Immigration crackdown – Winners & Losers

Immigration is currently as mismatched as Stuart's eyebrows and hair colour

The Labour Government have finally acknowledged what everyone else has realised, that NZs neoliberal mass immigration policy has undermined domestic wages, created a housing crisis and put enormous stress on our infrastructure while contributing to climate change and migration worker exploitation…

Minister for Economic Development Stuart Nash told business leaders the country must move away from its reliance on a low-skilled migrant labour force, instead targeting high-skilled workers and wealthy investors.

Those on temporary work visas make up 5 per cent of the labour force – the highest share in the OECD – and increasingly are lower skilled.

“This means businesses have been able to rely on lower-skilled labour and suppress wages rather than investing capital in productivity-enhancing plant and machinery, or employing and upskilling New Zealanders into work,” Nash said.

In normal times, more than seven million people entered New Zealand each year but in the 12 months from March last year to March this year, just 165,000 people came in.

The country had a net migration gain of 6600 people compared with 91,900 people in the previous year.

This pause gave a “once-in-a-generation” chance for a reset, Nash told those in attendance last night.

…having the borders shut has slaughtered many neoliberal cows that demanded cheap imported labour to exploit.

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Labour have called for a reset, here are the winners and losers


Pacific Islanders & Horticulture – because of the vast Foreign remittance created by Pacific Island workers, fruit picking and horticulture rules won’t be changed.

Domestic Working class – Less migrant workers means less comptition for jobs and houses for the domestic working classes.

Unions – Become more powerful by removing cheaper workers that depress wages.


Retail, Service Sector, Construction,  Nursing, India, China and the Philippines – Labour don’t see the same obligations for remittance to India, China and the Philippines that they see for the Pacific Islands so those industries who have benefitted most from importing cheap workers are the first to feel the impact. Construction, Nursing, Retail and the Service Sector will be forced to hire domestic labour and with the Fair Pay Agreements, that will eliminate the commercial benefit to importing in the first place.

Migrant worker exploiters – This will make the exploitation Utu uncovers each week far harder.

Greens – They are uber cosmoplitan and see any reduction in migrant access as impacting their own global transfer of skills so will call anything less than a personal hug at the airport by Jacinda to every migrant as xenophobic.



This still doesn’t address the exploitation of migrant workers because they are still bound by visa working restrictions, but it is an attempt to put a pause on infrastructure and housing stress while forcing retail and service to hire locals rather than migrant workers.

Foreign students looks far less attractive in a pandemic world and the 250 000 migrant workers currently here all need to be given amnesty as we reset ur immigratin policy.

It wasn’t their fault that we decided to shut the mass immigration scam down.


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  1. There are jobs that NZ people will not do what ever you pay them and there are jobs that will not warrent a large pay packet.
    In hospitality it is very price sensitive I found when the price of a sandwich went up customers brought 1 instead of 2 so turnover dropped for a while . Eventually the customers went back to 2 but the turnover lost was never regained . If the wages are too high the business will shrink or close and the job vanishes. The problem of having leaders that have little business knowledge do not appreciate the outcome of nice to have policies.

    • I would expect noting less than guesses from the unemployed acadrmic professors of the business community.

      It’s very difficult to control wages. The residential market was overinflated before the government’s stimulus program and corona had initially made things worse and now we have major extreme demographic shifts. That’s caused migration from cities to country side and prices all over was in the toilet before then. Specifically inner city businesses and commercial rents in Auckland CBD are distressed and now they’re out of inventory. That shifting demographic is a fundamental shift but we’ve got macro shifts that are unsustainable – yknow that thing called interest rates??? The government has to keep them low and the economy is going to fight it. We’ll see who wins that one.

