Reduce immigration and Auckland house prices will fall 25%: economist
A cut in migrant numbers would see the Auckland housing market drop within two years, economist Michael Reddell told TVNZ’s Q+A programme.
“If we changed that target from 40,000 to 50,000 a year to 10,000 to 15,000 thousand a year we’d see house prices in Auckland I suspect 25 percent lower within a year or two. That would take a huge burden off young New Zealanders, particularly poor New Zealanders trying to get into their first house," he said.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters told the same show he wants a target of 7000 to 15,000 migrants a year. He says some migrants should not be allowed in:
“It is not race-based. They could come from anywhere in the world, as they have, and some have been brilliant people who have come into this country as both refugees and immigrants. But here’s what we want," he said.
"We want them to salute our flag, respect our laws, honour our institutions and, above all, don’t bring absolutely anti-women attitudes with them, treating women like cattle, like fourth-class citizens.
"And I’d hope the women in this country wake up to what’s going on, because when you have that being imported into our country with no respect for our views, then I think it’s not good for us long term.”
Biggest contributor to economic growth
With Budget 2016, Treasury identified "population growth" as the biggest contributor to GDP growth this year.
But Mr Reddell — a former Treasury economist — claims there has been no significant economic gain from the high number of people moving to New Zealand over the past few years.
High-growth companies like Orion Health have identified hiring from offshore as the only immediate way to address the skills shortage.
Arrivals in Auckland hit another record in the year to April, rising 10% to 52,870.
RAW DATA: Q+A transcript: Winston Peters
Watch the interview here
So, Katie Bradford asked New Zealand First leader Winston Peters about the Labour-Green deal. First, does he now have a better relationship with the Greens?
WINSTON Well, look, first of all, this memorandum of understanding the Greens have had one with the National Party. And this one, I understand, expires on election night. So, frankly, I don't know how it works. We've not been a part of any discussion. And so, I suppose you're being presented with this option: 'Us two have got married over here, and we want New Zealand First to join us even though they've not been part of any discussion whatsoever.'
KATIE But did you really think they would come to you and talk to you? You wouldn't have had a bar of it.
WINSTON The reality is that on some things we've cooperated with all sorts of parties. You know, on the Reserve Bank Act getting amended, we got within one vote of getting that done – twice. But the idea that you would go out there with a pre-arrangement on a deck of cards you've never read, we simply can't see how that works. And if it's going to end on election night, then what is it about?
KATIE You haven't answered my original question, which was, 'Do you have a better relationship with the Greens now than you have in the past?' James Shaw said you and Metiria are good friends. Deborah Morris-Travers is obviously now the chief of staff for the Greens. She was a former MP of you. I mean, is this a good sign?
WINSTON It seemed he came to that interview to talk about New Zealand First, and I've just seen the interview. One party doesn't go into those sorts of arrangements, because we don't know how the cards will fall.
KATIE But I'm asking you about your relationship with the Greens.
WINSTON Let me make one thing very clear. We have a very good relationship with everybody, as you well know, including New Zealand media.
KATIE Okay, but do you have a better relationship with the Greens now than you did in the past, and with Labour, for that matter?
WINSTON I mean, I never attacked the Greens in the past, but when I said that immigration was going to be, at those record levels, bad for Auckland and bad for New Zealand and that we weren't focusing our immigration policy properly, they said I was racist and they said I was xenophobic. Now all of a sudden, they realise there's a massive crisis in Auckland. Are they saying that maybe Winston was right? So, some of these things in the past are about their attitude towards, for example, separatism. Now, there's no doubt about the Greens, if you look at their manifesto, for a parallel state. Now, we are not going to compromise our policies on critical things to do with this country's social and economic advancement.
KATIE But you are saying, then, that perhaps on areas like immigration you would be able to work better than in the past. Who's your favourite Green? If you had to name one, who would you prefer to go…?
WINSTON Now, what I'm saying to you is that I can't understand why Labour did this, because it's from a position of weakness, and the only beneficiary will be the Greens. And their supporters will find that out very quickly. That's been my experience in politics.
