Greens do massive U-turn on immigration – and why they are right to do so



When you consider the position of the Greens on immigration as little as 4 months ago...

Cracks are opening in the Labour-Greens relationship as the Green Party distances itself from calls for a tougher stance on immigration.

Labour leader Andrew Little wants the Government to cut back the number of foreign workers allowed to come here.

But Greens co-leader James Shaw believes that’s scare-mongering.

“I think turning immigration into political football in terms of the effect it’s having on the Auckland housing crisis is damaging, and I think that really tears the fabric of New Zealand society,” says Mr Shaw. “What we want to do here is have a very calm and rational conversation about it.”

…their new announcement today is a u-turn so large it’s almost a full circle

The Green Party believes shaving 5000 residency approvals off migration numbers doesn’t go far enough.

The Government’s target of between 85,000 and 90,000 a year for the next two years has been criticised as a token gesture.

Green Party co-leader James Shaw told TV3’s The Nation a sustainable policy should be based on about 1 percent of population growth.

“We think that the country needs a more sustainable immigration policy, so what we’d do is set a variable approvals target based on a percentage of the overall population. That would be at about 1 percent of the population, which is historically how fast New Zealand’s population has grown.”

…’sustainable immigration’ has a great ring to it and it shows the Greens have had some soul searching on the issue, the same way Labour have.

For the Greens the issue is sustainability in every sense, for Labour the issue needs to be about exploited migrant work forces.

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Here is the grim truth about our current immigration settings. It’s not the 70 000-90 000 who become permanent residents that we need to be concerned about and it’s not their families joining them that we need to be worried with either, the real problem is our scam work/study visa scheme that sees 250 000 desperate students coming to NZ for bullshit ‘education’ programs that end up as bonded servitude with exploitative employers who hold onto their passports.

These 250 000 work hard jobs, many on less than minimum wage and pay tens of thousands for education schemes that are glorified english courses all for the promise of becoming permanent  residents.

NZ makes huge money in the education sector and are able to push down labour costs by having a servant class. This huge number of course puts massive pressure on housing, public transport and social infrastructure.

We are exploiting huge number of migrants and then have the audacity to complain about them being here.

We need to stop exploiting these people and stop promising them permanent residence via education. If they wish to come here for education, fine, that’s their decision, but putting in place the pathway from education or employment to residency is exploitative and creating huge pressures on an infrastructure that can’t take anymore.

The only winners here are the greedy exploitative bosses and a Government needing cheap immigration to keep the economy afloat.



  1. Writing is on the wall, Martyn. Not all of these “poor” students are victims, many are complicit in the neo-colonialist immigration scams, i.e. they know full well that the course they are doing are of poor quality, they know full well that they are working for less than the minimum wage and THEY DON’T CARE, because they want permanent residency. Send in some undercover students and see for yourself. The whole lie is about to collapse. Again, the overseas-born population in No Zealand is triple that of the UK and double that of the USA. Hats on boys, shit storm’s a comin’…

    • agree with Castro many aren’t the victims they are making out to be . Most of them shoudn’t getting into our country but its all about money not about people

  2. As the Greens like to go on about sustainability, it makes common sense what James Shaw presented on The Nation. Sustainability applies not just to economic activity and use of natural resources from under or above the ground, it should logically include human beings and their needs as well as capabilities.

    Simply letting immigration and population growth in general continue without sensible controls, is coming with risks of it becoming unsustainable. People need housing, transport, water, health, education and social services, besides of jobs of course.

    A balance must be struck and growth for growth’s sake should be avoided. Only due to continuing to use fossil fuel energy do many densely populated countries still manage to “survive” as they do now, once the resources are used up, only regenerative energy can be used.

    It makes no sense to follow mistakes of other nations, to overpopulate and put unreasonable stress on resources we need here. We are already allowing companies, some from overseas, to even export our water, and of course many agricultural products.

    Bring in sustainability into all areas of society and our lives, I think that is the only way we can go ahead.

    • Mostly agree with what you say, but have no problem with bottling our water and selling it overseas providing the plants are on or near the coast and the water would otherwise go out to sea.
      By the way I did reply to your “grow up ” mail the other day in a measured and reasoned way. Sent two and another today lamenting the way the left loves censorship.
      None of the three were posted although they raised valid points. Sycophants of the writer get posted no matter how bad the language or the arguments.
      Having a different, valid point of view though and you are up against the far left’s and far rights fear of press freedom and penchant for censorship.
      Shame on you Martyn, what a terrible double standard.

  3. It’s always about the greed we are not building a future based on finding quality immigrants that will enrich our nation are we?

