Worker imports as an extension of neo liberal economics


Housing affordability is linked to inflation, cost of living crisis, liveable cites, and a huge number of social and fiscal crises’. The government in their panic to fix it and avoid criticism are following opposition party strategies which will not solve the problem but are delivering strategy wins for their political opposition.

I have already spoken of their special legislative favours that back ‘build to rent’ private developers to help fix the affordable housing crisis. I have already identified the many profitable markets private enterprise will build for that are not the affordable housing market. And we know private enterprise doesn’t build enough affordable housing because they haven’t, which is why we have the crisis.

The stimulus to private developers is contrary to the 1930s model where the 1st Labour government contracted with private business (e.g., fletchers) to build quality affordable housing for the government. As it was the depression business went along with it. The 1st Labour government used the scarce but idle economic resources to focus on delivery on a social good without it over stretching the economy and causing too much inflation. That government used the power of government for a social purpose.

The current government is stimulating house building all over the place in markets that are not even about fixing the housing affordability crisis. The government is stretching resources (e.g. workers) helping cause house building inflation for which they will be blamed. And their National party partners in policy will still blame them for affordability not being fixed.

But worse the governments policies are attacking New Zealand workers. Radio New Zealand website Sunday 21 August 2021 headlined as article ‘Thousands of extra workers to be allowed into New Zealand’. This is to fill worker shortages in aged care, construction, meat processing, seafood and tourism. A extra 12,000 people for work visas on top of the large numbers already approved. Great they think, we are helping business and getting builders for affordable housing, and tourism to stimulate the economy, and more workers will bring down costs.

And that is one thing we know from covid. Large numbers of migrant workers were pulling down workers wages and reducing training opportunities for New Zealanders. And we know this because as soon as business did not have the large pool of mobile middle class motivated workers, because of the travel restrictions, they had to raise wages to attract people. We saw it with our own eyes, and in the data. And Labour is bringing back worker imports with the effect of reducing the wages and related potential training opportunities of New Zealand workers.

This issue links to discussion around Mike Lynch in the United Kingdom, the very popular union leader organising industrial action in the railways. Recently he said he backed Brexit (the biggest act of economic self harm a nation can do beyond starting a war) but he voted it based on his experience with the ability to organise workers and raise wages. Importing workers is an issue beyond just the neo-liberal benefit of a private business to make a larger profit paying minimum wages.

But we see no recognition or discussion by the government about the risks and mitigations. Why aren’t we bringing in more refugees to fill some of these gaps? What about the migrants affordable housing needs, puts pressure on existing supply. Some will say, ‘its okay we already know in Wellington there are hundreds of empty rentals’. But we know that people in existing rentals are not having rents reduced despite the oversupply. Because the private market does not work like that. Of course, some say — ‘we can’t reduce rents as we have to cover the costs of the empty rentals. People sleeping in cars or having problems feeding their families due to inflation is not our problem, it’s the governments’. And that is the main reason, why you can’t rely on private enterprise to fix social problems.

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Problems are a tool to increase their profit. We see evidence of that with public companies financial reports. Higher profits must mean the costs of the company did not go up as much as the prices they charged. They raised prices not because of inflation but because of the expectation of it, etc.

So the government comes across as just listening to one group of people; those who want to run their businesses like they did before the pandemic, at the cost levels they had before the pandemic. But economic problems come from supporting existing businesses e.g. you can entrench the economically inefficient. For example, it could be a more efficient market signal if the worker shortage means the business owner will need to run the business more hands on. It will be harder then to own three or four business. It means the business needs to be organised on a different scale to be profitable. It means divesting of some business to focus on the best, their interest, their most profitable. And this focus means the dropped businesses will leave gaps; opportunities for others, entrepreneurs in New Zealand, to create their dream business.

This is not about a government failure to articulate its vision properly it’s about the actions that they are taking that are articulating a vision. But it is not a vision that is different to the opposition party. And to one or two leaders (not Jacinda) that might seem like good politics, ‘cleverly’ stealing the middle ground, but times have changed. There is a squeezed middle class and these neo liberal policies are squeezing them. The government must build affordable housing and let private enterprise pursue its dreams, without favours.


