Monday, September 25, 2017
The country is currently in the post-election negotiation phase, which has been a norm since adopting the MMP system in 1996, except that this time these negotiations are expected to be more intense than ever before.
Assuming that these negotiations are to follow an expected trajectory of speculations and explore possibilities of Winston Peters’ supported either National-led or a Labour-led government, it is important to analyse the major impact on some of the important policies that can affect our community.
Immigration policy is one such policy that is important for a large section of the Kiwi-Indian community (along with many other policies).
Indeed, immigration is important for an overwhelming number of New Zealanders; it’s only that the issue has some special sensitivity for the Kiwi-Indian community.
Undeniably, this election campaign has shown that there is an increasing appetite for managing immigration numbers coming into the country.
However, by how much, and to what extent is the million dollar question at this stage when post-election negotiations are under way.
Reducing immigration to the level that Mr Peters wants for New Zealand, in the range of only 10,000 people a year, could be a major concern, if not scary altogether.
At face value, for many commentators, Mr Peters would share more affinity with the Labour Party than National on the desire to change the government, plus on policies like immigration, foreign ownership of land and property and overall trade negotiations.
The resonance in immigration numbers between New Zealand First and Labour is most stark of all of the policies as both want to cut down immigration on one pretext or the other.
However, the Labour Party also has a huge appetite for massive construction to catch up with the country’s lagging public infrastructure.
Apparently, any catch up on the country’s public infrastructure would not only depend on increasing our public spending on infrastructure and will critically also depend on getting the right workforce into the country.
Likewise, there might be huge potential friction between National and New Zealand First on how immigration policy is being currently run in the country.
At face value, National might be tempted to concede on Mr Peters demands of cutting down on immigration numbers, but this will again come at a huge cost of their credibility in continuing to manage the economy.
National is already committed to boosting huge spending in New Zealand infrastructure through the Public Private Partnership and any disruption in the numbers of skilled workforce entering the country could hinder the pace of development of that infrastructure.
While our politicians navigate through tense post-election negotiations, it is important to reiterate that any cut in immigration numbers under the future government would depend on how badly we want to build our infrastructure.