Let’s play the ‘5million population without mentioning immigration’ game…
Estimates released today showed that on 31 March, the nation numbered 5,002,100 people.
Stats NZ said the national population estimates give the best measure between census dates of the population that usually lives in Aotearoa.
“The latest estimated resident population is based on the 2013 Census usually resident population count, updated for residents missed or counted more than once by the census (net census undercount); residents temporarily overseas on census night; and births, deaths, and net migration between census night and the date of the estimate,” Stats NZ said.
Speaking at her weekly post-Cabinet media briefing, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the population could be expected to grow further.
“It’s a milestone for us as a nation, and we’ve gotten there a little more quickly than in the past. I think all New Zealanders would be of a view that yes, as a nation we will continue to grow but also that as we grow we want to look after our land, we look after our environment, we look after our people.”
…the post-pandemic world with closed borders forces changes upon us.
In 2018 we had 129 000 migrants for a population of almost 5 million.
Australia with 24 and a half million, allows in 190 000.
You can see the immediate difference when comparing NZ with Australia.
On top of that we have over 300 000 international students and workers with temporary work visas who have been obscenely exploited by a de-unionised job market and additional to that, we had almost 4 million tourists visiting us each year.
It is no wonder that our social and physical infrastructure is groaning under unsustainable gridlock while creating political friction.
We need to urgently rethink tourism & immigration and the closed borders of a post pandemic world forces us to do that.
Watching exclusive overpriced NZ Tourism having to beg actual kiwis to visit them at massively discounted prices is wondrous isn’t it? Some of our most spectacular places now affordable for the foreseeable future AND our roads free from hyper tourism too?
We should look at an extra couple of holidays each year to elongate our long weekends, but the tourism business must change their price gouging to entice Kiwi’s along for the long weekend experience and we should culturally look to celebrate the Kiwi Long Weekend.
One of the good things about the tourism reset is that we must move from hyper tourism to boutique tourism.
With our borders set to remain closed until a vaccine is available, hyper tourism is dead and we should all cheer that death.
The spin that the tourism dollar trickles down to the rest of us seems like a pretty cheap price to pay if it means we all get to have our roads and traffic flow back.
We must also add to the tourism industry the obscene amount of pollution air travel generates. In a rapidly warming planet, these green house gas emissions can not be tolerated, so hyper tourism must die for the planet to survive.
That doesn’t mean we should simply dump tourism as an industry altogether, that would be economic suicide, but we must for once price the bloody experience properly.
If you want to visit a plague free vacation destination then you pay for it.
No more discount flights with the dregs of the holidaying experience landing on our shores to freedom camp crap all over our nation.
If you want to visit plague free NZ, you have to pay for the 14 day mandatory quarantine stay and accept ongoing track trace measures while in New Zealand.
We should be resetting the International Tourism experience infrastructure now so that we have the hotels to house tourists quarantining here for their mandatory 14 days before moving through to their holiday.
We need to move away from hyper tourism to boutique tourism and appropriately price that experience.
What is the price for a plague free holiday? Ask anyone in Paris, New York or London.
Migrant Worker Amnesty
We can’t entice migrant workers here, have them exploited by unscrupulous bosses and then tell them to piss off back home. That is cruel and nasty. We should offer an immediate amnesty to all migrant workers in NZ to become permanent residents BUT right after that amnesty, we must close all immigration until a vaccine is widely available. Employers will need to use the existing work force here if they want to expand, this would end the bullshit games of companies claiming no NZer wants to be a burger king manager or booze seller so we need to import those workers. You either pay proper wages to attract someone to your job or you don’t get an employee.
High Tech Migration
Seeing as most of the planet will shut down and stay shut down to international tourism until a vaccine is available, you will only be focused on high end tourism who can afford the 2 weeks, backpackers and freedom campers are gone. We must also be open to tech companies wanting to relocate their head offices here so that people can live openly in a plague free environment which will quickly become our international selling point.
We also need to be prepared for a mass homecoming of the Kiwi diaspora who are feeling the pinch in Australia and Europe, who are looking at NZs distance as its saving grace now. We should reach out to them and say ‘there’s never been a better time to return Home’ campaigns and bring their expertise and skill sets back to NZ to help generate the next wave of Kiwi entrepreneurs we require to kick start the economy again in the new realty.
There are enormous structural changes coming our way in a post pandemic world and we need to see ourselves as one of the life boats on a climate crisis planet. Tourism and immigration are two areas we need to urgently reform so that when external shocks occur, we are flexible enough to sustain them.
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