A brief word on Labour, immigration and what’s really hurting housing



I think Labour need to counter this smear against their immigration policy by redirecting the debate.

It’s not immigrants driving up housing prices in Auckland, it’s foreign speculators who are buying up land as quickly as possible. It’s our free market system that allows this mass foreign ownership of  residential land that is the problem, not immigration.

Labour should re-tool this housing debate and move it from immigration to foreign land ownership.


    • ”It’s the immigrants who are ruining the job market.”
      Labour could run a two-prong campaign. ” Immigrants are ruining the job market and foreigners are buying up all the houses.”

    • Rubbish – the job market has been gifted to China – that’s where all our jobs have gone.

    • Not exactly. It’s the exploitation of migration to avoid training New Zealanders which is ruining the job market.

      Don’t blame the migrants themselves; blame the system which allows them to be exploited.

      • And that’s the message Labour should be pushing as well. It’s not anti-migration overall, it’s anti-migration as a tool for pushing down wages, skills, and employment of New Zealanders

    • It is the government and business that run the job market, buddy. The migrants are just extra fodder to increase competition, do not blame them for merely trying to find better opportunities and a better life and place to live.

      Capitalism as we have it now is using us all as “capital”, not human beings, we are “fodder”, “canon fodder” to the employers, investors and speculators. I concede that some employers play fair, of course, but here I am talking about the ones that do not, same as the other categories.

      In their eyes profit is the “prophet” of our society.

  1. I met a guy on Friday. He was from Iran (not that it matters where he came from) He was issued with a work permit before he even landed in NZ – without a job and still without a job.
    Importing workers on spec seems a little out of touch with “the market”!
    He was talking about how he’s looking forward to bringing his wife and children out here – no problem. Then he went on to talk about bringing his extended family here – 29 people in all!
    How is that good for Auckland?

    • Knowing people in the telecommunications industry I am fairly sure that upon privatisation Telecom closed its training school for technicians and lines workers that had existed in the days of government ownership. Clearly it was seen as not directly contributing to profits. Then they slowly but surely got rid of skilled technicians and lines workers through repeat redundancies to help the bottom line which meant those skilled people moved on. Telecom similarly slowly contracted the work out that had been done in-house. Next thing immigrants are coming in to replace the skill shortage created by short-sighted, short term goals by managers accompanied by corporate greed. Jobs Kiwis could and would have had without privatisation.

      A lot of skills shortages in NZ could be avoided if the government looked closely at how an industry was reinvesting in training rather than listen to them cry skill shortages.

  2. “It’s not immigrants driving up housing prices in Auckland, it’s foreign speculators who are buying up land as quickly as possible.”

    Yeah, I’m not wholly convinced that it’s a root cause as opposed to merely a contributing factor. My opinion is (and this view is apparently unpopular here for some reason) that more than ANYTHING else, house prices are being driven up by historically low interest rates. Prove me wrong.

    • Nitrium – That is but one of the reasons but a good one nevertheless. Speculators thrive off cheap money.

    • As Bernard Hickey said on the Nation we can’t tell how many people are foreign speculators as no data is being collected. Until this happens all comment is only based on personal experiences (though this seems to ur on the speculator side, to be honest). Logic would dictate that if the Auckland housing shortage is that in low-mid level houses, the more that is bought up for speculation the less for actual HOME buyers and rent profits generated by houses owned by foreign living landlords will mainly leave the nz economy which is obviously not good for the nz economy.

  3. The property bubble in Auckland, especially, needs honest assessment, strong leadership and tough decisions now, none of which will ever come from this current government.

    But you are on the money, its a smear campaign alight, literally pull out all stops, call in all favours, all hands to the pump from Nationals journalists, but its the same, flat, non convincing arguments. More scare mongering than valid criticism with over the top hysteria from the crocodile tears of the right. I mean DC is the new PW Botha!

    Not enough houses (just one of the factors) and too many people coming back to NZ from Aussie (at least) has the potential to cause even more problems although Cunliffe has not for one moment stated that this policy is permanent.

    Its a worry in itself that property in Auckland is propping up the “Rock Star economy” and the “right” are shit scared the gravy train they’ve all signed up for will end and they will actually have to address the fundamental causes for real.

  4. I agree 100% Martyn. Where the hell did this come from? I was stunned and surprised when I heard it. I can only imagine that it is a “cosy-up” accomodation to NZ First prior to the election, to lessen the impact ?

