Farmers against immigration cuts find unexpected support in Winston Peters

  • 24/07/2017

Winston Peters is supporting farmers calling for the Government to back down on new immigration rules.

Newshub understands the Government will delay changes that will deem anyone earning less than $48,859 a year "unskilled", after being lobbied by farmers who rely on a low-wage immigrant workforce. The changes were due to come into effect August 14.

The New Zealand First leader says farm worker migrants aren't the problem.

"Our biggest crisis, of course, in mass immigration is not out in the countryside - it's smack in…  Auckland," he told Newshub.

Mr Peters says farmers should employ locals, but many can't afford it. He says it's the Government's fault for creating an economy that means farmers can't afford to hire New Zealand labour.

New Zealand First has promised to "drastically reduce net immigration" to 10,000.

"This is a common sense number that would still allow New Zealand's genuine skills shortages to be met," the party said in a statement last week.

Prime Minister Bill English says immigration needs to be kept much higher than that because even Auckland needs more.

"I'm hearing from construction industry yesterday that one of their biggest constraints in Auckland is getting the people to build the houses, build the roads, all the projects that are going on," he told The AM Show on Monday.