Media release: NZ Initiative addresses immigration fears in new report

30 January, 2017

Wellington (30 January 2017):  New Zealand is benefitting from immigration a new report by The New Zealand Initiative says. It also found that the current immigration policy settings are broadly fit-for-purpose, but policymakers should be vigilant to ensure this remains the case.

Launched today, The New New Zealanders: Why migrants make good Kiwis looks at the many people who are choosing to make New Zealand their home, and the effect they have on our society. 
”Four out of five New Zealanders believe immigrants improve our culture and society, and almost seven out of ten New Zealanders believe migrants make a positive contribution to the economy,” says the Initiative’s Executive Director Dr Oliver Hartwich.

“New Zealand’s new arrivals bring skills, diversity and global connectedness to the country and its society.  However, we also felt it was important to address the very real concerns that some people have in regards to migration and how this affects the Kiwi way of life.”

“Our research showed that if we are confident as a country, and confident about our economic prospects and unique cultural identity, then we should not fear immigration.”

The New New Zealanders examines the effects migrants have on the job and housing markets, infrastructure, crime rates and what their fiscal impact on the economy is – compared to native born New Zealanders.

In the year to June 2016, 125,000 people chose to move to New Zealand on a permanent and long-term basis (PLT). However, arrival figures can overstate the extent of permanent immigration to New Zealand. PLT covers all people who chose to spend more than 12 months in New Zealand, many of whom are here temporarily.  Of these 125,000 people, 29% comprised of New Zealand or Australian citizens. A further 55% comprised of people who are on temporary student and work visas. Official figures show that less than a fifth of these temporary visa holders gain permanent residency.

Analysis of the New Zealand General Social Survey shows migrants integrate well into New Zealand both economically and socially. Migrants have high employment rates and low benefit uptake. Migrants have higher mental health, physical health, and life satisfaction scores than native-born New Zealanders. 87% of migrants say they feel they belong to New Zealand.

But there are further actions that could be implemented to ensure migrants continue to positively contribute to our society. Measures that let high salaries count towards a migrant’s point tally, private sponsorship, levies, and creating opportunities for bilateral free movement agreements are some approaches discussed in The New New Zealanders.

“With immigration likely to receive a lot of discussion during the lead up to the election, we believe it is important to engage with the government, policymakers, businesses and the general public to create more understanding about the people who arrive into our country every week,” says Hartwich.

“Immigration is important. The stronger New Zealand gets as a nation, the more attractive it will look as a new home for many migrants. So long as there are robust measures in place to efficiently and effectively integrate these new arrivals, we should embrace the diversity that they bring to our society.”

You can read The New New Zealanders: Why Migrants Make Good Kiwis here.



Media contact:
Simone White, Communications Officer
The New Zealand Initiative
Phone: +64 4 494 9109
Mobile: +64 21 2937 250

About The New Zealand Initiative
The New Zealand Initiative is an evidence-based think tank and research institute, which is supported by a membership organisation that counts some of the country’s leading visionaries, business leaders and political thinkers among its ranks.
Our members are committed to developing policies to make New Zealand a better country for all its citizens. We believe all New Zealanders deserve a world-class education system, affordable housing, a healthy environment, sound public finances and a stable currency.
The New Zealand Initiative pursues this goal by participating in public life, and making a contribution to public discussions.
For more information visit

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