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Mike's Minute: Hopefully we don't follow Australia re immigration

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Fri, 14 Jun 2024, 10:56am

Mike's Minute: Hopefully we don't follow Australia re immigration

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Fri, 14 Jun 2024, 10:56am

$211 billion. That's a lot of money. 

It is what it will cost Australia in lost productivity and revenue as a result of their Government panicking over reaction to the mass arrival of people via immigration. 

Such was the panic, they started capping numbers. In capping numbers, they appeared to have made a mess of it. 

If you follow Australian politics they make a mess of a lot of stuff, but that’s another story and one to watch later this year if they go to the polls and the Albanese Government turns out to be a one-term. 

But by capping numbers they have turned immigration into a political game, not a business one. 

You need immigration for skills and labour. By not meeting labour demand you curtail your growth. 

It is an open question as to whether we are doing the same. 

The flood gates were opened, way too late, and then because it was way too late the panic ensued and we let in all sorts of people, some of whom we wanted, or needed, but many of whom we didn’t. 

It's the same reaction here - upset. There is a group it seems in all societies who are edgy about people arriving in their country. Politicians read that and react. 

The Hays NZ recruitment survey out this week suggested skills gaps were still an issue here. In fact, 25% of employers said it was worse now than it has been, which is hard to fathom. 

But it is nevertheless a reality and hands on deck is a very direct link to growth and I doubt anyone disputes we need growth right now. 

Another question for us that Australia doesn’t appear to grapple with is around demand. Do people actually still want to come here? The truly talented and skilled have a world of choice. Are we still on their list? 

Anyway, in Australia the price of playing politics is $211 billion. 

So on one hand the Prime Minister keeps the punter happy who doesn’t like immigration, but on the other hand business is screaming for staff as they watch the bills mount for things they can't do. 

This is where leadership comes in. Real leadership is about making the right decision, not always the popular decision. 

Real leadership is about hanging tough when the screamers and moaners are at their loudest 

At $211 billion ol' Albanese doesn’t look like he's the goods. 

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