Ardern: new government will follow Labour's immigration policy, not NZ First's

LATEST: Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary plan still on the table: Shaw

More policy detail ahead of the full Labour-NZ First deal being disclosed early next week.

Jacinda Ardern seems to be holding firm against Winston Peters' party on immigration, but there is a report Labour has made a major environmental concession.

Prime Minister-elect says her government will follow Labour's policy on immigration numbers rather than New Zealand First's.

Labour has promised to reduce net migration by 20,000-30,000 a year, implying a cut to 40,000 to 50,000 from the current level of about 70,000.

New Zealand First's policy was to reduce the numbers to just 10,000.

In the year to September, 71,000 more people arrived to live in the country than left.

That was a fall from the record annual net migration of 72,400 in the year to July. 

Speaking on TV3's The Nation, Ms Ardern reiterated  Labour's policy.

She said all three parties had common ground in the view that increased immigration was putting pressure on infrastructure.

Pressed on whether net migration would be reduced to 10,000 a year, she said "Labour's policy remains absolutely unchanged as a result of these negotiations [with New Zealand First]."

With the country near full employment, and migrants needed to fill positions in sectors like healthcare, tourism, hospitality, agriculture and elder care, Labour has yet to detail where it will make cuts beyond a handful of language schools with questionable practices.

Meanwhile, Fairfax reports that Labour has agreed to scrap the Kermadec Marine Sanctuary in response to a demand from NZ First.

Neither Labour nor NZ First has commented on the story so far, but the Greens' Eugene Sage says her party knows nothing about it -- although a fishing lobbyist says his industry has been pushing NZ First on the issue.

The 620,000 sq km Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary, announced by John Key at the United Nations in 2015, was hailed around the world and passed its first reading in Parliament unopposed.

However, the process of creating the sanctuary broke down in late 2016 following legal challenges from iwi fishing interests.

Before entering Parliament, NZ First cabinet prospect Shane Jones was chairman of Sealord, New Zealand's largest fishing company and part-owned by iwi under a 1992 Treaty deal.

50
Login in or Register to view & post comments