    Just about the cheap labour coming in here to water down the union movement and destroy our standard of living is all that will be achieved by bring in unskilled immigrants that are so happy vote for National come election day!!!!!

    • Looks like NZF is the only option, only party who is interested in looking after the interests of New Zealanders. Also interested in growing our export sectors and installing an anti-corruption unit, they would have a field day if they were allowed to investigate anything here in NZ.

    • Hi CHOOKY … you aren’t on your own there. Husband and I are considering doing the same next year, after voting Alliance, then Greens since the neo liberal right took over Labour in the mid 80s/early 90s. I used to be an active member of the Labour Party prior to that treasonous period. Haven’t quite made up our minds yet, but we are seriously looking towards NZF.

      Seems to us NZF is the only party which seems to come out pro NZ/pro Kiwis. Agree with the party’s immigration policy, which now Key & Co have jumped on to their own advantage. No surprises there though.Waiting for more usurping of other parties’ policies for Natz to steal.

      However, our only reservation at present is whether a vote for NZF might be a vote for National, should Winston decide to become part of a right coalition, which we certainly don’t want.

      • Winston’s and NZFs’ stand is so antithetical to jonkey Nactional in every regard that it would absolutely KILL his/NZF reputation for ever…probably destroy the Party

        (once before he went with National because Helen Clark did not have the numbers for a Labour Government without Jim Anderton’s support …Peters did this rather than being forced to call another Election…and his bottom line was no more State Asset sales which National agreed to …when it violated this bottom line he brought the National Government down….He has never been forgiven or forgotten by both National and the general public …so I doubt very much whether he would go with jonkey Nactional)

  4. Until we actually get more jobs in the economy I think 1% is too much immigration.

    Lazy Immigration is used by the government to make the economy look better at a glance, and to disguise homeowners stagnant wages. It is also working to put up student fees and make education a ‘profit’ driven business not a ‘ quality education’ social right. This also adds immense competition to youth to get the right qualifications to get a job and compete against people more experienced and more desperate than they are in a global economy where a new government endorsed people trafficking for passport scams now seems to be considered normal by governments.

    Lazy immigration is being used around the world to keep wages down and job conditions poor, and to stimulate growth by circular things like house building to house the new migrants which is not sustainable. In the western world there is more building houses, selling more cars, warfare and increasing climate change to cope with all the increasing industrialisation and globalisation from all the movement of people. Now there is also the refugee problem from warfare and climate change as well as migration on steroids and it is taking away from sustainable growth as people are pushed into urban centres around the world.

    The world needs to go the other way and have more local food and construction production. People need to be safe in their own countries and not have millions streaming into city centres around the world (for various reasons from economic to warfare) to compete against each other and have fake or unsafe food from globalisation. Pollution needs to be stopped, climate change addressed and so forth.

    Around the world people are already being forced to pay for water. Natural basics are being destroyed and turned into privately owned commodity.

    The Greens should be careful because voters don’t like schizophrenic policy. You can’t save the world by turning all the green space into houses, adding more cars, more people, more strain on social services and having 3rd world wages and conditions and statistics are showing that the NZ immigration policy over the last 30 years has not produced more productivity. Wages are going backwards in real terms. While this is due to Rogernomics amongst other things, having more people coming in has enabled this model to work. This has allowed the government to not invest in education and to lower wages and conditions and to not diversify into the new economy.

    If Greens join National, (sort of) Labour by having policy to have high immigration then all the parties are looking the same on the issue.

    Greens can’t have it both ways and want to add more people many from countries that have zero social welfare, zero democracy, less human rights, more corruption and then think we can all integrate in, like one big happy family and the new people will gladly adopt the NZ way of life.

    Not happening – look around at the type of houses, malls and cars being driven on the roads around NZ and where the political donations are coming in from.

    • +100 save nz

      re “You can’t save the world by turning all the green space into houses, adding more cars, more people, more strain on social services and having 3rd world wages and conditions and statistics are showing that the NZ immigration policy over the last 30 years has not produced more productivity.”

      ….why haven’t the Greens realised this sooner?! ( are they stupid or not really GREEN?)

  5. Agree with your take Martyn. Agree with the Greens new approach. And having worked in the international education sector I know how many dodgy private providers there are out there accepting students who may or may not have the potential to succeed, and some of whom are desperate to find work to support themselves at any cost to the detriment of locals. Finally, on a finite planet, the whole notion of promoting ‘growth’ by importing humans is a very unfunny joke. Should we accept genuine refugees? I think yes. Should we accept more migrants? Not at current rates. As with so much else, the Nats have no concept of sustainability.