  5. It has been interesting ,or should I say worrying, to see how Labours’ very sensible rationale for dealing with Aucklands’ burgeoning housing crisis has been turned into a an accusation of xenophobia.
    Everyone should ask themselves this one question.If they don’t want limits placed on numbers coming into N.Z, and next year, 300,000 applied and passed the allegibility test,would they be happy accepting them all,considering our lack of housing stock and 3rd world infrastructure?
    If the the answer is ‘no,i wouldn’t be happy’,then you are an advocate for some sort of limits being applied.End of story.Any fool can see that this is a sensible pragmatic thing to be doing.
    It’s nothing to do with racism or any such nonsense.It’s about looking after the citizens who are already here.
    That’s what governments are supposed to do .To care for their fellow countrymen.
    The current government is failing miserably, aided by a media that has no ability to think critically or with any form of clarity!

  6. ”Labour should re-tool this housing debate and move it from immigration to foreign land ownership ”
    Why ?

  7. So Grant – using your argument, should we also limit the number of Kiwis wanting to return home? Using 300,000 as a figure is alarmist, given that for the last 10 years the maximum has been around 40,000 per annum, and there are obviously already limits in place. Also, what do we tell people in CHCH when we don’t have enough experienced trades people to build their new homes, that they’ll need to wait another 3 years? How is that going to help with our housing shortage?

    • I think we have the ‘all, or nothing syndrome’ going on here.
      Nobody is saying that immigration should be stopped dead.That would be ridiculous.
      Of course Kiwis returning home could do so .They are Kiwis ;ie already N.Z citizens.
      The 300,000 figure is merely an extreme example.However I don’t think the rest of the world is going to regulate itself to having only 40,000 people coming to live in N.Z per annum.Here’s just one sobering fact for you. Indias’ population alone, is set to increase by 300 million people by 2030 (not that far away), because they can’t get their act together regarding birth control. Don’t get me wrong .I like the Indians here.They are good humoured,courteous and hard working.Then,when you add China,Malaysia,U.K, South Africa(all very likeable) to mention a few to the mix, unless you have some pretty strict monitoring of the numbers coming in you will stuff it for everybody.Auckland’s short of 30,000 houses as we speak,so with 70,000 people coming in the the next 12 months(and most wanting to live in Auckland),where are you proposing they live? Most of the garages in South Auckland are already full.
      As far as Christchurch is concerned.I can remember Phil Goff saying the day after the first earthquake 3 years ago that the government needed to implement large scale trade training programmes immediately.The government did nothing of course until about 10 months ago and even then it was a pretty weak initiative.Now they want to send the unemployed down there.They really have no idea.And if you think they are going to rebuild Christchurch to a high standard on slave immigrant labour you are dreaming.
      As usual they are letting the market decide,just like their immigration policy.
      I say Trev;it’s a mess!

      • I agree with you about the all or nothing syndrome with this and a lot of other matters.
        I also want each and every person who keeps on advocating high immigration to give us a number. I want to know what number they think NZ should grow its population to.
        You mention and the prospect of its population growing by many millions, this is the disaster (there and the rest of the world) that will destroy it in the end. The human race has GOT to get its collective heads around the fact that there are already quite possible more than twice as many of us than the world has resources for.
        It is because of that I believe NZ should talk seriously about where WE want to be in the future. Auckland talking of another million in a couple of decades is bloody mad, as far as I am concerned.
        Already we have seen the things that we took for granted as kids – going fishing, riding our bikes on the road, riding horses, being able to afford to go to the beach for a holiday are pretty much gone and for those at the bottom of the heap, nothing but a pipe dream, along with housing yourself.
        It would of course be better if we could spread out a bit, but seriously, just hauling people in on a “stacks on the mill” basis is incredibly stupid.
        We have the opportunity to demonstrate to the world how to prosper without all this growth, growth, growth ponzi scheme because if we don’t do it voluntarily the planet will do it for us and it will not be pretty
        Wake up people, all around the world.

        • Well said.
          Ponzi scheme.
          That’s exactly what it will become,(or already is), if left unregulated!
          But the country is run by wide boy gamblers and speculators, so what would you expect !!

