PM: New immigration rule won't solve housing


The Government has announced a new policy to encourage more migrants to the regions, as Auckland faces a record immigration boom.

John Key told the National Party's annual conference that the plan is to stimulate provincial New Zealand, but stopped short of saying it will ease Auckland's housing crisis.

There is currently a points system for skilled migrants where 100 points are needed to apply for residency.

If a migrant chooses a job outside of Auckland, they are granted 10 points under the current system; but this is going to be increased to 30 points.

At the moment, migrants need to stay in the regions for at least three months, but now they will be required to stay for at least a year.

Mr Key told the conference migrants will now look at what's on offer in New Zealand.

"They'll say it's an easier pathway if I want to go to the regions than if I want to park myself in Auckland."

In the past year, it's estimated Auckland's population increased by 34,000 due to migration.

Mr Key says that may drop by a few thousand but warned people not to expect it to ease the Auckland housing crisis.

"I don't think it'll have a dramatic impact. We're not arguing the case this is the answer to the challenges that the Auckland housing market are facing."

Mr Key hoped his speech would be interpreted as a "New Zealand is open for business" – quite the opposite to the Chinese buyers controversy that has engulfed Labour.

But with migration a major factor in the Auckland housing crisis, it appears this policy will make little, if any, difference to house prices.

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