16 November 2012

New Zealand immigration shoud fuel 15 million people push claims report

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A recent report published by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) claims the country's current population is too small to grow in the world's economy and, fuelled by New Zealand immigration, the population needs to more than triple in coming decades.

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The New Zealand Institute of Economic Research claims the country's population needs to swell to 15 million before 2060.

The report claims the country's lack of scale combined with its remoteness discourages other countries from importing New Zealand's goods. The report claims the most obvious way to combat this trend is to grow - using New Zealand immigration as a main source.

New Zealand's population is currently approaching 4.5 million people but the report claims as many as 15 million will be needed by the year 2060 to stay competitive in a globalised economy. The current rate of growth is approximately 1% a year over the past five years.

In order to reach 15 million people by 2060, this would need to increase to 2.5% a year.

"One of the obvious ways to overcome these problems is to make New Zealand a bigger country with bigger companies," said Catherine Beard, executive director of lobbying group ExportNZ which commissioned the report.

"We need a national debate on population policy and how big we should be by 2060. We need to grow the population through immigration and build companies of scale.

"Once grown, the challenge is then keeping these companies in New Zealand so the country benefits from them.

"The alternative is selling out to other countries and losing talent overseas for better jobs and better pay."

John Ballingall, deputy chief executive of NZIER, said a larger domestic market will not only sustain domestic companies but fuel exports too.

"If you've got large domestic markets to sell to, then you can create more scale and more efficiency before you launch into overseas markets," said Mr Ballingall.

"Launching into overseas markets can be expensive and it can be risky and both are a lot easier to address if you're a bigger firm with a bigger balance sheet."


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