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Are we trying to achieve the population density of Asia or Europe via Immigration?
There is no evidence that any government has had this in mind, despite the occasional pleas from business lobbyists that New Zealand needs 5 or 10 million people in order to be a more dynamic economy. At 2% pa population growth it would take another 40 years for us to reach 10 million. The UK, which is of similar land mass has 64 million. That would take us 130 years or more to reach.
We do not accept that it even makes sense for our migration policy to ultimately lift the population density in New Zealand to anything like that of Europe or Asia. Maintaining our low population and enhancing the quality of our natural capital is the key to raising the well-being and incomes of New Zealanders. We’re not aware of any political party proposing that it’s even remotely sensible for New Zealand to replicate the type of infrastructure that is found in places like Singapore, Tokyo or London and to do so we need to lift our population density to similar levels. Such an economic and social model is not the New Zealand that New Zealanders identify with and cherish.
A more realistic model of how to lift New Zealanders’ prosperity is one which relies on New Zealand’s unique endowment of natural and human capital. The quality of foreign immigration is the over-riding priority – which immigrants can provide the best value to us?
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