At last we have confirmation that New Zealand’s unemployment figures aren’t as good as they seem.
Migration between Australia and New Zealand has been going on for years, that’s no surprise but what is causing alarm is the revelation that unemployed Kiwis are being shipped off across the Tasman and given grants to help them go.
New Zealand benefits from reduced unemployment figures and lower social welfare costs, Australia benefits from a source of cheap labour. However, how much is this scheme costing the New Zealand tax payers who are essentially funding holidays abroad for their neighbours and relatives.
The present National government was elected on the promise that New Zealanders would kiss goodbye to higher taxes, not their loved ones. Now it emerges that those taxes are being used to help them leave.
Embarrassingly the NZ government claims not to know how many of its citizens it sent abroad and there is confusion about the annual expenditure on the scheme, there could be up to half a million people involved.
Ska Aston, a spokeswoman for social development minister Paula Bennett, was unable to say how many grants had been paid but said a manual audit of 500,000 files was underway. That could take “days or weeks’.
That’s a very conservative estimate, manually checking half a million files is going to take longer than a few weeks and will require a significant amount of manpower.
Around 100,000 Kiwis leave for Australia every two years, their absence is almost filled by skilled migrants paying big money to live in a country supposedly suffering from a skills shortage.
One does have to ask, if New Zealand is exporting its unemployment does it have a shortage of skilled workers and why isn’t it doing more to train and retain its own people? Or is inward migration just another revenue raiser for New Zealand, as important to its economy as dairy and tourism?
For the background to this article read NZ giving unemployed one-way airfares to Australia to get them off dole by News Limited Network