    • I heard an interesting talk back caller today Trevor. When talking Philippine’s and particularly in health he stated that they come to N.Z. and accept the wages on offer because they are far greater than they would get in the Philippine’s and N.Z’s lifestyle is far safer. In contrast NZ people can go to Australia and earn up to $50,000 more for doing the same work and the cost of living is cheaper. Now if we take this person’s opinion as gospel then you can understand why Kiwis aren’t prepared to work in roles where the income doesn’t cover the costs to survive. I spoke with a senior staff member at a local Pak N Save who stated he is required to work 60 hours a week to get by. I really do struggle with the logic that kiwis wont apply for the roles immigrants will happily apply for given N.Z. is a massive improvement in living standards from the countries they migrate from. Kiwis see a higher standard of living outside of N.Z. and better wages for the same work.
      Another caller mentioned something I strongly agreed with. Growing up in N.Z. high school students in the 6th and 7th form were out high achievers and went on to become the high income earners. Those that only made the 5th form or less were supported with apprenticeships and or went into industry jobs like meat works, car assembly , clothing factories, timber mills, farming or trades. Unfortunately deregulation put paid to whole industries that would have catered for those not reaching the register of education. Yet then, the 70’s and 80’s, the cost of living still enabled those in industry to make enough of a living to live comfortably.
      In this modern age, that industry is lost and jobs like fruit picking or cleaning on a 40 hour week wage just does not cut it and I would hasten to add that not even people from the UK would do those jobs no matter what you paid them.
      If wages aren’t high enough the resulting outcome is one of two things, the best and brightest kiwis go to Australia or they are required to work over 40 hours to simply just survive.

      • Interesting reply Bert. My illness has required daily visits from Nurse Maud. 3 of those were from the Philippines. I asked if the government in the Philippines was upset at the lose of all these medically trained people . They said it was encouraged as the government know they will send much needed foreign exchange back home to support families there . young men are trained to go to sea for the same reason.
        You are right that the same situation applies in the UK as here with some jobs not in the race for local staff. They used to get Irish but now it is people from Poland .

        • You must have an MBA ir equivalent. 🙂

          Not everyone has the luxury of being the world reserve currency so they have to print money. The US can print more than everyone else because everyone has to buy oil, gold most commodities or what ever, in US dollars so eventually the printers will fall silent and then you carefully crafted narrative about who is to blame for macro economic failure (so that’s busines and political failure for all the non MBA types 🙂 ) will fall apart like every other unemployed profesor of theoretical micro economics.

        • @ Trevor, In NZ you can bring your relatives in so you don’t actually have to send the money back to the Phillipines….

          Nurses from the Philippines may be good nurses, but their nursing ratios (according to a filipino nurse), is 1 nurse to 100 elderly patients, thus she confided that she couldn’t see why NZ nurses were striking for low patient/nurse ratios….

          going forward, that attitude is gold for the neoliberals trying to lower NZ health quality here and filipino nurses work for low rates too!

          No wonder nurses in NZ are working for as little as $25 p/h – lower than cleaners rates and around the same cost as support workers.

          • But sadly NZ declining wages with the ‘wage freeze’ mentality (even worse than the 1% pay rise on the NHS for Nurse Jenny) means experienced nurses like nurse Jenny are not coming back to NZ to work in our health system but to holiday here (and probably retire). Low wage mentality is declining NZ’s health system and stopping experienced people staying in NZ but the neoliberals don’t seem to care and keen to replace the experienced Jenny’s with the cheapest staff they can find from around the world. Long term this fills up private practise with better experienced staff while free hospitals decline in service and experience.


          • I do not believe Phillipines nurses are keeping the wages low as they are set by a union not individuals. Graduate nurses get $54 000 a year and reg nurses $62 -77 a year plus penalty rates. I do not know cleaners who earn that. This is not to say I think the wages are high enough concidering the work it takes to become a nurse and the work they do .They obviously are not high enough to attract enough workers so in a free market the powers to be have to pay more otherwise we will lose our standing as a 1st world economy with a health system to match

            • Overseas nurses are mostly compliant and don’t make a fuss unless it involves them personally. Overseas nurses are now the norm in New Zealand hospitals, this is not a bad thing however it makes for lazy employers who don’t or can’t be bothered investing into training their own staff , many of the large aged care employers are already complaining that their pool of staff will be affected by these changes, they probably will however it’s about time the training providers upped their game and encouraged investment in their own local staff training ,because there are now plenty of places in our polytechnics and universities to provide such training in partnership with the government and private enterprise aged care companies who make their profits from government subsidies

            • @Trevor Sennitt, $54k per year can be roughly $25 p/h – it depends on their hours and of course they have to also pay tax. Nurses could be easily earning less than $25 p/h after tax and working long hours. I was told by a nurse a few years ago (during the nursing strikes) they were on $25 p/h working in a hospital.

              Having low wages discourages local students going into that industry, aka 3 years of training for a nursing degree and are likely to have a student loan to pay back.

