David Cunliffe blames migrants for housing crisis

Monday 26 May 2014 5:33 p.m.

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Labour leader David Cunliffe has taken his hardest line yet against immigrants, blaming them for rising house prices.

It follows a 3 News-Reid Research poll which shows almost two-thirds of voters say immigration should be restricted.

"It would take 80 percent of our housing supply just to accommodate this year's migrants - and National is doing nothing," says Mr Cunliffe.

The poll shows 62 percent of voters want tighter restrictions on immigration, while only 35 percent say leave it.

"I don't think taking away the welcome mat is the right thing to do," says Prime Minister John Key.

In the past year 71,210 immigrants arrived in New Zealand - the highest in 11 years.

"We reckon immigration should be at a steady moderate level - that's where our housing, our schools and our hospitals can cope," says Mr Cunliffe.

But it's Auckland's housing market where immigrants are really getting the blame.

"Barfoot & Thompson, top 25 agents - 24 are Asian, so who are they selling to?" says NZ First leader Winston Peters.

Unsurprisingly, 84 percent of NZ First voters want immigration restricted. Sixty-eight percent of Labour voters agree, along with 58 percent of Green Party voters.

Despite Mr Key being on the wrong side of public opinion, he won't budge.

"New Zealand is a country that has been built on migration. We've done very well out of it and I think we should be very cautious about taking knee-jerk steps," he says.

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