The Dim-Post

October 16, 2016

Immigration and changing your mind

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 1:18 pm

Via NewsHub:

The Green Party believes shaving 5000 residency approvals off migration numbers doesn’t go far enough.

The Government’s target of between 85,000 and 90,000 a year for the next two years has been criticised as a token gesture.

Green Party co-leader James Shaw told TV3’s The Nation a sustainable policy should be based on about 1 percent of population growth.

“We think that the country needs a more sustainable immigration policy, so what we’d do is set a variable approvals target based on a percentage of the overall population. That would be at about 1 percent of the population, which is historically how fast New Zealand’s population has grown.”

Mr Shaw says the policy would even out peaks and troughs in annual migration numbers.

I don’t want this blog to be a place where I endorse various Green Party policies, but this one touches on a couple of things I’ve been thinking about for a while.

A few months ago I was discussing politics with a chemist who supported National. He liked the fact that John Key changed his mind about things. ‘Half of what I learned about science as an undergraduate has been proved wrong,’ he said. ‘I’ve had to change my mind and keep changing my mind my whole career. That’s what intelligent people do.’

I think Key’s tendency to blow with the wind has more to do with political expediency than intellectual honesty, and I said so. But I agree that the ability to change your mind is an important trait, and since then I’ve been trying to think of recent instances in which I’ve changed my mind on political issues, and I couldn’t really think of any, which worried me a bit.

But the whole Brexit debate did make me wonder why I supported a high level of immigration. The standard left-wing take on this is that immigration is a good thing, because it is, and anyone who disagrees is a racist and a xenophobe. Now, there are also economic arguments for immigration: it boosts GDP, it keeps the Labour market competitive, it is (possibly) an antidote to an ageing population with low birthrates and high superannuation liabilities. But none of them are very left-wing, or progressive, and some of them are notions the left should probably oppose. If there’s a coherent left-wing argument for high immigration – other than claiming that anyone opposing it is evil – then I haven’t heard it. It seems more coherent – to me – for an environmental party to argue for levels of immigration that are sustainable. And, if voters feel that high migration is causing problems – house prices, high demand on schools and infrastructure, etc – I feel like the left needs a more robust answer than ‘Shut up and stop being racist.’ If that’s all we’ve got then maybe we’re just wrong?

67 Comments »

  1. How is Shaw defining “sustainable” and how does he plan to implement this?

    Diversity and freedom of movement are two leftish reasons I can think of.

    And I think claiming immigration has been a problem needs a far greater degree of proof than what Labour, NZF and now the Greens have presented.

    Comment by NeilM — October 16, 2016 @ 1:31 pm

  2. Here’s a case for migration that a left-winger could be happy with:

    1. There is little evidence that higher migration has a negative impact on people living in the receiving country. The positives (infusions of new skills and ideas, increased demand) balance out the negatives (dilution of the capital-to-people ratio, increased competition in labour markets). This is a well established fact.

    2. Migrants generally have positive fiscal impacts – ie they keep taxes lower and/or the level of public services higher for existing residents. This is because migrants tend to be younger and more active in the labour market. They also play a large role in many countries’ public health systems.

    3. Migration tends to have positive impacts on the migrants themselves. It seems to be one of the most effective policies we have for raising the wellbeing/income of people in lower-income countries. It also works reasonably well for people in higher-income countries. Again, plenty of empirical evidence on this.

    Basically, migration doesn’t make the receiving country worse off – if anything, it has a mild positive effect – and it makes the migrants themselves better off. Given that many migrants (or would-be migrants) are poorer than the global average or suffering under corrupt or oppressive governments, this looks like a winning left-wing policy. At least assuming that we can define left-wing as “caring about outcomes for poor and disadvantaged people”.

    Some references and links:
    https://www.oecd.org/migration/OECD%20Migration%20Policy%20Debates%20Numero%202.pdf
    http://blogs.lse.ac.uk/politicsandpolicy/immigration-demons-and-academic-evidence/
    http://www.nber.org/papers/w14833
    https://izajom.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/2193-9039-2-12
    http://transportblog.co.nz/2015/05/20/the-moral-case-for-immigration/

    Comment by Peter Nunns — October 16, 2016 @ 1:40 pm

  3. And while I’m at it: the “migration reduces sustainability” argument is nonsense. The major sustainability challenge we face is climate change… and people don’t cease to have an impact on that just because they live in one country rather than another.

