October Newsletter

In this edition:

Immigration changes – a new direction under a new Government

It will be somewhat of a relief to both employers as well as migrants alike that the new Government has announced that the Minister of Immigration and Associate Minister of Immigration portfolios will be held by a Labour Members of Parliament (Iain Lees-Galloway – Minister, and Kris Faafoi – Associate Minister) rather than New Zealand First Members.  We have been waiting that news before drafting this opinion piece on what is coming, or more precisely, what is going.

The new Prime Minister has also made it quite clear over the last few days that it is Labour, not New Zealand First or the Green Party, who will be leading and driving the new direction in immigration policy.  For us this makes the direction where they are heading fairly predictable on most counts.   However, we are narrowing the content of this article to changes to “work rights” at this stage, as this is where there is the main risk for change before the end of the year.  We will continue to provide our opinion and advice on other areas (such as migrant investment) at a later date.

There are two fundamental drivers from the new Government perspective that set the scene for the need to change temporary visa policy, and they need to be highlighted before moving into the finer detail. They are:

  1. House affordability/supply issues for Kiwis, in part fueled by very high levels of long term net migration (mostly students) in Auckland. The Government are looking to make owning a home more accessible and affordable for young New Zealanders (less demand = less cost).
  2. Good job creation that doesn’t seem to be matched by an increase in youth employment. While there are more jobs being created, we are not seeing a corresponding fall in youth unemployment levels – therefore there is a perception that new jobs are being snapped up by migrants instead of young Kiwis.  The new Government want all jobs to fall to Kiwis, and only those jobs that in no way can be filled by a Kiwi or have a Kiwi trained for the role will be given to a migrant to resolve that temporary gap in the labour market.

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Immigration Changes – A New Direction Under A New Government

For further information or assistance with emigration please contact the Lane Neave Lawyers on + 64 3 379 3720 or email liveinnewzealand@laneneave.co.nz.

Creative Christchurch

New Zealand is probably best known for its scenery and sporting success, but the country also has a thriving arts and culture scene. Christchurch strongly supports the arts, and provides a wealth of diverse and captivating cultural experiences for residents and visitors.

Christchurch has several venues for arts, culture and music events. The city has a large indoor stadium that accommodates international concerts, expos and other events. In the past few years the city has hosted artists such as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, Ed Sheeran, One Direction, Pink, and Leonard Cohen. Bars, music venues and performing arts venues sprinkled around the central city and suburbs provide a wide range of live local and national entertainment all year round.

The Christchurch City Council is heavily involved in organising inexpensive or free city-wide events that draw thousands of residents and visitors. Among the most popular are annual wine and food festivals, the World Buskers’ Festival, Night Noodle Markets, Christmas in the Park, Christchurch Lantern Festival, and a variety of music festivals. The beautiful Hagley Park (164.637 hectares of green space in the centre of the city) is the venue for many of these events.

The 2010 – 2011 earthquakes, rather than killing the arts scene, provided the energy for it to flourish. Community-led ventures like Gap Filler (installing interactive art in the empty spaces left bare by demolished buildings) continue to charm the city’s residents and visitors alike. An outburst of street art and officially sanctioned graffiti transformed derelict central city buildings into vibrant works of art. Even as the empty spaces have been filled with new buildings, the artworks remain a feature of the central Christchurch streetscape.

The world class Christchurch Art Gallery is the showpiece of the city’s arts scene, holding world class exhibitions and complementing the city’s smaller, boutique art galleries. The Isaac Theatre Royal, a magnificent French Renaissance style building hosts national performing arts companies and is the favoured venue for many international touring shows, musicals, concerts, children’s theatre and several film festivals.

Before the earthquakes, the Christchurch Arts Centre accommodated art galleries, the Court Theatre, artists’ studios, festival performances, and weekend craft markets. This beautiful cluster of Gothic Revival buildings in the heart of the city is currently in the final stages of a massive rebuild and restoration.  The project, one of the largest and most complex heritage restorations in the world, will re-establish the Arts Centre as the cultural heart of Christchurch. The Court Theatre, Christchurch’s premier professional theatre company, rebounded from the loss of their premises quickly and continues to delight audiences in another part of the city with world-class performances.

The arts have played a huge role in Christchurch’s recovery, rebuild and resurgence. Creative opportunities exist for artists and performers, and for those just wanting to experience a wide range of exhibitions and events. Visitors and newcomers to Christchurch will find a city full of surprising creativity.

rticle provided by Lisa Burdes – SkillsConnect Canterbury Business Advisor at the Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce.

