Mike's Minute: There is danger in Government's immigration reset

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Tue, 18 May 2021, 10:55AM

Mike's Minute: There is danger in Government's immigration reset

Author
Mike Hosking,
Publish Date
Tue, 18 May 2021, 10:55AM

There is nothing wrong with targeting high net wealth individuals for migration purposes. In fact, you'd be an idiot if you didn't.

Whether New Zealand comes out of Covid in as powerful a position as it had going in is yet to be seen.

We are a mile behind on vaccination. Sir Peter Gluckman last week warned our attraction is wearing thin. There is no shortage of the business community agreeing with him and worrying about the government's lack of plan.

So that’s the first and obvious bit of last night's migration policy setting from the government. Get the rich here, and stat.

The other bit is the bit to worry about. They don't want numbers the way they were. That's despite the fact that last time migration was rolling we were the "rock star" economy.

Migration drives growth because as Covid has shown we can't as a nation of 5 million drive it ourselves.

The government, despite the fact their ideology failed to materialise in the fields and paddocks of the country, is pushing forward with their delusion that locals can do the unskilled or semi-skilled stuff. And all we need is several hundred Bill Gates to roll on in with a chequebook and do the rest.

There is a semblance of common sense in their work visa ideas. Too many students, for example, came here from offshore, paid the fees, and got a visa of dubious quality as a result.

But what you can't hide from is, this past season in kiwifruit, grapes, and apples despite the government's insistence around pay, the locals didn’t turn up. They don't want to work in the numbers required.

They paid plenty of good money and the locals still didn’t come. The experiment failed.

This is the great danger of this government. Given virtually none of them have ever run anything, they get their policy out of books. And even when the theory fails, they still push forward with the madness.

Even if this country didn’t need the migration numbers of the pre-Covid era, it needs a lot more than we are now aiming for.

Boosting productivity, which is what they are looking to do, is not about simply upping wages. It's not about banning labour and thinking locals will fill it. We know that doesn’t work.

By the time this policy fails to pan out, the brain drain builds, and there's a head of steam towards Australia and beyond, this emperor will be shown to be desperately lacking in clothes.