“Today’s net migration figures from Stats NZ show that the floodgates have opened and New Zealand needs real change to turn things around,” says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“Figures show that 11,500 more people are choosing to leave and build a life somewhere else than those who have come to make New Zealand their home. Stats NZ says the driving factor for this is our economic and labour market conditions and immigration policy compared to other countries.

“This is the result of bungles on both ends, people are leaving because Labour locked the economy down and borrowed $50 billion leaving us with a mountain of debt and rising prices. While people are struggling to get into the country because of Immigration New Zealand’s archaic regulations and slow processing times making it near impossible.

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

“They should also take some tips from the banks on how to process applications, as their current leisurely processes create yet another barrier for people entering the country.

“We’re seeing the implications of the Government’s closed border attitude in our current labour shortage. Orchards can’t get fruit pickers. Building sites can’t get builders. Hospitals can’t get nurses. Farms can’t get milkers. There are shortages of essential workers that are creating a wage-price spiral.

“ACT says we need real change to shake up the immigration sector and provide immediate relief to struggling Kiwi businesses.

As an immediate fix, ACT would:

  • Provide all occupations on the ‘Green List’ a fast-track to residency by removing the ‘work to residence’ divide
  • 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.

“Immigration policy should be simple to navigate and welcoming so that the New Zealand economy can grow and more locals can be employed through job creation and investment. The Government has had more than two years of effectively zero immigration, yet the problems and backlogs persist.

“We need real change to turn the decline around and make our country the preferred destination for ideas, talent and investment.“

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David Seymour