Little’s immigration plans collapse under scrutiny

The other day Andrew little came out saying Labour will slash immigration from 70,000 to around 20,000 almost overnight.

Lloyd Burr crunched some numbers and it looks like Little has yet again shot off his mouth without being in command of facts.

 Labour leader Andrew Little has promised to cut up to 50,000 immigrants a year by “going after work visas”.

The problem is – there were only 43,025 work visas issued last year. The promise to turn away “tens of thousands” of immigrants is in a bid to ease pressure on housing and infrastructure, and free up jobs for Kiwis.   

It’s tough talk – but delve into the immigration figures and it gets a lot more complex. It is not as easy as simply turning off the tap.

In fact, it may not be possible without having a major diplomatic and economic impact.

He told The AM Show’s Duncan Garner that he wants annual net migration to be between 20-25,000 people. In the year to February 2017, net migration was 71,333, so to achieve his target he needs to cut back the number of immigrants by between 46,333 – 51,333. He says the bulk of those cutbacks will come from the work visa category.

So, no work visas under Labour?

In order for Andrew Little to achieve his target, he needs to cull at least 46,333 visas.

This couldn’t be done by abolishing all 43,025 work visas. But it gets even more difficult than that.


Andrew Little cannot abolish the essential skills visa category, unless he comes up with a way to rapidly train thousands of Kiwis to work in areas where there are skill shortages.

If he abolishes the Working Holiday Scheme, then our friend nations will likely retaliate and prevent Kiwis from having working holidays too.

The Family/Spouse visa could be culled, but he’d be breaking hearts across the globe, and if he abolishes the study-to-work scheme, that would have a serious impact on the number of international students coming to New Zealand universities and polytechnics.

The seasonal working visas are only five percent of the work category, and are a vital part of our role as a responsible Pacific neighbour.

Then there’s the ‘other’ category which is so complex, there cannot be a blanket abolition without breaching free trade deals, or regional agreements.

So, it is a policy that doesn’t stack up, can’t be implemented, is unworkable and is dopey. That’s not a policy, it’s a dog whistle.

I’m surprised he didn’t go full retard and declare he will ban work visas for people with chinky sounding names. There’s still a chance though, we haven’t yet heard from Phil Twyford on this.

Andrew Little needs to come up with precisely how he can do this.

If  he can’t it will be just like every other policy announced by him so far, just headlines and slogans that fall down around his ears as soon as pesky little details like facts are applied to them.

The man is a goose.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.