KATIE So you think Labour will suffer as a result of this?
WINSTON New Zealand First is not coming in from a position of weakness. We will grow this party seriously, and all the signs are saying that, all the polls say that.
KATIE The numbers show that. The numbers show Labour and the Greens would need New Zealand First if they were to govern. Therefore, would you not say to the voters, 'Well, this is a viable option'?
WINSTON No, what's viable is what is sound for the country economically and socially. If, for example -- two things go with this -- mass immigration continued and, for example, a parallel state where you've got a state within a state because of separatist racist laws, then we will not go down that path, and I'm saying it right now.
KATIE So voters next year, it'll continue to be the line from you – wait and see.
WINSTON No, voters will have a choice. They'll have a real choice with New Zealand First, because on some of these issues, the only party making a stand is us, and we're the party that's been proven right in so many areas now.
KATIE On immigration then, we've seen Bill English talk about record migration, is it going to hit its peak? What needs to happen? What, if you were in government, would you do?
WINSTON We'd bring people here that we need, not people who need us.
KATIE But how do you define that? Who are you talking about?
WINSTON Treasury put a paper out just the other day, six months late, where they warned the government that a lot of this immigration policy is of low-skilled, low-qualified people and that it's not working and that there were some serious dangers.
KATIE So who do you think should be allowed in the country and who shouldn't?
WINSTON Sorry, who's been saying that for a long time, Katie? Why don't you tell the country that someone has been saying for a long time that this is going to be a great cost? Because it does cost, and the infrastructural burden in Auckland now is massive and homelessness is really a despairing disgrace.
KATIE Okay then, so how many people should we let in a year? Do you have a number in mind?
WINSTON Yeah, something like, I would think if you're talking about seriously qualified to fill those science and other gaps that we have and that we always have had for a hundred years, that may be somewhere between 7000 and 15,000 people. And you would also have this priority – if you go to the provinces, you'll get far higher points. Because we've got all these skills gaps in the provinces which are not being filled because people are teeming into Auckland. The population of New Plymouth is coming to Auckland now every year.
KATIE Just lastly, just on that issue of who should come into this country, do you have in your mind who we should let in and who we shouldn't?
WINSTON Yes, I do into this context. It is not race based. They could come from anywhere in the world, as they have, and some have been brilliant people who have come into this country as both refugees and immigrants. But here's what we want. We want them to salute our flag, respect our laws, honour our institutions and, above all, don't bring absolutely anti-women attitudes with them, treating women like cattle, like fourth-class citizens. And I'd hope the women in this country wake up to what's going on, because when you have that being imported into our country with no respect for our views, then I think it's not good for us long term.
KATIE That sounds like you are targeting certain religions anyway. I mean, what are you saying there?
WINSTON With the greatest respect, I have been to a lot of Muslim countries. I've been to Turkey. You couldn't have the same view about how the Turkish think, whereas other countries, there are some serious reasons why we wouldn't take those people. And the number-one one is their attitude towards women as just property, as cattle. Now, if we want that sort of society, then I think we'd be mad.
KATIE So how do you choose that? How do you decide that? You can't discriminate on the basis of someone's views.
WINSTON You interview each one.
KATIE Every single one of those 15,000 people should be interviewed?
WINSTON Well, it'll be so much easier with a smaller number, won't it?
KATIE But the cost of that! Who's going to sit down and do that?
WINSTON Well, there's a massive cost if you don't. That's the point. There's a huge cost now. In every area of infrastructure in this Budget, there was a greater demand to which they are providing insufficient money. I didn't say that; other economists have said that.
KATIE Okay, and just lastly, do you think our refugee quota should be increased? We're going to see the government make a decision on that soon.
WINSTON New Zealand First has made that very clear. First of all, we want to know who's coming. We're not just going to take anybody; we need to check them out person by person. But the first thing you must do, and that's the precondition, you've got to cut mass immigration of one, 20,000 a year or net 70,000 at the moment. You can't do both.