              So low wages discourage people being retained in an industry, encourage people not to enter that industry and discourages employers to bother to do anything for the above.

              Long term you get much poorer results, a Wild West approach aka construction in NZ, where scams abound and the prices of construction and delays to it are high.

              The only reason that nurses are not like construction in terms of poorer quality, is that foreign nurses need to pass a test to work in NZ (unlike construction) and the nursing unions (so far) have tried to stop further lowering of patient safety. All will be eroded as time goes by.

              Nurse Jenny who helped saved Boris life in the NHS, is not coming back to NZ to work but to holiday.

              So NZ is not encouraging our own experienced nurses to come back to NZ and as a patient you are likely to get the cheapest nurse your DHB can find in a local hospital.

    • Rubbish Trev, did you conduct research on this sandwich matter? My daily coffee went up from $5.50 to 6 bucks. Now I spoke to the staff and asked them are they getting paid well or at least a pay rise they were all good. I told them and the cafe owner I don’t mind spending $3.50 more a week as long as they have jobs. The people buying one less sandwich sound like misers.

      • I owned 3 hamburger bars and 2 industrial takeaways then a catering business for 10 years . The last 17 years before retirement I sold catering equipment so the research was done by me and the accountant

  2. Good post. Time to stop our immigration Ponzi and turn the tide of 15 years of exploitation of not just migrants but locals in the labour force. We need to start putting our own children first and secure their future of striving to be a first world nation while still having free health care and superannuation. All that is at risk if NZ creates a huge amount of people in poverty here, scapping for housing and congesting our roads.

    I also think 7 million visitors is too many, a lot of these people need to use ACC and NZ’s health care, roads and infrastructure and become overstayers. There is too much travel with globalism and things like pollution and Covid are the results.

    • You only need to look at the Auckland motorway to see the effect of the Immigration ponzi scheme . This has now burst into the rest of the regions and they are suffering. Everything has increased in ratio, prison numbers, hospital waiting lists, those trying to get on the property market etc etc. Numbers don’t lie.

      • Rotorua junior high school is so over capacity that they are teaching outside of classroom facilities like libraries and staff rooms, is just another example of over population.

  3. Government also need to update their measures of immigration rather than doing some dinosaur count of how many people enter and leave NZ and think that is a measure of immigration.

    Covid shows that NZ’s willy nilly granting of NZ permanent visas and citizenships backfire as people who have never lived or hardly lived in NZ, been here a few years, but then somehow can come and get free health care, social welfare, free MIQ and superannuation and housing. People who have never lived in can NZ come back to defraud us.

    Time for much more effort needed to get NZ citizenship such as 20 years so that people really want to be here rather than buying it quickly and then leaving. Those getting NZ citizenship should have to pay tax, be of sound character aka ZERO convictions, not be a burden on other NZ citizens, and be audited for tax payments and contributions. Get rid of permanent residency as a category and piggy backing of visas so that 3/4 of people come to NZ but have piggy backed on someone else. We need to go to OZ situation where temporary residents don’t get any social welfare and health care for free and can’t vote, aka no freebies for OZ residents in NZ (and those on temp permits) and they have to pay their way in NZ, just as Kiwis do in OZ and everywhere else.

    NZ is a soft touch, at the expense of our own children and citizens.

  4. I have expressed my frequent disappointment on this Labour government and their lack of progress or progressive anything BUT…this is a big step in the right direction for all the right reasons.

    It was embarrassing that we as a nation attracted these people purely to exploit them with shit conditions, poor wages and yet another financial resource and competition for fucking housing investors to drive up housing values and rents. A government sponsored scam, nothing more, nothing less, whilst not quite slavery, rather a more modern interpretation of it. We as a nation are poorer for it.

    So well done Labour! Good on ya.

    This off the back of much needed substantial health reforms and at least some kind of housing intervention that targeted investors. (That has a way to go however).

    I’m more and more starting to think this THE Labour Party I thought I was voting for.

    • “I’m more and more starting to think this THE Labour Party I thought I was voting for.”
      I’m pleased you’re only starting to think that. After 4 years, and this time round with a huge mandate, I’m afraid I need a little more to convince me it isn’t just piss and wind because I think we might have been here before.
      And at the risk of being branded an anonymous internet bully – my condolences to Faafoi on his sickness. I suspect it might have been ‘Performance Anxiety’
      All said and done, my ’emotional capital’ is a finite resource and after 4 years I have better things to spend it on.