The Chamber offers migrant employment assistance, and support to employers of migrants in Canterbury. This service is fully funded by Immigration New Zealand (INZ). If you have questions about living and working in New Zealand, you can visit http://www.newzealandnow.govt.nz.
This service is fully funded by Immigration New Zealand (INZ). If you have questions about living and working in New Zealand, you can visit http://www.newzealandnow.govt.nz, email your query to newmigrantinfo@mbie.govt.nz or ring the INZ Contact Centre on +64 9 914 4100.

Coalition will be challenging

A new coalition government has just been formed between the Labour Party and New Zealand First along with the Green Party.

This three way coalition will no doubt be challenging. New Zealand First’s strong stance on immigration will pose problems for lower and mid skilled candidates, as they no doubt try to tighten the visa eligibility criteria even further.

The New Zealand economy is fundamentally still strong however a greater focus of social needs and associated spending will no doubt put pressure on the country’s economic drivers.

The requirements for skilled migrants will be therefore be increased ironically, as New Zealand struggles with continued infra structural growing pains.

Enterprise Recruitment currently have two Directors in the UK at Job Expos, such is this the on- going demand for skilled professionals and tradesmen throughout the country.

We continue to welcome the opportunity to provide obligation free assessments of candidates chances of gaining employment in New Zealand.

Article provided by Steve Baker – Enterprise Recruitment and People.

Enterprise Recruitment and People has a national presence. We remain interested in providing obligation free advice to offshore candidate’s about their chances of securing employment in New Zealand.


New government likely to reduce immigration numbers

New Zealand’s general election was held on September 23 and as had been expected for the past two years the balance of power in parliament was held by nationalistic party NZ First. After some delaying and a couple of weeks of negotiations NZ First on Thursday 19 October opted to go into coalition with the Labour Party with support on confidence and supply from the Greens. What does this mean for the economy, housing market, and migration flows?

First, we don’t yet know at the time of writing what policies have been agreed on. But we can get a good feel by looking at the manifestos which NZ First and Labour took into the election. Both parties favour a looser fiscal stance than National with a reduced rate of reduction in government debt and higher spending. This fiscal loosening will still leave annual surpluses we expect and will stimulate growth to some degree. This will place some upward pressure on labour demand.

However, while more employers are likely to be seeking employees, their costs of doing so are likely to increase with the minimum wage set to be boosted perhaps in a series of three steps over this parliamentary term. This may be a big problem for some businesses. But as with almost every other country there has been noticeably weak wages growth in NZ post-GFC and an acceleration in overall wages growth will be a welcome driver of some labour force reallocation which may work toward boosting productivity growth.

In the housing market the news is all bad for landlords and investors but good for the accountants developing new tax advice. If we take Labour’s policies as most likely to be implemented we can expect a ban on foreigners buying existing NZ houses. The bright line test for application of capital gains tax will be extended to any resale within five years rather than two. There will be further constraints on the ability of landlords to use cash losses on properties to reduce tax bills for their other income sources. Extra imposts will be placed on landlords regarding the standards their rental units must achieve. Rents will only be able to be raised once a year, termination of leases by landlords will become more difficult.

These measures will tend to reduce investor demand but place upward pressure on rents. However, the actual impact on house prices may barely be noticeable because so many investors have already been taken out of the market by first of all the 40% minimum deposit requirement and second the new rules being imposed by banks as they increasingly ration credit in NZ.

The new government will train some more apprentices and attempt to build 10,000 affordable homes each year. In that latter regard they will fail because there are simply not enough builders in NZ or development finance, and immigration rule changes will make the situation worse.

It is likely that Labour’s immigration policies at a minimum will be introduced. These will be aimed at cutting inflows by some 30,000 per annum compared with 132,000 in the past year. That won’t be enough for NZ First who want net flows reduced to 10,000 from the recent 72,000. But achieving their goal would require draconian and ultimately hugely self-defeating rule changes.

Labour will focus their rule changes on reducing the number of long-stay students doing education courses below bachelors level, cutting work visas for low skilled jobs like retailing, and removing the ability of those who do study below bachelors to get a work visa and remain in the country. These changes are likely to hit hardest in the Indian and Chinese student markets rather than countries where NZ traditionally sources skilled people. In fact given planned refocussing of government attention toward housing, health and education, demand for skilled people is going to go up.

Overall, it will take quite some time to implement policies and fine tune them in the coming year. But it seems safe to say that after some initial mild downward currency adjustment the effects of planned higher government spending will kick through and the pace of NZ growth will be held near 2-3% with help from construction, tourism, technology, and almost universally good prices for NZ’s commodity exports. Attention to water quality will hit dairying in particular but may have positive tourism benefits in the medium-term.

Article provided by Tony Alexander – Chief Economist, Strategy & Business Performance, BNZ. 


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