3 May 2021

Faafoi on NZ's future immigration policy

From Checkpoint, 6:08 pm on 3 May 2021

The government has launched an investigation asking the Productivity Commission to dig deeper into what immigration policy settings would best help New Zealand's economic growth. 

That includes looking at the effect immigration levels have on the cost of housing, wages, pressure on infrastructure and the natural environment.

Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi told Checkpoint there were several pressure points for immigration skills and training.

"Covid has presented us with a rare opportunity to have a look at those settings for the long term ... whether or not we've got the balance right ... how immigration affects productivity, wellbeing, housing, infrastructure etc."

He said the government already had an idea of what the issues were, but it was for the Productivity Commission to produce a body of evidence and make recommendations looking at productivity and population growth.

"In a year's time as we continue to deal with some of the short-term effects of the border being closed but skills ... needed in New Zealand, the Productivity Commission can come back to us and give us some recommendations as to what we can do long term."

The recommendations would also include the volume of people entering the country.

"We want to make sure that we're doing the best job in terms of the efficiency of immigration.

"What we anticipate is wanting to make sure those sectors that have traditionally relied on migrant labour in the past have a good look at themselves as to what they're doing in terms of skills and training to make sure New Zealanders can have those opportunities but again I will support sectors through that."

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Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

He said sectors needed to prove what they were doing in terms of training, wages and conditions, to attract New Zealanders into those roles. 

Faafoi said while the aged care sector heavily relied on migrant labour and there would be more talks with that industry, the fruit picking sectors' issues could be dealt with through the Recognised Seasonal Employee (RSE) scheme.


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