Labour runs the risk of fall out on immigration

Balaji Chandramohan

New Delhi, Sunday, June 18, 2017

As the Labour Party looks to return to power after the general election in September 2017, its immigration policy announced in Auckland by Party Leader Andrew Little has come under increased scrutiny.

This policy may determine the election prospects of Labour Party.

To start with, as observed by political pundits based in New Zealand, it’s true that this The Party is different and has come a long way from the defeat it faced in November 2008 against the formidable National Party headed by John Key.

Many things have changed in the last decade both within the Labour Party, New Zealand and the outside world. New Zealand has come out of the recession which affected the global economy to become a robust export economy.

Students boost growth

Credit should go to former Prime Minister John Key and the current Prime Minister Bill English. One of the factors which acted as a boost for the New Zealand economy was the prospect of immigrants coming to New Zealand as students, then joining the work force and then maturing themselves as residents in a western society.

The above system largely benefitted the New Zealand society and triggered economic growth.

The Labour Party has upped its political antenna by shifting itself as a far-left party aimed at pointing the defects of such a system of accepting large scale immigrants as students in the tertiary education. The genesis of such a thought process started under Prime Minister Helen Clark.

Duped students

In fairness to the announced policy, it is true that in recent years students from Asia especially from India have been duped by the consultants and agents based in India for providing a glossy life style in New Zealand.

Lured and attracted by such promises, Indian students in their late teens and early 20s get motivated to be based in New Zealand and a few of them are ready to forge documents with the help of consultants.

However, they are disappointed upon arrival in New Zealand.

Without much prospect in term of their skills or having no motivation to enrich their already existing talents they end up being nowhere in the tough but rewarding meritocratic system in New Zealand.

Low-skilled workforce in New Zealand feel threatened by the new immigrant workforce India and this is the work force now targeted by the Labour Party as potential votes.

The Labour Party promises to have a win-win situation with immigration by projecting the face of India-born Priyanca Radhakrishnan placed high on the Party List (11).

Tough Questions

Despite all other aspects, Labour Party has to answer some tough questions regarding its proposed immigration policy.

No doubt, the Party was influenced largely by measures taken against immigration in countries United States and Europe but New Zealand is different.

Its export economy is largely based on goodwill from Asian countries such as India and China and any serious flip-fops will have its consequences.

Further, the Party promises to have a skill-based society largely benefitted from immigration but says nothing about the annual Pacific Islands quota as understandably it favours Pacific Islands nations.

The above aspects require some serious discussions from the Labour Party.

It requires some prudence rather than political rhetoric alone.

Balaji Chandramohan is our Correspondent based in New Delhi. The above are his views and not necessarily those of Indian Newslink.

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