  1. The country needs a group of people prepared to sit on their backside in a warm office draw a regular pay packet keep their head down doing their bosses bidding and slowly rising through the ranks to exist with a nice pension .
    Then there is another group prepared to take a chance develope a business putting themselves and theirs families future on the line to pursue a dream. If it goes well they hire the first group so both groups win . If the venture fails you start again and hope next time it works out .
    There is another group that is not prepared to work due to poor upbringing and poor role models .Unfortunately this group is growing and which ever government is in power needs to put more effort into breaking this cycle .

    • Correct Trevor, and Mr Luxon and David Seymour do have effective plans to get these people off job-seeker benefits and the like and into productive employment.

      It’s a simple 3 step process.
      If they don’t want to get off the dole, if they won’t work for the dole, then there has to be a punitive cost.

      A by-the-right, quick march, 3 step process. Simple carrot and stick to get the country moving again.

      • Excellent Post @ SM. Lest we forget.
        @ The Right Alliance… You do realise you’re on planet Earth and the date is 24 August 2022 right? How’re your lips after you’ve had them latched onto ‘Correct Trevor’, Dome Head luxon and roger douglas’s little plaything seymour’s puckered and already well kissed arse hole?
        You, are the problem tra. And Correct Trevor, luxon, seymour and all the other lazy, useless, greedy, manipulative scum bags are the problem. Not some poor bastard on the dole or the DPB or other Department of Abuse and Humiliation within the cabal of neoliberal mafioso fuckers hatched in the 1980’s who still bedevil us human, human beings while pretending to be a pro democracy amalgam of people trying their hardest to serve the most at risk first.
        Humanoids ! TRA’s version of a work reality is his/her vision of slavery. I sight graham hart’s case as an example. It takes a lot of people working for minimum wage ( Excluding soon to be imported slaves. You guys are going to be paid even less. ) to build a nice shiny new billionaire. And don’t forget. You must now work ever harder since graham ‘shiny-new’ hart traded in your taxes paid for public resources, the ones the right wing national party criminals sold off for their wealth creation.
        Still wanna get that job? Still wanna try and live the dream? Do ya? Really? Still wanna be some rich *Scunthorpe’s masturbation fantasy focusing on getting off on the knowledge that you have people’s lives hanging in the balance? What’s your opinion on that @ Tra? A bit of TRA la la la la ? A bit of Ooo Ahhh ? It’s you and scum bags like you who did this to us. This is on you. This is all your kind’s fault. ‘The Right Alliance’. Oh God. Where did you mopes get that from? After thumbing Mein Kampf? More like ‘The Feeble Cabal of Crooks Who’s Time’s Up’. What’s that about a petard being hoisted?
        “Hoist with his own petard” is a phrase from a speech in William Shakespeare’s play Hamlet that has become proverbial. The phrase’s meaning is that a bomb-maker is lifted off the ground with his own bomb, and indicates an ironic reversal, or poetic justice.
        * Scunthorpe.
        The Scunthorpe problem is the unintentional blocking of websites, e-mails, forum posts or search results by a spam filter or search engine because their text contains a string (or substring) of letters that appear to have an obscene or otherwise unacceptable meaning. Names, abbreviations, and technical terms are most often cited as being affected by the issue.
        The problem arises since computers can easily identify strings of text within a document, but interpreting words of this kind requires considerable ability to interpret a wide range of contexts, possibly across many cultures, which is an extremely difficult task. As a result, broad blocking rules may result in false positives affecting innocent phrases.
        @ The Right Alliance. Trust me, I mean no innocence in the phrase. The problem for you and your all but alien kind is that unlike dirty little pig torturer douglas and his fawning cronies, you have nowhere to hide. The internet is a wondrous and mighty tool to head Scunthorpe’s like you off.

      • Too right! My 23 year old has not worked a bloody day in her life, Spends most of her day running her professional caregivers ragged. Greedy cow spends her spare $80 per week on frivolous things like medication and other wasteful things, you know clothing, toiletries that sort of shit.
        God I’m so sick of ignorant tossers and the fucking right wing blowhards that when in power strip funding from the Disabled. Every. Fucking. Time.
        I would ask her to give them a piece of her mind, but being unable to read or write at 23 with the cognition of a 5 year old, I will do it for her.
        I. Did. Not. Choose. To. Be. Born. Like. This…. The biggest kicker? MSD still insists on labeling Her “Retarded”

        So yeah kick the bennies and by extension everyone else because make no mistake they mean the most vulnerable as well and lets get those lazy Peons back in the pens there’s money to be made or “Saved”, just bear in mind you or one of your loved ones are a accident away from being one of them. Even she did not like Donkey, now that says a fucking lot. Got to love the disabled, they can smell shit from a mile off.

