Increase in immigration numbers doesn't faze Michael Woodhouse

  • 23/08/2015
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse (File)
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse (File)

Our immigration minister is not worried by the soaring number of new migrants arriving in New Zealand.

Latest official numbers show there has been a net gain of nearly 60,000 people in the year to July, with many coming from countries like China, India and the Philippines.

Michael Woodhouse has told TVNZ's Q&A programme that's no cause for concern.

"We have a residency programme that targets between 45-50,000 permanent residency places every year, and that hasn't changed."

Mr Woodhouse says the extra migrants are only here temporarily for things like study or to work on the Christchurch rebuild.

Anyone who wants work should "head south" to places such as Queenstown and Wanaka, Mr Woodhouse says.

In the past 12 months, about 117,000 people moved to New Zealand and 57,500 left, Statistics NZ said last week.

Mr Woodhouse told TVNZ's Q&A today there was quite a strong mismatch between where the labour need was and "where the people are" in New Zealand.

"And one of the things I would say is that anybody who wants to seek work should head south. There's plenty of it."

Mr Woodhouse was quizzed about why retail store checkout operators and shelf fillers qualified for essential skills visas.

"Well, you've described them as essential skills, but actually they are what's known as labour market-tested work visas," he said.

Mr Woodhouse said when he last checked the category, one visa had been awarded in Auckland.

"The overwhelming majority of them are going to the South Island in places like Queenstown and Wanaka where there is virtually zero unemployment," he said.