Frozen by Opinions – Immigration Stagnated

Everyone has an opinion.  In the age of social media, opinions abound and are instantly spread around the world – some well-informed, others steeped in myth and prejudice.  This cacophony of perspectives has made decision-making an intricate dance between truth and noise.

 Too often, the weight of multiple opinions pulls decision-makers back into the comfort of the past, a place perceived as safe and familiar.  Yet, our future is anything but predictable, fraught with complexities unknown to previous eras.  It's time to break free from the shackles of history and forge a path toward a bold and progressive future.

 Take NZ immigration policy, for instance.  Despite the clamour of varied voices, decision-makers seem tethered to outdated paradigms, failing to grasp the imperative for fresh, forward-thinking solutions.  This reluctance perpetuates mediocrity, masquerading as excellence, stifling innovation, and progress.  In fact, mediocrity has become so prevalent that it is seen as excellence and innovative.  Further multiple opinions only serve to compound the ever-increasing mendicity in policy and decision making.

 What we urgently need is a paradigm shift – a departure from the status quo towards a future defined by ingenuity and insight.  Recent immigration decisions reflect a regression, clinging to antiquated methods that burden both our public services and our nation's infrastructure.  This is represented by a reversion to MSD market testing, a tightening of employer and migrant controls, a misplaced belief that temporary and permanent immigration takes away jobs from New Zealanders and that it places undue pressure on New Zealand’s crumbling infrastructure.  There is also a reliance on misplaced economic doctrine that opines by forcing migrant wages up, so will rise New Zealand wages. 

 Instead, let's pivot towards a model grounded in reality – one that centres on the needs of our industries and the aspirations of our nation.  Let's discard the confines of outdated frameworks, like the ANZSCO codes, and embrace a data-driven approach that empowers the market to set its own standards.

 Crucially, this transformation demands a revitalisation of our government's policy apparatus. We must infuse these policy teams with industry expertise and visionary thinking, rejuvenating their capacity to drive meaningful change.  Only then can we break free from the inertia of the past and chart a course towards a brighter tomorrow. 

It's time for our government to heed the voices of industry and electorate alike, to prioritise progress over stagnation.  Let's usher in an era of clarity and purpose, guided by facts and propelled by innovation.  The time for change is now, and it starts with listening – listening to those on the frontlines of economic productivity.  The first step is for the Government to open up their policy teams to input from industry at all stages of policy development.



Mike Chapman,

Chair New Zealand Ethical Employers Inc