Immigration is not part of Labour's 100-day-plan, but Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the party is still working on the issue.

OPINION: They stood on an immigration crackdown, but reality hit first. 

If voters were lulled into thinking their new Government would make ardent strides to turn around Johnny Foreigner en masse at the border, the rhetoric of the past week might be a sharp wake-up call. 

Annual migration fell to a 10-month low of 70,694 in the year to October, down from a peak of 72,402 in the year to July, according to the latest Statistics NZ update. 

Migration is always awkward: New Zealand relies on it, but risks buckling under the strain of too high an influx.

Economists have forecast the drop to accelerate to varying levels, while the Government's synchronised backdown from a key election policy to reduce migration by 20,000 to 30,000 has been swift. 

Immigration is a tightrope, stretched over a churning lagoon of gnashing jaws with big teeth. Walking it can be an art form: let your weight fall too far either side and you're in trouble.

Annual migration fell to a 10-month low of 70,694 in the year to October, down from a peak of 72,402 in the year to July, according to the latest Statistics NZ update.

It's no surprise to see Labour winding down its messaging on immigration. It may even be a relief to the regions and business, as well as to the party itself.

On one hand, it's an assurance the Government is prepared to forgo populism for pragmatism, while the positioning also sits more naturally with Labour's core principles. 

Importantly, if immigration numbers began to fall for reasons outside the Government's control, then a Government espousing a tightening of the tap would be taking that trend and making it worse. 

Demographer Paul Spoonley explains why net migration is still high despite Labour's tougher stance on immigration.

And it's clearly aware of the stakes. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters were all singing from the same song sheet the past week, saying there will be a reduction in immigration, "but we're not fixating on the numbers". 

Because if it appears to be tightening the screws, while they're tightening anyway, the Government risks choking the supply of workers businesses say they need and regional New Zealand will fare worst. 

In Timaru, factory expansions are crying out for more workers – two major fisheries and a Fonterra mozzarella plant have faced months-long staff shortages, unable to fill hundreds of positions. 

A potential success story might come from the attempts to poach the redundant workers of the old Cadbury factory in Dunedin, provided those workers can uproot their families to follow the job. 

But it goes some way to proving National partially right on immigration, and spokesman Simon Bridges has been quick to point out the belated realisation of New Zealand's low rate of unemployment against a shortage of skilled labour. 

Conversely, Lees-Galloway is right when he talks up an "infrastructure deficit" left by the previous Government – with current services, roads and housing unable to sustain the numbers of people coming in.

Still, the Government is at risk of over-correcting on that tightrope, at a time when it also has plans to build 100,000 houses and plant 1 billion trees.

Former National prime minister John Key used Westpac Stadium to great effect in his 2008 election campaign, by using its 36,000-seat capacity to claim the same number of New Zealanders are moving to Australia each year.  

The Government is re-working its position, but it's at risk of the "stadia of departures" narrative. Trying to get people to return to New Zealand is far harder than keeping them out. 

It campaigned as the party to "get immigration responsibly back under control", but it may not be the immigration story to define them yet.

(Source: Sunday Star Times, Stacey Kirk)

Newsflash

Decline Rates EWV

Latest decline rates from BMB in the Entrepreneur Work Visa type applications is still pretty high!!!

Allocation times BMB

Current allocation times for EWV's is approximately 8 to 9 months. Successrate around 20 to 30% only!

IPT Report 2017

Please click here for some interesting reading noting that on average still 33% of Appeals with the IPT is allowed! This does not take into account those people who have returned to their country not knowing about the Appeal process or not wishing to lodge an Appeal. Interesting question you could ask yourself: what does that say about the quality of a Decision from INZ?

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