Winston Peters: 'Think Big' immigration - cut it to the bone

23/05/2014

A protest march is not for everyone. Many Kiwis tend to lodge their protests quietly.

If we do hit the streets, it is serious. So, why would a Prime Minister of a fair society like New Zealand say this: "So look, a few thousand people walking down the streets of Wellington isn't going to change my mind." And it didn’t, John Key sold the state power assets.

There is never an appropriate time for leaders to ride roughshod over the people’s concerns, especially under the MMP system where no government is likely to represent a significant majority of people.

New Zealand First is always listening. We have our ear to the ground. We read and take note of concerns in our emails.

These flow in thick and fast from New Zealanders who protest – in the Kiwi way. Quietly, sometimes anonymously. These mild-mannered, responsible citizens are protesting, and many about immigration.

They understand that a political party can take up the cause for them. So we listen and make the loud calls. That’s why we are shouting that the government’s 'Think Big' immigration policy is putting an impossible strain on New Zealand hospitals, schools and housing. Encouraging nearly 100,000 people to settle here in the past year is plain wrong, and people know it.

New Zealand First will cut immigration to the bone; down to the people we essentially need, not the tens of thousands who need us and will become a tremendous cost against the state and the taxpayer.

We do not want any more foreign exploitation of our hard-earned gains over the years. Taking into account people leaving, we have ended up gaining over 34,000 people - three times the average net inflow of migrants in the past 20 years.

There are labels of racism and xenophobia attached to us, but we know we are representing Kiwi concerns. Focused and smart immigration is what is needed.

People’s emails tell us of their agony, as they struggle to buy a home against a tide of demand and high prices, pushed up by people flooding in.

A dairy farmer wrote recently saying the many sales of land to foreigners under this government is preventing young Kiwis from owning a farm. He wrote: “Look after the land and keep the land for the good of all New Zealanders”.

But the Prime Minister says this is all silly. If so, then this applies to Australia too, where there is a national inquiry into immigration and house prices.

As over 150,000 Kiwis languish on the dole, migrants pour in to do the lowly skilled jobs. A commentator wrote that this is good for New Zealand. How? What is good about New Zealand jumping on the bandwagon of using cheap labour to do our work?

We have the people here who need to be upskilled and in employment, while we have reports of migrant workers paying over the top rent for rooms and exorbitant fees to agents to work here.

This government has taken the easy option, and has followed global forces controlled by the big corporations, which truck migrant workers to-and-fro to get the job done cheaply. We should be ashamed. This is disguised as saying "we need the workers".

Let’s be focused and smart on immigration. Yes we do need skilled workers, but’s let’s get our own people working first and let’s attend to our needs first, like affordable housing for all.

Kiwis have proved they are world leaders in farming, let’s keep it that way, let’s keep the land in our hands.

source: data archive