9 Oct 2017

'Shuddering halt' would follow drastic migrant cut - EMA

10:36 am on 9 October 2017

The head of the Employers and Manufacturers Association has slammed New Zealand First's idea of a major reduction in immigration.

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New Zealand First leader Winston Peters on the campaign trail Photo: RNZ

The party wants to cut the number of people coming into the country, with the policy likely to be on the table in coalition negotiations this week.

The association's chief executive, Kim Campbell, said reducing immigration would bring the economy to a "shuddering halt fairly quickly".

He said New Zealand First's policy of reducing the number of migrants to 10,000 a year was extreme.

"The fact that immigration could use some recalibration, I don't think anybody disagrees with that, but just these arbitrary numbers are hard."

Kim Campbell, Chief Executive of the Employers and Manufacturers Association.

Kim Campbell Photo: RNZ / Philippa Tolley

Mr Campbell said the developed world's population was aging and it would not be long before countries would be competing for people and New Zealand could not be left behind.

"Many of the people coming in are young and energetic and hopefully they will raise our birth rate so the country actually has a possibility to continue to prosper."

And Mr Campbell laughed off Mr Peters' suggestion that the Ports of Auckland be moved to Northland.

He said in the fullness of time the port could be moved but it would take a lot of money.

"Let's pick a number, say $5-6 billion."

Mr Campbell cited transport and roading issues as two of the big problems facing Auckland.

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