“It is no wonder there are help wanted signs from Cape Reinga to Bluff as Stats NZ’s latest migration figures show that New Zealand is bleeding people,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Provisional figures for September show 8,400 more people left New Zealand than arrived in the year to September 2022.

“With a staggering 71.7 per cent of the working aged population in the labour force, the country is being starved of people. New Zealand’s net migration figures have dropped to the point where the economy simply doesn’t have enough people to function.

“The problem is New Zealand is missing around 140,000 people right now. Pre-COVID, net migration was 60,000 plus people each year, even reaching 80,000 in the year to March 2020. Post-COVID, New Zealand is losing 8,000-10,000 migrants a year. Instead of gaining people we’re losing them.

“Kiwis are looking elsewhere for opportunities as well. There was a net migration loss of 12,700 New Zealand citizens in the September 2022 year alone.

“This is sucking the life out of kiwi business. There is a worker hole of about 140,000 people that won’t be filled until we can attract people to New Zealand again.

“Unfortunately, New Zealand is not the attractive destination it once was. Labour has sunk brand New Zealand because it has failed in its core role of governance. Our health system is in crisis, crime is out of control, literacy and numeracy rates are in freefall, and the housing crisis has not been fixed.

“Overseas recruiters have said that there is zero interest to move to New Zealand for all of these reasons. Jacinda Ardern focussed entirely on the stardust and forgot all about the service aspect of government. No matter how well you market the country on overseas talk shows and at global junkets, people still won’t come here if they can’t feel safe on the streets, have reliable access to healthcare, provide a good education for their kids, or find a warm home to live in.

“ACT would remove the work to residence divide on the Green List and simplify the Accredited Employer Work Visa scheme by abolishing labour market tests, wage rules, and make it easier for migrants to move between accredited employers. This is a short-term way of bringing more people into the country and providing some relief to businesses.

“Immigration New Zealand needs to start thinking like a recruitment agency rather than a security guard as the giant sucking sound gets louder.

“Long-term we need a Government of real change to turn the decline around and make our country the preferred destination for ideas, talent and investment. ACT has laid out how we would do this in our Alternative Budget for Real Change.”

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