planet rather than NZ

        Twenty Five minutes of verbiage really talking about the fertility consequences of society and the required infill from migrants

        Not one mention of the probability that the loose controls over drug-money-laundering into property and the uncontrolled flood of dirty-money into property created an inability on the local citizenry to form households in the usual manner, household formation being postponed into their 30’s or longer resulting in a reduction in natural population increase

        It’s another symptom of the destruction caused by uncontrolled immigration

        And 3 times Spoonley spouts the economic and social benefits of immigration without being asked to back it up. Kerr was a disappointment


    • Annoyingly Wallace read no feedback at all from Michaels interview although in the interview he says “we’re getting heaps of feedback”. The feedback was hogged by how many children we should have.


  11. […] Michael Reddell, economist and author of the Croaking Cassandra blog, speaks to Wallace Chapman on why if poverty issues are to be solved productivity needs to be addressed. Excellent segment, Reddell makes an excellent case. Chapman seemed out of his depth. In fact Chapman seemed more interested in immigration impact, as Mr Reddell noted in this relevant post. […]


  12. I don’t support some fortress version of CANZUK that would close the borders to immigration from other places while implementing free mobility within CANZUK. I rather support adding a CANZUK free mobility area to the immigration regimes in each place so that people from all over can become Canadian, Kiwi, Australian and Brits, and have free mobility within the region on joining those countries. Not sure what the puzzle is here. Opposing CANZUK would be like opposing the China free-trade deal on grounds that it isn’t a global free-trade deal.


    • The puzzle is that “the people” own the nation’s assets, not it’s politicians. If the people want a sharing arrangement it will be like for like. Australia has cooled off to kiwis (other than the top IQ percentiles) because it’s business lobby has been “looking to Asia” for migrants and students for the education industry.


    • Of course, many economists are pretty wary of preferential trade agreements, highlighting for example trade diversion effects (the Aus Prod Comm has been strong on this point). But those arguments aren’t relevant here.

      I guess what leaves me a little cynical here – and perhaps I’m wrong – is that if some other political party were to pop up calling for people from Anglo countries to be targeted as a larger share of our immigration intake, you’d be among the first to attack such a party as “xenophobic”, wrong, not bringing real diversity etc etc. But that is the effect of the CANZUK proposal if adopted – especially as, in practice, it wouldn’t end up simply being on top of current policy targets, but would be at least partly in substitution. Seymour would probably be the same. I’d take his position – as a politician – more seriously if I ever once heard him say ‘CANZUK is an idea, but it is a pretty olde worlde one; we really should be including South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Namibia (as just a start)’. Of course, we know what would happen to public support for such a position.


      • I know the trade distortion arguments. I also think that a national stance of “We want free trade agreements with everyone and we’ll even drop most of our own tariffs to zero. If you want a free trade deal like the one we have with China, just ask and we’ll do it” – that’s defensible. First best is no tariff barriers at all. Signalling commitment to having free trade with anybody willing to make a deal – any country experiencing any substantial trade distortion costs from our having a preferential trade agreement elsewhere can solve the problem by having its own free trade deal with us.

        I’ve been supportive of CANZUK as an addition to current immigration policy.

        As a partial trade-off for current policy, it would have to depend on how big the trade-off was. CANZUK would allow greater mobility for 130 million people across four countries. If that came at a cost of cutting off all migration to NZ from non-CANZUK countries, that would feel like a rather big cost – and especially if that cutting-off were reciprocated by other countries. But if a small reduction in non-CANZUK PR numbers meant free movement across those four countries – that still seems worth it.


      • And, of course, a key unknown – re the idea of a tradeoff – is what difference CANZUK would make to net flows across the various borders. My hunch is that the biggest new net flow would be UK to Australia, but relative to the host population that might still be smaller proportionately than the UK to NZ flow. Not sure about the attractions of Canada, between the cold winters, and a drift down the international productivity league tables.


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