    • Trevor do the actual numbers support your assertion that there is a growing group that don’t want to work? The unemployment rate is not showing that.

    • People need fairness to work. If someone is expected to work for low wages and long hours then that is why it has become normal for people to go on benefits instead. Saw an add for a minimum waged meat worker in Auckland, they were expecting 50 hours and starting work at 6am (the public transport does not work at 5 am when they would have to leave!). Employers in NZ have become addicted to new migrants and the rest of NZ has to subsidise their wages, housing, health care, childrens education, superannuation needs and ACC! Many of those working these jobs, become injured and go on ACC or leave the work as soon as they can, their families require taxpayer money from day 1! Focus needs to be on bad working conditions in NZ for these jobs that function as immigration scams.

    • Apols but I must share this by Russell Brand who’s talking to journalist Kim Iversen. You should really watch/listen to this. I have as much respect for Russell Brand as I do for Martyn Bradbury. They’re the same yet different.
      17 minutes. Give it a go.
      “The pandemic was a global tragedy… but what has it taught us about the corporate involvement in a healthcare system that’s designed to protect us? I spoke with the journalist and former co-host of The Hills Kim Iversen about how the pandemic exposes the motivations behind big corporate players funding studies and how the media controlled the shifting narratives of what we’re told to believe.”

      • Thanks for link. I watched that. I think there is a bit of a fine line between fact and conspiracy theory. A bit like sanity and madness. But there is truth in it. I don’t subscribe to ‘new world order’ thinking and i don’t think the people in the video seem to either. I don’t believe there is a coordinated plan as such. More like a number of vested interest parties separately trying to be masters of the universe at everyone else’s expense. There is truth in that. The pandemic is peeling back the veil on a number of issues and we all have a lot to absorb and learn from this time now. The paradigm is shifting and we must not lose our heads or fall prey to selfish ideologies. We must not act in blind faith either. It’s an appropriate time to be asking lots of questions and not stopping at the first answers but get to the truth, as horrifying as it might initially be. From there we can act and bring beneficial change. Jmo. Follow the money is sage advice. Russell brands a real character. I bet he was out the gate when he was a drug addict!

    • Trevor advocating for more neoliberal shilling for the neoconservatives’ claiming that there is a growing percentage of people in our country that don’t want to work??? Firstly Trevor why aren’t you working????? Secondly the unemployment is down and thirdly where the fuck is your proof????

      • The rate is going down but many are not getting jobs that are 40 hour weeks and paying a wage that they can live on not just survive . I said these cases of unemployed or underemployed need to be looked into . Poor employers need exposing poor educators that do not equip our children with the education needed to apply themselves need a kicking ? This country is happy with mediocrity.
        Proof is the fact that gangs are growing ram raids are growing food banks are growing in need .At the other end Sealords in Nelson will lose a millions this year as they cannot process the fish they have caught .

  2. The neoliberals love to talk of ‘worker shortages’ when the reality is a shortage of businesses willing to pay decent wages.

    If government must push someone’s face against the grill until they fall in line, perhaps it should be corporate fat cats, not our working class?

    • indeed funny how ‘the cast iron law of supply and demand’ applies for food, housing, energy etc but doesn’t apply to wages…
      .because kiwi business people are a bunch of snivelling cheapskates who’d rather import cheap labour than pay a decent rate….the same ‘patriots’ who wrap themselves in the flag.

    • Spot on. “We must pay for talent” ie unproductive backstabbing climbers, but must not allow the educated and skilled “workforce” to cause inflation. My experience is that In NZ bosses are very rarely the most qualified individuals in the organisation.

