Economics, Demographics And Immigration

New Zealand is up to its ears in debt and a double dip recession is a real possibility.

Despite having a low wage economy and a large number of people claiming state benefits  it is considered to be expensive relative to other similar countries- especially for housing and food. This has caused it to be described on many occasions as a “100 % Pure rip-off.”

New Zealand suffers from what has been called the “Great Kiwi Brain Drain” and struggles to keep skilled and educated people, many of whom leave in high numbers for better paid work in other countries – mostly Australia. Outward migration is at its highest for decades.

“Annual net permanent and long PLT) term migration has eased to 2,900 for the year to July 2011, down significantly from 15,200 for the year to July 2010. PLT departures increased strongly from 66,700 to 81,800 (up 22.7%) over the year. A total of 55,300 New Zealanders left the country, up from 41,100 a year ago (up 34.7%). Australia remains the most common destination for departing New Zealanders. A total of 41,500 New Zealanders departed for Australia, up strongly from 27,900 a year ago (up 48.4%).” source Labour and Immigration Research Centre, Dept. of Labour.

As more and more young people leave the population is rapidly aging, with some districts predicted to have 30% of residents aged over 65 by 2031.

In  May 2011 Stastics New Zealand’s said the  country’s population continued to age, with the number of New Zealanders aged over 85 having tripled in the past 30 years. Half of New Zealand residents are now aged over 36.8 years, compared with 34.6 a decade earlier. An increase in longevity means 1 in  60 New Zealanders is over the age of 85.

New Zealand’s reputation as  being a great place to raise kids is a thing of the past because the family unit is fast disappearing in the country. The number of couples without children at home has overtaken couples with children at home for the first time since World War II.

Shockingly, one in five of those children live in poverty and are victims of what’s  been called New Zealand “brown underclass” – 50% of them are Maori and Pacific Islanders, according to one report.

A survey conducted by Horizon Research showed that the “burgeoning gap between the haves and have-nots is frothing over into resentment, anger and disillusionment” in New Zealand:

Wealth gap divides nation

Those who are struggling are slamming the government for giving tax breaks to the rich, and for the perceived “propping up” of failed finance companies, while there is a growing tranche of middle- to high-income earners who see those on welfare as a drain on the country’s resources.

According to social researchers, the size of the gap between rich and poor can lead to a welter of other societal problems.

In their 2009 book Spirit Level, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett argue that almost every social problem common in developed societies – reduced life expectancy, child mortality, drugs, crime, homicide rates, mental illness and obesity – has a single root cause, inequality.

And the British academics say New Zealand has greater inequality than most countries.” source

Despite the high number of immigrants in the country there is a large amount of discrimination, particularly against Asian people, Pacific people and gays and lesbians. There are no specific hate crime laws in New Zealand. “it is a mixture of newness, ignorance and prejudice” see video below. Government departments top the list of where people experience the most discrimination.

Here are the facts. Click on the highlighted  links to read the full stories, they will open in a new window:


  • The average weekly mortgage in Auckland is $572. “That means an Aucklander would pay 70.5 per cent of the region’s average weekly wage – $812.04 take-home pay – on the mortgage for a median-priced Auckland house bought last month. This is up from 70.2 per cent in August. Outside Auckland, affordability is worst in Wellington, Christchurch, Hamilton and Tauranga, the report shows.” Source (October 2010)
  • *At April 30, 2010 the Treasury estimated $880 million for the net cost of all defaults under the bank guarantee scheme, in mid July 2010 that was increased to $887 million.  The last company to be put into receivership was finance company minnow Rockforte Finance in early May, which had deposits of just NZ$3.2 million.

Demographics and Immigration

  • “A Maori academic says immigration by whites should be restricted because they pose a threat to race relations due to their “white supremacist” attitudes. The controversial comments come in response to a Department of Labour report, obtained exclusively by the Sunday Star-Times, which found Maori are more likely to express anti-immigration sentiment than Pakeha or any other ethnic group. Margaret Mutu, head of Auckland University’s department of Maori studies, agreed with the findings and called on the government to restrict the number of white migrants arriving from countries such as South Africa, England and the United States as they brought attitudes destructive to Maori. “They do bring with them, as much as they deny it, an attitude of white supremacy, and that is fostered by the country,” she said…” read more (Sept 2011)
  • The family unit is disappearing in New Zealand. Statistics NZ’s latest family and household projections show that couples without children at home overtook couples with children at home in 2008 for the first time since at least World War II.
  • Migrants are important to the NZ economy. The migrant population of 927,000 people had a positive net fiscal impact of $3,288 million in the year to 30 June 2006. The net fiscal impact per head was $2,680 for recent migrants, $3,470 for intermediate migrants and $4,280 for earlier migrants. The net fiscal impact for the New Zealand-born population was $915 per head. Migration is coming to a standstill and is predicted to turn into negative figures.