      …the developed world must help the overpopulated third world by FAIR TRADING and FINANCIAL/SKILLS SUPPORT rather than imperialist economic exploitation

      … and rather than supporting immigration from the third world the developed world must support /enable third world population control education and equal rights education for women

      …the developed world must develop its economics philosophy /practice NOT on materialist growth but on an economics of sustainability for the planet and economic equality for all around the world in their own individual countries

      ( this will mean the developed world cutting back on its own materialism as well as encouraging sustainable development in the third world)

      • A warning to all you people rushing to NZF.
        If NZF gets more than 5% how many muppets will Winston take in with him?
        Remember the last time – what a bloody fiasco.
        I’m staying with the Greens because I know they will bring in a great team.

  6. Does anyone REALLY think voting will make any difference at this late stage in the collapse? After all, the predicament we now find ourselves in has been the result of voting for political parties (National-Labour-Green-NZF-Alliance-UF) over the past 40 years, and EVERY government, whatever its colour or colour combination, has made everything that matters worse.

    We can be absolutely certain that whoever forms the next government, that government will continue to make everything that matters worse, and we can be equally certain it will make no preparations whatsoever for what is coming quite soon: collapse of the globalized financial system, collapse of the food supply, massive overheating and sea level rise, and decline (possibly quite abruptly) of the fossil fuel supply etc. The evidence for this scenario is all over the place and gets more dire, e.g.

    And the evidence is continually ignored, not only by the government, the mainstream media and the general public, but also by many people who are active on this website.

    The political system -owned and operated by international bankers and corporations- requires that all the fundamental issues be ignored, and governments and the public oblige, day after day, year after year, decade after decade, until there is no time left to do anything but face catastrophe. We are at that point now.

    We see the phenomenon that has dominated voting repeated over and over again: people do not vote in favour of particular people or their policies but AGAINST what they have at the moment, in the hope that someone else will not be as bad as what they currently have. I am frequently reminded by a friend how he and many others were so sick of the Clark government they bit the bullet and voted Nation, just to get rid of her, and now see the futility of such action.

    This negative voting behavior suits the controllers fine, since they captured the system long ago and have all the parties [that will be given any exposure by the mainstream media] in the palm of their hand and will continue to control the government policies from afar.

    I know it’s not what people want to hear -the truth rarely is- but the reality is, whoever forms the next government, the people of NZ will be betrayed, again.

    I have no firm evidence to support the contention but think the reason the voter turnout continues to fall is because people are increasingly realizing that it’s all a rigged game and that voting makes no difference.

  7. To be honest I think bringing more people in when we can’t even suitably provide for the people already here is a mistake.

    I also think that the benefits of our current head-long rush into an uber cosmopolitan society are massively overstated and a limit to a blend of Maori / Pakeha (for obvious reasons) and Pasifika (our closest neighbours and I think a good 3rd people to temper a ‘us and them’ between Maori and Pakeha) would be perfect to create a great NZ for all of us.

  8. “For Labour the issue needs to be about exploited migrant work forces”

    REALLY??? Maybe someone better tell Anna Lorck that.

    “The rest of New Zealand could learn a lot from the success of Labour’s world-class Recognised Seasonal Employer Scheme in Hawke’s Bay.

    The great results we are achieving in the region through growing more long-term better paying jobs for locals, underpinned by the RSEs, should be heralded as a shining example for other industries to follow.”

  9. ’sustainable immigration’ has a great ring to it

    Not to me Martyn.

    There is nothing sustainable about growth of any rate in a finite space. It is an oxymoron.

    At what most would consider a very low rate of only 1% the doubling time for the population would be 70 years. That’s about one human lifetime.

    We need to have a serious national conversation right now about what population density we want to settle on. Because our birth rate is just below replacement rate, so once our cohorts are filled up the only way NZ’s population is going to grow is through immigration.

    The only reason we can call NZ “clean and green” is because we have a low population density. Not because we treat our natural environment well, because we don’t. Even before the dairy boom we didn’t. We have less native forest left than Britain. That’s not looking after our environment.

    So what’s it going to be NZ? When will we stop? When the East coast from Auckland to Whangarei looks like the California coast with all the pressure on the environment that population would cause?

    If it were up to me we’d settle at this population here and now. And start bloody well looking after our environment.

    Al Bartlett has a simple engaging lecture which explains how exponential growth works here. The key message is that growth of any % rate is exponential.

    And right before the last doubling time, you’re only halfway full.

  10. Raciiiist, you are all Raciiiist! “Kiwis first, and hang every other human in existence” is apparently the Center Lefts new motto

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