Peters is referring to the recent release of net migration figures by Statistics NZ. What do those numbers show?
In the year to May 2015 there was a net gain of 57,800 people to New Zealand. This is made up of:
- 7,516 applicants for residence visas
- 17,515 student visas
- 27,957 work visas
- 4,812 New Zealand or Australian citizens
Student visas are a critical part of our $2.3 billion (2009 est) education export industry, which despite his alleged desire to expand New Zealand's exports, Winston First opposes. Likewise with work visas. In the industry I work in, the reality is that New Zealand is often too small to train technicians in every facet of IT.
Nor should we attempt to - we only have a handful of multi-nationals with global reach (sadly) who require some of the skills that are more common overseas. So it's common sense that we should enable workers from overseas to come to New Zealand. In IT, there's also a huge skills transfer component.
Peters bangs on the anti-immigration drum because he knows it wins him votes. Sadly only a small number of New Zealanders see the great - if not critical - contribution immigrants make to New Zealand economically and socially. Luckily I think most do see it - and welcome new New Zealanders.