4 thoughts on “Economics, Demographics And Immigration

  1. Here’s an interesting take on why so many Asian students who become residents, are taking management (gag):
    The immigration policy requiring international student graduates to be in management positions before they can be considered for residency is flawed and partly to blame for widespread migrant fake job scams, an AUT researcher says.

    Multiple cases involving the sale of fake and non-existent senior position jobs to migrant workers are being investigated by the Labour Inspectorate.

    Researcher Danae Anderson said the practice was widespread and many of the students who paid for the jobs end up as victims of labour exploitation.
    Disclosure: I consider most managers windbags (and by extension, “empowered idiots”), unless they have a proper past qualification in a technical field.

    No wonder NZ has a skills shortage, they are exacerbating the situation with really thoughtless policies.
    I wonder if the Skills Shortage List … highlights that immigrants will only be considered for residency when they are in management of people holding those kinds of jobs.

    • An interesting thing about work regarding the current generation of job-seekers in NZ is how their Linkedin profiles are completed and presented.
      There is such a climate of fear around being let go before the 90 day probation is up, that many new staff NEVER put their current job in their Linkedin profile – basically the job you see there – is the job that they either:
      1. have been in for more than 3 months or
      2. is not their current job.

      There is no need to speculate about them being tardy or slack, as I have noticed a vast number of people in my cohort either lying about their work experience or completely leaving their profiles blank as they are in their first job and don’t want their current employer to know they are keeping their options open.

      So much for the free market and capitalism … welcome to the new climate of fear.

  2. For those fed up with health care systems in other countries, the future may not be as rosy in New Zealand as they had hoped. Especially considering the enormous social welfare system in New Zealand and the fact that so many young people are leaving, thus taking their skills and tax contributions out of the system..


    Southern Cross Healthcare Group CEO Ian McPherson said the New Zealand Retirement Expenditure Guidelines, released today by Westpac/Massey University, paint a vastly unrealistic picture of the true cost of Kiwi’s healthcare in retirement.

    Perhaps no one wants to admit it, but the reality is that our country is likely on an unsustainable spending path with public health funding. It will be very difficult for the taxpayer to continue providing public elective services to the level it is today.”

    “New Zealanders will need to take more personal responsibility for their healthcare needs, and I strongly believe the level required will be higher than the level outlined in this report. We need to start making adequate provision, otherwise we will all be taking a huge gamble with our future quality of life.”

    McPherson said elective surgery could be expensive. A cardiac bypass in private could cost around $38,000 – $60,000, and a hip replacement $18,000 – $28,000.


    A Filipino pipe fitter has lost a personal grievance claim against a Whangarei ship builder, alleging he was harassed and bullied into taking English lessons.

    Rudy Ponce was recruited in the Philippines in 2008 to work as a pipe fitter, along with five other Filipinos, at Shipco Marine Constructors in Whangarei.

    By February 2009, director Pat Ganley became concerned about the adequacy of the English language skills on-site.

    Mr Ganley believed the skill levels were such that they posed a safety risk. He met with the workers to propose that English language lessons be offered to them by a qualified tutor, and said the workers considered this a good idea.

    Mr Ponce attended some of the lessons with a tutor, but later Mr Ganley and another staff member took the lessons and Mr Ponce stopped going in May 2010.

    He took a case to the Employment Relations Authority alleging Shipco harassed and bullied him into taking English lessons, which he claimed were compulsory. He said this was an unjustifiable action which affected his employment. Mr Ponce also sought payment of a ship repair allowance to which he said he was entitled under his employment agreement, as well as payment for time spent attending the lessons.

    Shipco denied that Mr Ponce was harassed and bullied into taking English lessons, and said any grievance was not raised within the 90-day period required.

    The company said he was not owed the payments he claimed.

    In its decision, the ERA found in favour of Shipco, with authority member Rosemary Monaghan saying she was not persuaded Mr Ponce’s attendance was compulsory and there will be no order for payment.

    The ERA heard that initially the lessons were conducted on-site once a week for two hours after work. The tutor was paid, and payments were deducted from the employees’ wages. A dispute about the deductions was resolved in September 2010 by repayment of the deductions to employees, including Mr Ponce.

    After the tutor left, the lessons were conducted by Mr Ganley, or one of the foremen, in two one-hour sessions per week. No further charges were levied after December 2009.

    Ms Monaghan said Mr Ponce’s English is good and he had suggested to Mary Anne Calustre, a member of the management team, that it was not necessary for him to attend the lessons.

    Mr Ponce told the authority Ms Calustre said everybody was obliged to attend the lessons and threatened several times to have him sent back to the Philippines if he refused. Ms Calustre denied this and the authority agreed.

    “It is possible that at least some employees had an unsatisfactory standard of English and their attendance at lessons may in effect have been compulsory.

    “However, nothing in Mr Ponce’s account amounted to evidence that Mr Ponce himself was instructed to attend lessons when he queried whether his attendance was necessary,” Ms Monaghan found.

    Ms Monaghan said Mr Ponce’s personal grievance was not raised in the time required under the Employment Relations Act and cannot proceed.

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