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  • rmacculloch

ACT's Treaty strategy is based on defining "Principles"; Is National's dilution?

Net immigration to NZ presently lies between 2 and 3 per cent of the population per annum, or around 120,000 people annually, not much less than Hamilton's population. NZ First Leader Winston Peters railed against high immigration when he was part of Ardern's coalition. It suited them both, since Labour's core (undelivered) promise was a high wage, high skill economy that did not rely on imported labour. Those days are gone. Immigration has gone back to higher levels than it was even during the height of the Key years.

When the former Reserve Bank Governor came to present to my economics class, NZ's exceptionally high immigration rate was one of his main focuses - and concerns. The reason is that the Key government was resorting to growing the economy by increasing numbers, even though average per capita living standards were not rising. NZ's immigration rate is now twice the rate as the UK's, which is being torn apart by the issue. At just under 30%, we also have one of the world's highest proportions of foreign-born residents.

Right-wing parties from the US to UK to Italy to Germany to France are defining themselves on immigration-cutting platforms. Not in NZ. Our new coalition is all for immigration, the more the better as far as it is concerned. Why? Could high immigration be seen as a way to dilute indigenous influences? A bunch of papers in economics show that many cultural values & beliefs change slowly. It takes long periods of time - generations - for them to converge to local ones. Even the children of immigrants hold many similar beliefs to their parents, which come from their country of origin. For immigrants who did not grow up in NZ, Treaty issues are hitherto largely unknown. One study (below) finds "Attitudes towards politics and the role of government, sexual morality and abortion exhibit the lowest degree of convergence [of immigrants and their descendants], followed by religious attitudes".

At a rate of immigration of over 2% per year, NZ will be at around 6 million people within the decade. Treaty issues will be diluted as the belief system of our country changes more toward those of the countries of origin of our immigrants. NZ's phenomenally high immigration rate may have been a "catch-up" in 2022-3 from the closed-borders of Covid, but not any longer. Could our record-breaking rate now be occurring not for the economic reasons which people are being led to believe, but instead to influence voting patterns and shift power by changing the views of the electorate?


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