June 5, 2015 The Government is set to give skilled migrants, investors and those planning to bring businesses to New Zealand extra points if they settle outside of Auckland.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse told The Nation it could happen within months.
Labour says it’s a good idea, but the Government is lacking a regional development plan to support it.
Skilled migrants and those applying to live in New Zealand under entrepreneur visas already gain 10 points in the immigration points system if they say they intend to settle outside of Auckland. That could soon get a boost.
“Those entrepreneurs, those innovators who could make a contribution to regional development, it is possible for us to bump up the points settings to incentivise that,” says Mr Woodhouse.
Immigration researcher Paul Spoonley says too many skilled migrants go to Auckland and incentives are about more than just points.
“Go talk to employers in the region and consider conditions,” says Mr Spoonley. “Do they have to stay there for a period of time?”
Labour says National is stealing Labour’s policy, and agrees it’s about jobs.
“There’s no point rolling out the type of incentives to go to other parts of New Zealand unless there’s a regional development programme, People are only going to stay in those parts of the country if there are jobs.”
Net migration surged to 56,000 in the year to March, but the minister is not concerned about the number of those staying in Auckland.
“About 40 percent of the people who gain residence do so in Auckland, and that’s about right I think,” says Mr Woodhouse.
Mr Woodhouse says long-term temporary migrants helping with the Canterbury rebuild, in orchards in Hawke’s Bay, Marlborough and central Otago, as well as working holidaymakers in Queenstown are not driving up Auckland house prices.
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