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Mike's Minute: Optimism with our immigration numbers

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Mon, 15 May 2023, 9:36am

Mike's Minute: Optimism with our immigration numbers

Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Mon, 15 May 2023, 9:36am

We might have some good news, at last, around immigration.

From the new stats on Friday, the numbers look good.

People are actually arriving in a way that gives us hope around jobs and the labour crisis, around demand in the economy and for spending on things like housing.

The downside is a lot of people who watch these things are a bit suspicious of the accuracy of the numbers. The statistics department guess a bit as to how long people are going to stay.

Firstly, half of the net arrivals are from China, India and the Philippines. Do those countries provide the people we need to close the skills gap?

There were a total of 133,500 arrivals of non-New Zealanders. Only 14% of them were on resident visas. So, are they staying, or not?

Also of note were the numbers of New Zealanders that scarpered, which is 23,500. That is the largest number leaving for over a decade.

That’s basically Taupo or Masterton up and leaving. And I suspect we all know why.

Also, there were over 44,000 non-citizens who decided to leave as well.

But, and here is the important bit, the net gain could be about 65,000 and that is gold.

What we can all agree on is the migration settings of the past couple of years have been criminal and our economy has suffered because of it.

The labour crisis has been entirely avoidable. So, the great hope is this 65,000 person gain is at least, in part, the end of a long and tortuous road.

The tragedy, or irony if you like, is they arrive at about the time the country is hitting a recession. Or if we aren't in one, we are about to be. And the price and indication of that is in jobs and the large loss of them.

If you look at it with a glass half full view though, what it does appear to at least partially answer is the business around whether we are still an attraction for people moving around the world looking for a new life.

As we always say - the numbers don’t lie.

So, lets hope the stats department have them right, the people who are here have the skills we need, they are not all tourists and they don't arrive thinking the country is one thing, only to find out that it has changed dramatically of late and it's turned into something they don't like.

Fingers crossed.  

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