Treasury’s September monthly economic indicators have highlighted the current booming migration into New Zealand.
Treasury says three out of every four New Zealanders who are added to the population each year are now migrants.
Only one is a person born in New Zealand.
And according to Statistics figures, 42% of those arrivals stayed in Auckland.
Treasury says it is that number which has been putting pressure on housing prices in the city.
Ironically the report came on the same day as a the start of a new Government scheme designed to try and draw immigrants away from Auckland to regional New Zealand.
At the same time work is continuing on a way to make it possible for low skilled migrants – such as horticultural, freezing works and dairy farm workers — in the provinces to get a path to citizenship.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse told POLITIK that he expected to have this work finished by next March.
In the moves announced yesterday intending migrants can get extra points if they plan to live outside Auckland.
But there is a big loophole in the Government plan
There is nothing to require the migrants to stay in the region they have moved to.
“We’re certainly not compelling them to do so,” said Mr Woodhouse.
“I don’t think that will be necessary.”
Instead he believes the migrants will put down roots in the regions and will stay there till for at least two or three years till they get their citizenship.
Mr Woodhouse concedes that migrants are most likely to be attracted to regions which are already doing well economically such as Queenstown rather than regions doing poorly such as the North Island’s East Coast region.
“But the measures will have modest, but over time, material benefits that will enable people to be more drawn to job opportunities in those regions and particularly the setting up of businesses there.
“But there are regions that will benefit from this more than others.”
The big migration into Auckland is also changing the ethnic mix of the city.
37% of migrants in the year ended September 30 were Asian – mainly Chinese, Indian and Filipino.
POLITIK understands that the ethnic mix of migrants was brought up at a business breakfast with the prime Minister in Wellington a fortnight ago and that he agreed we should perhaps take more Eastern European migrants.
But Mr Woodhouse is not concerned by the ethnic mix of the migrants.
“I don’t any particular concerns about the ethnic mix of migrants coming into New Zealand at the moment,” he said.
He said that New Zealand’s immigration history had seen different ethnic groups come in waves; Europeans after the War, Pacific Islanders in the 1970s, the Koreans in the 1990s and now Chinese and Indians.
“It’s just part of that different diaspora we get from time to time – I actually think it’s a good thing.”