Venkat Raman –
Prime Minister John Key has signalled a change in immigration policy to create a more balanced demographic development, rather than ‘population explosion’ in one city.
Inaugurating this year’s activities of the New Zealand Asian Leaders (NZAL) at the Auckland Art Gallery on February 26, he said that New Zealand should reposition itself as a smart, high technology and high quality economy.
“International students are a welcome addition to New Zealand. They come to our country to be educated, and then go on to get jobs and residency. This is good for the economy. We do export education well. We provide top quality education in a safe and secure environment,” he said.
Mr Key said that the challenge now is to improve the quality of education delivery and ensure that we remain a welcoming nation with increasing reputation.
“New Zealand should be innovative in order to bring more people here. The government may look at an Immigration Policy, which could introduce a points system to encourage and reward going to the regions,” he said.
Although he did not specify any imminent change in immigration policy, Mr Key indicated that New Zealand should have a smart economy to move with the evolving trends. Immigration is seen as an instrument of change.
Stating that export education is a significant income earner, he said the industry currently accounts for $2.85 billion annually, with higher expectations over the next ten years.
“The Government’s target is to reach annual earnings of $5 billion by 2025. Export Education cross-subsidises other education activities in early childhood services, schools and tertiary education organisations,” Mr Key said.
According to him, as the country’s population becomes more diverse with increasing number of migrants, organisations like NZAL become more important.
“Auckland is the second most diverse city in the world, behind Vancouver. As we celebrate our diversity and multiculturalism, the leadership of NZAL would become critical and central to our progress and prosperity,” he said.
Auckland Council Chief Executive Stephen Town hosted the event.
Among the other speakers were Lester Khoo, Director, International Relations & Development, AUT, Southern Institute of Technology Deputy Chief Executive (Corporate) Bharat Guha, Crowe Horwarth Managing Principal Andrews Sayers and BNZ Managing Director Anthony Healy.
NZAL Founder-Chairman Mai Chen (who is the Managing Partner of Chen Palmers Public Law Specialists) said that the vision of the Organisation is to maximise the country’s successful business interface with Asia by drawing on the considerable expertise and knowledge of top Asian New Zealanders about Asia.
“There are many in the Indian community who can make that contribution, and we want them as our members. We provide a place for New Zealand Asian leaders who are CEOs or leaders to enjoy peer-to- peer support and to have visibility with New Zealand companies doing business with Asia or wanting to do so,” she said in an article that she wrote for Indian Newslink (February 1, 2015).
Prime Minister John Key speaking at the 2015 inaugural session of New Zealand Asian Leaders in Auckland on February 26, with Mai Chen (standing, left), Anthony Healy, Internal Affairs Deputy Chief Executive Mervin Singham and Auckland Art Gallery Director Rhana Devenport (seated, right).