Too much of a good thing, Ctd

In a remarkable coincidence of clarity, A newspaper editor also sees a problem with just letting the country be flooded with immigrants

On the face of it, migration seems an unambiguously good thing for society and the economy. The boom in arrivals since the late 1990s has undoubtedly made us a culturally richer, more diverse place.

Can we imagine Auckland without a Diwali festivaland Chinese New Year celebrations?

There is broad political consensus, except from New Zealand First, in favour of 90,000 to 100,000 new permanent residents being approved every two years.

That is different, however, from the 221,741 who arrived in the past two years to the end of August, as measured by Statistics New Zealand.

How many houses are we short again?  

Debate is growing about the effect on wages of this surge of temporary workers and students, who often take low-wage jobs in hospitality, tourism and dairying.

Wages have been stagnant at the lower end of the jobs spectrum for the past couple of years, despite strong economic growth. There has been plenty of exploitation of these migrants.

Meanwhile, the record high net migration of 60,300 in the year to August has been a factor in Auckland’s 25 per cent house price inflation over the past year.

Economic theory suggests bringing in skilled workers should lift overall productivity and ultimately wages and wellbeing.

But people are having second thoughts, particularly now so many of the student and short-term migrants are in lower-skilled jobs and Auckland’s housing supply remains constrained.

That’s why we need to dial down immigration numbers and take a moment to catch our breath and catch up.

Continued, unrestricted immigration has got us this far.  Letting more in won’t improve the situation.

It’s not only common sense, it’s economics 101.

Unless the government deal with this shortly, this will be a problem that’s going to manifest during the elections.

 

– A newspaper


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