The need to clamp down on work visas, student visas and the temporary work and study visa schemes in an attempt to take the pressure off our over stretched and under funded infrastructure and housing crisis is just part of the solution to New Zealand’s growing pains, home ownership challenges and inequality.
It can’t be the main focus.
I believe we need to crack down on migrant worker and student visas because many of these workers and students are exploited by the current system and it lets domestic employers off the hook for providing decent wages and conditions while forcing the domestic working class to compete with a global working class for jobs and accomodation, but I also believe we should triple our refugee numbers because we have human rights obligations to the worst off from around the world.
We have 150,000 workers here at any one time on a temporary work visa. We have 100,000 fee-paying students. The government issues 250,000 temporary work visas a year.
We have been issuing around 40,000 permanent residence visas a year for the last several decades. Changes to how people qualify for these visas under the skilled work category makes no fundamental difference to the temporary visa scam.
…and here is more truth, the biggest challenge to our housing crisis is foreign speculators and domestic slum lords, allowing immigrants to become the focus ignores those doing the most damage and avoids the free market dynamics that are exacerbating issues in New Zealand.
The entire tax system is geared to property speculation, the increased migration keeps the property bubble building, multiple home owners keep attempting to maximise their profit margin by pushing up rentals and the lack of infrastructure means urban sprawl will only make gridlock even worse.
In short, our free market greed has dug us into this hole and just blaming migrants won’t get us out of it.
That isn’t going to matter in the election. It is far easier to blame migrants than greedy domestic speculators or the selfish middle classes, which is why this press release from the increasingly militant Migrant And Refugee Rights Campaign highlights how difficult this election could become for Labour and the Greens…
We need a Left that will challenge xenophobia
Phil Twyford’s call to cut immigration is unacceptable, says Migrant and Refugee Rights spokesperson/Wellington Central candidate Gayaal Iddamalgoda.
“We need a Left that will challenge xenophobia,” says Gayaal, “Rather than pandering to the logic that allowed Trump’s raise.”
Gayaal says that the notion of migrants as a strain is misleading. “Resource distribution is not a zero-sum game. Migrants are a net benefit to New Zealand in terms of GDP and taxes paid, not a strain on infrastructure.”
Gayaal says that there is a problem with exploitation under work visas, but this would be best addressed by ensuring that migrant workers have the right to organise for better conditions.
“As a unionist, I represent migrant workers daily,” says Gayaal. “There’s nothing inevitable about the race to the bottom, only solidarity can undermine that logic of competition, and improve conditions for everyone.”
“Divide and rule is the oldest trick in the book.”
The Migrant and Refugee Rights Campaign has called a May Day March for migrant and refugee rights in Wellington. The event will begin with speeches on Cuba St, midday on Monday the 1st, before marching on Immigration New Zealand to deliver a written statement. Groups participating in the march include Changemakers Refugee Forum, the Public Service Association (PSA), the International Socialist Organisation, Peace Action Wellington, Fightback and Doing Our Bit – Double the Refugee Quota.
…NZ First is going to use an explosive mix of anti-migrant rhetoric and anti-Maori Party tactics to take a huge chunk of National’s votes in the provinces. Activists who are currently turning on Labour and the Greens for their sustainable immigration stances will demand these MPs denounce NZ First in no uncertain terms, the trouble for the Greens and Labour however is that they are highly unlikely to get to 51% by themselves and will need NZ First to get there so they will be very cautious about attacking Winston.
This will turn the likes of Migrant and Refugee Rights and their Wellington based allies into pretty vicious critics of the Greens and Labour. You’ve already had senior staff members from Wellington based Unions pulled up about claiming Andrew Little is racist on Twitter, I can’t see them being particularly polite when Winston starts his barn storm across the provinces.
Labour and the Greens are going to find it very difficult to keep twitter activists happy this election and that could damage the solidarity necessary to get National out of power.