As you will have seen from Labour leader David Shearer’s recent reshuffle, all MPs, ranked or not, have been given significant portfolios.
I’ve got two portfolios – one I’ve had for the past year (labour) and a new one (immigration), both of which I am pleased to have been given.
Immigration is closely associated with labour market issues, so there are many questions. For example :
- Have we got the balance right between the need for skilled workers, and the growing skills gap among New Zealanders?
- When we bring skilled migrants to New Zealand, do we treat them fairly? (Lianne wrote an excellent piece on this last year)
- Are we taking the easy option in cases when it seems too hard to get Kiwis to work in low wage jobs – ie aged care and other caregiving work?
- Are our schemes, such as the RSE scheme working well, or are there things we could do better?
- Have the government’s schemes such as Immigration Plus or the Immigration Retirement Package for wealthy immigrants delivered?
- And the biggie : why does Australia continue to attract skilled migrants from New Zealand and what should be done about it?
Let me make it clear. I’m not into attacking immigrant communities, or doing a Winston Peters. Immigration has been an essential part of New Zealand history and the building of our nation. We all came from somewhere else, whether it was in the last two centuries, or hundreds of years ago. We all have family stories, some recent and some from times past. They all contributed to who we are as Kiwis today, and will continue to do so.
But I am interested in how we do things better, more openly, more fairly and more transparently.
So your views are very welcome.