  3. Why not refugees? Maybe because we already have enough uneducated, illiterate and damaged people here in NZ? What we need are skilled, motivated and hard working people hence the government’s plan

  4. If we Kiwis to reduce the cost of living – then start reducing the HUGE salaries of MPs, and Chief Executive of Government Departments..example
    – Prime Minister salary is over $600,000 per year, with perks…that’s higher than the President of the USA salary!

  5. Agree 100% – NZ has struggled with brain drain and labour shortages after the 1980’s rogernomics that has made NZ living standards fall well below our neighbours like Australia.

    In order to bring NZ up to Australian standards we need to raise wages and have more regulation on the basics in NZ like banking charges, energy charges and water charges.

    Forget corporate welfare for housing and transport. The less the government fund and interfere in these areas the better it seems to be for everyone living in NZ!

    Just putting a bloated central layer of management on top and having some woke co governance talk is not going to cut it. They have tried before with Supercity, polytechs etc, but centralising and identity politics mantra has made everything slower and more dysfunctional.

    Maori and the poor who are the woke and neolbierals favourite groups to advocate for, in favour of rogernomic change, seem to be getting worse off, the more the woke and right-wingers advocate for them!

    Sadly the woke and right wingers all seem to sing from the same song sheet, then take over other groups like unions or make their own fake one like Generation Zero, in some sort of neoliberal brain washing that seems to be plaguing NZ!

    To stop adding to NZ’s problems, they need to call a halt to immigration until they can actually provide for the migrants and Kiwi’s who are currently still living and working in NZ, adequately, aka housing, transport, health care, quality education and so forth.

    Apparently you need $160k as an income for a family to live comfortably in Auckland but wages are a fraction of that, so don’t import in any families that earn below that. It is a folly to keep pushing more people into NZ who will then compete with existing people in poverty and below the bread line here.

    Our charities and benefits are overflowing with demand, because fundamentally NZ has been allowed to keep pushing migrants (and 50% of migrants coming to NZ are children and elderly who will need significant resources) on the back of a $30p/h job that existing people in NZ can be trained to do, but like migrants also leaving don’t because you need $160k to live comfortably!

    • please define woke if you dislike it soooo much it should be easy..snz

      try getting a bus in wellie at rush hour to see how well privatisation works

  6. It seems NZ did a lot better before 1986!!! So only the woke and neoliberals seem to think that a greater population that is in poverty since 1986 is a good idea!

    “Provisional Stats NZ data released last week covering the June 2021 to 2022 year showed the population had increased to 5.12 million – up by 12,700 people (0.2 percent) – the lowest growth since 1986.”

    Since 1986 more people in poverty in NZ, we have a cost of living crisis, bad education outcomes, worsening health and crime outcomes, police, justice and courts overflowing, youth with ram raids, kids being killed and put in drums and suitcases and nobody notices for years.

    Not sure that many think life is rosier since 1986 in NZ!

    Prefer when everyone had a nice big house to live in, jobs a plenty at good wages, NZ led the world in education, clean rivers and environment!

    • Agreed Save NZ it was better back then. It’s the Neoliberal model to create a lsrge group of very poor, a holllowed out middle and an extremely wealthy group at the top. The holllowed out middle increases inequality. Be interesting to see if this gap increases going forward into the future.

  7. Well said Trevor.
    Must say I love seeing Labour adopt the policies of National and ACT.
    Its quite simply because they don’t have any.

  8. Wages have risen up in recent times so bringing in migrant workers which in turn will drive down wages isn’t negative but simply the economy being rebuilt after Covid. I believe personally that the opportunity is definitely available now to offer working visas to the citizens of more impoverished countries. We also have, and should continue to, offer refugee status to more citizens of impoverished countries.

    • impoverish your people and the economy dies because no one is spending small business disappears and more cartels and monopolies arise…the nats and their corporate owners hate independent farmers / small business, the average rightwing kiwi needs to get that inside their heads just as LINO says fuck the poor, the nats say fuck kiwi SMEs.

  9. Stephen
    That last sentence….mate, please run for PM. We want this overbearing, uber controlling govt out of our hair. It’s as stifling as 150% humidity in 40 degrees temperature.