  5. This policy would have continued unabated except for two reasons.

    1 Covid

    2 The nasty Natz were denied a fourth term in 2017 and were solely responsible for this policy which like the ECA in 1991 was to drive down wages and encourage the neo liberal slave drive entrapment that has entangled and trapped so many.

    The mercenary nature of the people who make up the National party and fund them are the real enemy amongst us when you look at the damage this policy has done across so many areas of the economy.

  6. “This still doesn’t address the exploitation of migrant workers because they are still bound by visa working restrictions”
    Again, what is the reason for tying a visa to an employer. Can the Minister give an answer? We know its one of the biggest reasons people are open to exploitation. So far I’ve never heard of good reason other than it allows immigrants to be more easily traced and controlled.

    “It wasn’t their fault that we decided to shut the mass immigration scam down”. Indeed. But it does provide a convenient ‘ other’ to blame so we don’t have to admit ‘we’ brought it all on ourselves. And besides, it’s
    “best practice”

  7. The silver fox (Nashy) obviously read a couple of academic books over the holidays pointing out the often promoted argument that you can tailor immigration and migrants towards highly skilled and high paying occupations. If only it was that simple.

    He’ll be expecting MBIE have arranged for Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates for unvaccinated visits whereas let’s be honest it’s probably Tony from Blackpool that sold his tyre business and wants to take his wife Mavis to see her long lost cousin in (little) Aotearoa.

    As for serious investors who is their right mind would invest in (little) Aotearoa right now with its stressed supply chain, lack of infrastructure and lack of skilled workers. You can’t turn Shane’s ‘couzies’ into highly skilled workers overnight.

    This has bust and the law of unintended consequences written all over it.

    • 🙂
      If only MBIE ‘officials’ were as clever as they are in the art of Ministerial capture.
      Maybe ‘deliverology’ will fixit (in this space going forward).
      I’m willing to give it a go if I can see some results in the next couple of months. Somehow I wouldn’t put money on it though.

  8. Industries desperately need to increase their pay and conditions. If someone can get paid the minimum wage (approx $20/hr) to work at their local supermarket or McDonalds, why would they take up an offer to undertake backbreaking, sometimes dangerous, seasonal work on orchards, farms, and fishing boats for a similar rate?

    These industries need to be looking at starting rates of at least $30/hour if they want to attract Kiwis to do this sort of work and stay in this work long term, rather than undercutting them by relying on migrants from poorer countries who see our minimum wage as a fantastic wage and treating them like rubbish.

    • Of course the paradox is it has to be profitable and make a return to justify higher wages rates (expenses). If it doesn’t make an adequate return this capital floods into the landed asset classes. It’s nowhere near as simple as you and the government think it is.

      • Yet your reply shows how the economy is at the mercy of low paid wages. If a business can’t provide a livable income then that business in the modern world should be disestablished. If a business is not in a situation to provide a livable wage I suggest they work the business themselves, thus keeping what profit comes their way.
        It’s nowhere as simple as you portray it to be. You should take advice from Government and you may learn a thing or two Frankie.
        As the old adage says, ” if you pay peanuts you get monkeys.

  9. …”The Labour Government have finally acknowledged what everyone else has realised, that NZs neoliberal mass immigration policy has undermined domestic wages, created a housing crisis and put enormous stress on our infrastructure while contributing to climate change and migration worker exploitation”…


    …”Domestic Working class – Less migrant workers means less competition for jobs and houses for the domestic working classes”…


  10. It’s a major Economic Structural Change taking place. A reorganisation of NZ’s economic base and domestic economy that’s badly needed. So, adapt.

  11. The horticultural industry systematically reduced pay and conditions over a period of 30 years in order to compete with developing countries.
    Once family owned farms that employed Kiwis were turned into corporate farm models that gobbled up smaller units.
    Kiwi workers left in their droves never to return.
    The growers then demanded and got a never ending conveyor belt of compliant indentured workers in the form of RSE workers, desperate backpackers and foreign migrant workers looking for residency.
    When Covid hit and growers pleaded with Kiwis to pick their fruit we justifiably said FUCK OFF
    The Australian mining industry once could not attract workers because of the low paid wages on offer.
    They finally worked out that if you want a local workforce to do shitty jobs you have to pay good money. Very good money.
    A salient lesson for our tight arse National voting hort industry.

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