  8. You are absolutely right on this Martyn, but give David Cunliffe a fair treatment, he did not blame migrants for the housing crisis, it was damned liar and hypocrite John Key, who started throwing mud at Labour.

    Immigration is a delicate matter, and Cunliffe is right on this, that it needs some careful management, some flexibility, and at times it may need some “capping”, when we have tens of thousands of Kiwis and already existing permanent residents come back to live and work here.

    Unless people want to risk the UK experience, where we have UKIP now gain substantial support and votes (see about a quarter of all votes cast there in the European Parliament elections!), New Zealanders better learn and act wisely.

    What Cunliffe and Labour have said, is NOT anti immigrant, it is NOT against those that legally and rightfully migrated here already, it is just considering to put on some “brakes” at times when local infrastructure development, e.g. housing and construction, are not keeping up with already high demand.

    It would be totally irresponsible, foolish and idiotic, to allow uncontrolled mass immigration, when we have a kind of crisis in this already, and yes, I suspect, and there is at least some evidence, we really have more of a speculator and foreign investor crisis, where some buy up homes, houses and apartments en masse, not for own use.

    So that needs addressing, and it is totally overdue, to have a register of home owners, where the owners and residents have an obligation to declare what and where they own it, and what their residence status is. New Zealand has one of the most liberal property investment rules in the world, and they have websites in Australia, Europe, China and the Middle East promoting property to buy here, and it all can be done with little risk, compliance and taxation. How idiotic, laissez faire gone mad. Sell the land, homes and country they say, forget the locals, and if it gets stuffed, we move offshore, the rich here think.

    It is done elsewhere, so NZ must again learn a bit and fix this.

    That is NOT racism, xenophobia or whatever else the reverse racist Nats and ACT pollies claim. They are the last ones to talk on this.

    • I totally agree with everything you say Marc.

      It is just basic, good old fashion, commonsense!
      The reluctance by this government to do anything ,shows me they are relying on large immigration flows as a short term source of income to make the books look better.A dangerous path!
      That’s what they are.Short term thinkers!

    • Yep – the rentier class are a problem – worldwide! It matters not their race or country of origin. These people are the true parasites of this world and John Key welcomes them!

  9. I am proudly a migrant.

    I am sick of Labour racist anti-inmigrant policies.

    They are a shame. I hate National Party either, but I dont think Labour is left wing, they are racist scum right wing.

    I am spreading the word to inmigrant friends how racist Labour is. They will share the information.

    Where is the left in NZ defending migrants? where? is there no left?

    Nobody chooses the place they were born. No borders. Free mobility of people.

    • This is exactly the sort of misinterpretation of Labours’ policy that Key is trying to incite. It’s based on ignorance and lazy thinking and will appeal to the ‘great brainwashed’ out there! What can you say….

    • The world is not ready for open borders. Look at the EU and how England are looking at being swamped. The world has to get to grips with human overpopulation and become much more collectively mature before we can look at something like open borders.

    • “They are a shame. I hate National Party either, but I dont think Labour is left wing, they are racist scum right wing.”

      I am sorry, I am a migrant myself, but have been here a long time. You do not appear to have been here that long, or at least not followed politics much. While Labour be be seen rather “centrist” and not “left”, it has actually a rather good record on allowing migration, and from various sources.

      I suggest you do some research and reading, and learn about Labour’s track record there. I am no fan of Labour and have given up supporting them, but I feel I must defend the party in this matter.

      Permanent residents and citizens have rather free movement and are not forced to stay here. A returning resident’s visa same as a NZ passport ensures this. But while freedom to move is a right, it does also have its downside. When people move from country to country and expect the best of treatment everywhere, they may find, that with a lack of commitment to a society to live in, they may miss out on some security in the longer run.

      What New Zealand needs is commitment from citizens and residents, to spend most their time here, and to work to advance the country, and of course to hold their governments to account.

      If too many people give up and pack up to seek greener pastures, the country will become nothing but a “transit lounge”, which makes it very difficult for governments to plan, and also for decent standards to be upheld.

      You can only get the benefits of a social contract that we as people have with a government, when you commit yourself to a reasonable degree, to work and spend your income and taxes here. In return you can then also ask for guaranteed retirement income, health, education and social security benefits. It works both ways, I am afraid.

  10. Been in the electrical trade for the past 20 years. And I am telling you now, if we did not have migrants coming in, you would be in the dark.