  10. 11% unemployment in Rotorua – and i would bet it is the same in many places up and down the country, but we like to pretend that the ‘average’ is the rule and thus we have low unemployment! L as good at fudging stats as N. So yeah, lets import some more poor people elsewhere cause here they might be less poor, whilst our own ‘poor’ workers with degrees and student loans migrate to the UK/US/Singapore/etc to be less poor there then here.
    But surely, go vote for these lying clowns in L + G again, after all while nothing changes for a moment they made you feel good, righteous and ‘kind’ voters of the so called “left” in NZ.

    • hang on bratty don’t your fellow rightards claim rotovegas is a dumping ground for the ‘undesirable’ that being the case any ‘measurement’ taken there by definition is going to be an unrepresentative outlier, can’t have it both ways son.


    “The country’s health and safety targets have been scrapped and the regulator’s performance measures changed after it failed to meet most of them.”

    I love how woke safe like to cherry pick to make sure that migrants killing other migrants or foreign companies (in particular from China) are not prosecuted when they kill workers.

    Double standards and bizarre decisions seem to be rife in woke safe.

    Illegally working overstayer dies on the job – ACC payment made to widow in China

    Worksafe NZ’s investigation report found Yu was working as a builder under the umbrella of a company called Star Echo Ltd (SEL), which was the latest in a string of subcontractors hired to develop the Hobsonville house site.

    Although Zheng Jinghui was director of Star Echo, the discussions and work was taken on by “a very experienced and highly regarded builder in the Chinese building community”. Yu was among those hired to build the house.

    On the day of Yu’s death, he had climbed to an incomplete first floor to work in an area where struts were temporarily pinned by only two nails. A co-worker nearby turned when hearing timber moving and watched Yu “trying to regain his balance”.

    Yu “tried to grab at some joists but wasn’t able to hold on”. He fell feet first through to the ground floor 2.9 metres below, landing on a concrete slab. “As he fell back his head struck a piece of timber that was located on the ground.” Yu was declared dead in hospital two days later.

    The investigation report found Star Echo had three previous interactions with Worksafe NZ with faulty and incomplete scaffolding cited in each instance. The company had received notices compelling improvement from Worksafe NZ but was not prosecuted.

    In this case, there was a recommendation to prosecute the company for removing equipment and tools from the building site before either police or Worksafe NZ arrived in the aftermath of the accident.

    The investigation found Yu was 45 when he died with no visa allowing him to legally work in New Zealand after arriving on a 30-day visitor visa in 2015.

    Du told Worksafe NZ her husband paid $30,000 in China for legal work in New Zealand but realised on arriving here that he had been duped. After paying $1800 to another contact, Yu was connected with the builder who was overseeing work at the Hobsonville site.”

    As far as I can tell, the employer was not prosecuted for killing the worker, the owner of the house was not prosecuted, nobody in the immigration scam were prosecuted by police and the Chinese widow was paid out by taxpayer money from ACC when the worker and the employer did not even pay ACC or taxes in NZ for the work that Yu was doing.

  12. The new housing developments PC56 aimed at increasing intensification has hairs on it, firstly are the wealthiest suburbs throughout NZ going to be subjected to the same rules. Or will the rich get a high powered lawyer and have this legislation crushed, if so that is not fair. Secondly the PC56 is based on the premise that those living in motels is one of the main reason for the need to intensify when we know full well the majority of new housing intensification will not be for this group. Many of those living in motels come with multiple problems which is why the National party tried to distance themselves from providing social housing instead choosing to leave it to community and NGOs to deal with. We also know National made the HNZ criteria extremely hard for many to get onto which explains why the current list is so high.

  13. The rate is going down but many are not getting jobs that are 40 hour weeks and paying a wage that they can live on not just survive . I said these cases of unemployed or underemployed need to be looked into . Poor employers need exposing poor educators that do not equip our children with the education needed to apply themselves need a kicking ? This country is happy with mediocrity.
    Proof is the fact that gangs are growing ram raids are growing food banks are growing in need .At the other end Sealords in Nelson will lose a millions this year as they cannot process the fish they have caught .

  14. The Mintos have a little more of the acrid than my own Napier Boys’ High family. We always had a high place for humour and comfort. Coming from English border country where you don’t know what the next day will bring. Backed into a corner we do what an average Minto does every day. But we share our acid hardness for reality.

    Let the govt build house like they said they would first election. Like Trotter said they’d fail by if they didn’t.


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