Darleen Tana, our reliance on exploiting a low wage economy and why this Government must slash workers in MBIE


The story of a Green MP’s possible involvement in worker exploitation has been sold as a humiliating hypocrisy of the pious social justice Greens, when the truth is that what it actually shows is just how wide spread the exploitation of migrant labour is.

NZ is reliant on a low wage economy and needs to exploit large amounts of migrant labour…

Low skill immigration is NZ’s ‘dirty little secret’ – commentator

New Zealand is addicted to low skill immigration, which puts pressure on rents and creates a dependence on migrant exploitation, according to economic commentator Bernard Hickey.

Hickey described the trend to Breakfast as the New Zealand economy’s “dirty little secret”.

“It’s fantastic if you are a small business and you don’t want to invest a lot of money in new capital to be able to use machines to do your work and it’s actually cheaper to employ more people to add to your production.

“[Low skill migration] is the best way to grow your business. It leaves you spare cash to invest in much more profitable ways… in New Zealand that means land, a mortgage, and then just waiting for house prices and land prices to rise. It’s much better.”

However, Hickey said: “We have come to rely on exploiting a group of people to keep this model going.

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“We have become the Dubai of the South Pacific where we enable substantial migrant exploitation.

“In fact, large chunks of our economy depended on migrant exploitation… paying well below minimum wages… to have people working way longer than [businesses] say they are.”

He said cases of migrant exploitation are often missed due to a lack of checks by “under resourced” health and safety and work standard bureaucrats.

… this is why this Government must slash workers in MBIE.

ACT and National are promising to gut MBIE because MBIE employs the people who regulate New Zealand’s poorly policed and under regulated capitalism!

27 000 Bosses were given the power to import migrant workers and exploit them, of that number only 2 have had their exploitation scams ended and that’s because there is no State policing the current regulations we have!

We see this time and time and time again, State regulators who are supposedly policing the under regulated markets with barely enough staff to look into anything at all!

Max Rashbrooke highlighted the horror of NZs under regulated market

The bad news is that, to investigate 200,000-300,000 terrible rentals, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has employed a frontline inspectorate numbering … 37. Each inspector will have to check somewhere between 5000 and 8000 rentals.

…there is only 37 inspectors of rental properties for 300 000 terrible rentals?

Similar poorly funded regulation is apparent in the 82 labour inspectorates who are supposed to police hundreds of thousands of migrant worker exploitations!

Destroying the Ministry tasked with policing NZs poorly regulated capitalism is a recipe for a very predictable disaster.

What would end migrant worker exploitation is universal Union membership for all migrant workers, but the needs of capitalists able to exploit migrant workers trump the rights of workers in today’s NZ.


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  1. End the scam of migrant labour paying to get employment.
    End the scam of employment/student visas leading to residency/citizenship.
    End the scam of dairies, bottle shops and hospitality needing migrant employees.

    Wff is the mother of double edged swords – Needed by poor working families, loved by the pricks paying shit wages and every government since (even the communism by stealth one), because without it the whole house of cards comes crashing down. Get rid and it’s not only the poor who’ll notice, so not a chance that will go any time soon.

  2. Where to begin!
    The Coleman/Joyce project that is MBIE has been a bugger’s muddle from the day it began. EVERYTHING it touches turns to shit. It is literally a Ministry for Everything and master of nothing. It fucks up everything it touches, whether it be immigration, the labour inspectorate, Gloriavale, Covid quarantine, radio interference, building standards, staff management (people at the coalface exposing their highly paid line managers’ incompetence), etc etc etc.
    It’s own website used to (possibly still does) employers to ‘vertically integrate’ and have them handle immigration advice. It continues to tie visas to specific employers – probably based on lazy policy advice borrowed from other jurisdictions (Except while they’re gradually beginning to get their shit together, MBIE isn’t.
    We base our immigrant policy purely on treating immigrants as economic units. Whether it be doctors, nurses, builders, bus drivers or anything else we are short of. Immigrants’ wives/husbands/children are extra baggage. Refugees fare even worse.
    It’s high time this bullshit ministry was dismantled. Oh, and btw – the neolib government construct centred around ‘cost centres’, KPI’s and all the rest of it makes this relatively easy – i.e. in terms of peeling off various functions and placing them elsewhere more suited to social and cultural imperatives.

    At the very least, it’s high time INZ and LI was removed from under the aegis of MBIE. An institution that is fundamentally racist, and which has NEVER been able to do NZ justice.
    Bloody shame all the Labour politicians of the past were never able to see where the problem was (from Lees-Galloway onwards).

  3. “What would end migrant worker exploitation is universal Union membership for all migrant workers, but the needs of capitalists able to exploit migrant workers trump the rights of workers in today’s NZ.”

    How about banning importation of low skilled labour, and training & employing New Zealand citizens at reasonable living wages? If your business can’t manage that, it isn’t a business, it is a criminal enterprise. The importation & exploitation of low skilled migrants is destroying our society. It needs to stop.

    • yea who wants to work their bollocks off for poverty row wages maybe kiwi kids are smarter than we where…poverty is the norm in uk and us AND NZ

    • “ No incentive for youth” There’s no certainty any more. Time was when a diligent public servant could progress through life as such. Ditto an apprentice tradie in both the public and private sector. Self-employed contractors were precisely that, and not a shady ruse to protect employers. Youth aren’t fools, just young, and nor are they the useless shirkers nasty wee Bill English made his Faustian pact about. Their energy abounds, as does their potential, but the wasting started courtesy of government policy, and I daresay, neoliberalism. The dumbing down of the education system was a legal and moral crime. Then came covid.

  4. Kiwi workers want to be paid decent wages and if that’s not viable they will happily chill and pickup some occasional casual work. Employers cant find suitable kiwi workers because for 40 years stable employment with on job skills training for many workers has not been available due to the non planning and the non intervention. Now employers cant find kiwis and take on migrants who arrive claiming a skill but often that skill is very narrow and the migrant worker still has to be trained to take on the wider range of jobs expected in the small business kiwi work environment. The migrants happily compare the kiwi wage rates to the 3rd world and suppress wages here and then skilled kiwis head off to the real 1st world. The new migrant then gets to bring their relatives here and hook them up with state housing, free health care, ACC, dole payments and NZSuper. Does too much immigration make the nation richer or poorer? Does too much immigration make the average bloke/blokess richer or poorer?

  5. New Zealand’s “dirty little secret” isn’t low-skill immigration. New Zealand’s dirty little secret is it’s visa-farming immigration system.


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