    For the last 5 years and with the incentives the National government has given to us to try and persuade young workers into a trade is just too difficult.

    We have young people who start off good. 3 months down the line, they leave. Not because of the 3 month rule. Because “its too dirty” or “I have to get up too early” syndrome. We have guys who say they would rather be on a work for your benefit scheme that gives them money for 15-20 hours of work rather than work 40 hours a week learning a trade.

    Without the migrants who are willing to work the long hours, the dirty work, the early mornings NZ will be at a stand still.

    A Labour/Greens government is going to be the death of NZ economically.

    • FATONE – I do not believe what you say has much value. Being offered a chance to do an apprenticeship and proper on the job training is valued by the bulk of young people who start it.

      I do not rule out that some soon discover that the work is not what they expected, and is not what they really want to do in the end. That kind of thing has always happened. But I doubt that we are talking about large numbers.

      Perhaps it is the working conditions that may need looking at, perhaps also pay?

      Tradespersons have prospects of good earnings and income for their future lives, and if it may not be here, they will soon again be welcome and valued in Australia (once their economy recovers).

      It is absurd to claim that some training course or work scheme run by WINZ is an attractive alternative for such persons, as the benefit is making it damned hard to survive on. It does not at all compete well with a decent pay and an education that guarantees a future.

      That said, I know, given the outflow of skilled New Zealand workers to Australia and elsewhere, that there will always be some demand for migrants to fill gaps that open, and to also add their skills, expertise and work to building homes, to manufacture, to work in the health industry and so forth. We are talking here about the right level and approach, in times where so many Kiwis are coming back to live in their own country.

      • okay Marc,

        They start off on $11.25 an hour. All their schooling is paid for. All there tools are paid for (they only get to keep them if they have been an apprentice for 2 years). All uniforms paid for including safety gear (which they cannot return and keep cause of H&S rules) Every standard they complete gives them a pay rise. It is incentive based to work to the bigger picture at the end for a trade.

        Im telling you now, how many kiwi’s come and start and then leave. But you give a migrant that opportunity, they take it with open arms. These kids have it too good. Working conditions are the same everywhere you go. We get danger money, time and a half for anything above 42 hours and all extra H&S tickets paid for as well.

        I would say 90% of these newbies are living at home with their parents not paying any rent. All they do is facebook and text all day. Hence why they bought the rule in of cellphones for work communication only.

        Maybe you should try and be a tradie. Money comes after your qualified. These guys dont understand that at the end of your training you will be on some good money. They dont see the bigger picture.

        In the last 3 years, we have taken on 15 apprentices. 3 have completed it and hired as fully qualified tradies at the company. Those 3 do not have NZ born parents. Parents who told them to work hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

        • FATONE – So it seems to be the pay, I guess, and conditions for some, that do not seem to be so attractive.

          While I agree that some young persons have rather unrealistic expectations, and are daily spending excessive amounts of time on social media, on perhaps playing games, and in their own dream worlds, possibly having reasonably well off middle class parents, it does not help when the starting pay for an apprenticeship is even less than the minimum wage (that is for an adult).

          Some may say, I can earn more working at McDonald’s or stocking up shelves at a supermarket, and rather do that then.

          But with the fast paced, consumerist, seductive way things are done here, with all the brainwashing taking place, I would not be surprised that there are too many that do not understand, that they would be much better off doing trades training, and then earn heaps more a couple of years later.

          This society has media and commercial advertising that is dumbing people down. Short term thinking abounds, and long term thinking is neglected or not encouraged. I see more so-called “nanny” behaviour drummed into people’s minds by way of commercial advertising, promoting the “quick fix”, than what you suggest, namely the state. And on televison and other media, we get nothing much in the way of educational programs. Education seems to stop at the school gate. A culture of learning is not maintained anymore, that is in media and so.

          WINZ is now pretty firm on every “client”, in some cases right out mean and nasty.

          It seems you are competing with employers offering easier and better paid conditions, for those that you would rather see learning a solid trade. That is the down side of a “rockstar economy”, I suppose.

          As for migrants, they do generally tend to put up with heaps more, as the carrot “permanent residence” is hung in front of them, and some come from admittedly poor countries, so they will see things differently to a bored, middle class nerd who rather stacks bricks on top of each other in a computer game, than get the hands dirty.

          We will not find a quick and easy solution for this, I am afraid.

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