Labour’s rock and hard place: supporting education but not student immigrants

Yesterday this amount of detail didn’t exist.  But after Paddy Gower helped Andrew Little tidy up his thinking, he’s now decided immigrant students are the one for the chop to meet his immigration reduction targets.

Labour leader Andrew Little confirmed his party would cut immigration by tens of thousands. He said those numbers would come from cutting thousands of student visas and works visas. He singled out work visas for labourers and “low-quality courses.”

After previously saying Labour would scrap negative gearing, Mr Little told The Nation he’ll make an announcement about it tomorrow at the party’s Congress in Wellington. He says all Labour’s housing initiatives will be implemented in the first term.

At the party’s conference last July, the leader said a policy against negative gearing was in the works. Criticising the current setup, he said, “The way this works is investors are able to write off any losses they make in property investment against the rest of their income for tax purposes. That means other taxpayers pick up the tab – it’s effectively a taxpayer subsidy for speculation.”

Mr Little said he is “personally in favour” of a tourist levy and the party is looking at it.

He also says Te Reo would not be compulsory in schools under Labour’s first term but denies that’s a snub to the Labour Maori caucus.

Willie Jackson, recently named at No 21 on Labour’s list, is heavily involved with Te Kura Maori o Waatea, a charter school based at Nga Whare Waatea Marae in South Auckland. But Mr Little still skirts around questions over how this clashes with Labour’s policy to eliminate charter schools.

The industry built up around earning foreign exchange from student-visa “immigrants” is substantial.  I would imagine cutting it down isn’t going to impress the unions because it will probably lead to job losses for educators.

I see no point in cutting “low quality” student visas because their hard earned cash is just as valuable as the money brought in by prospective engineers.

In the end, it makes no sense on any level.



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