    You *could* argue that if migration succeeds in raising migrants’ incomes, it will have an adverse effect on consumption of fixed resources. But that argument takes you in some unpleasant directions pretty fast. For instance, it would imply that we should keep Indians, Africans, and Pacific Islanders in poverty, or deliberately impoverish them, to solve a problem that was largely created by emissions from rich countries. There’s a word for that philosophy, but it’s not “left-wing”.

    Comment by Peter Nunns — October 16, 2016 @ 1:46 pm

  4. Puzzling that you consider high immigration numbers a left wing stance. Supporting refugees is a left wing stance. Supporting immigration to keep wages low, unemployment and house prices high, employers can avoid training costs and the right wing can mask their economic stuffups is not LEFT wing!

    Comment by KJT — October 16, 2016 @ 1:51 pm

  5. “Now, there are also economic arguments for immigration: it boosts GDP, it keeps the Labour market competitive, it is (possibly) an antidote to an ageing population with low birthrates and high superannuation liabilities. But none of them are very left-wing, or progressive, and some of them are notions the left should probably oppose. If there’s a coherent left-wing argument for high immigration – other than claiming that anyone opposing it is evil – then I haven’t heard it.”

    Maybe think about how it benefits the immigrant. Increasing immigration from third world countries to developed countries would be about the fastest way of eradicating global poverty.

    Comment by Matthew W — October 16, 2016 @ 1:52 pm

  6. Edit: Peter’s already said it. Should have read the comments section first.

    Comment by Matthew W — October 16, 2016 @ 1:54 pm

  7. You should support immigration because it gives people from other countries a chance to make a new life in New Zealand, while contributing to the country in the process.

    And you shouldn’t abandon a belief just because there doesn’t seem to be votes in it. It’s easy to get fixated on winning elections but there are more important things in life.

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — October 16, 2016 @ 1:55 pm

  8. Patrick Gower nailed it on The Nation when he said it was another half thought through policy. Shaw clearly hadn’t thought about the impact on our global youth work agreements – “it’ll never happen” was his glib response when questioned about whether other countries might limit nzers work visas in response. This is the bye bye OE policy.

    It will also kill our international student businesses and affect university funding. How are any of them going to be able to plan and invest when student numbers could arbitrarily change by tens of thousands a year ? Another stroke of green economic genius.

    Comment by insider — October 16, 2016 @ 2:09 pm

  9. I think the ideal population for NZ would be in the 9 to 10 million range. About the same as Sweden’s is at the moment.

    Comment by Korakys — October 16, 2016 @ 2:19 pm

  10. insider, migration is different to student work visas, Gower knows that he just likes hanging shit on the Greens, because they’re not his tribe. Obviously swapping students with some other country does not increase net population, and if your policy target is steady net population growth, then you won’t be limiting the student swap rate. Duh.

    Comment by tussock — October 16, 2016 @ 2:44 pm

  11. I welcome skilled migrants and refugees for what they bring this country. However high net migration in recent years is a clear contributor to current housing and other infrastructure deficits in NZ and especially Auckland. That’s why it is unsustainable, not for some abstract environmental reason.

    Lack of growth per capita also suggests it’s not doing much for our economy right now either. This is not a permanent situation and it is a hole that the last two govts have both dug. Slowing the influx until we get ahead on infrastructure to support new arrivals seems likely no matter which political parties prevail.

    Comment by Sacha — October 16, 2016 @ 2:53 pm

  12. Even English has admitted that immigration has lowered per capita GDP.
    That is before the, at least, 17 billion in infrastructure spending needed in Auckland alone, to accommodate the rising population.
    And the health, education and housing that cannot keep pace.
    Intellectual lefties like immigration for some reason. I suspect without looking at the real world. Working people know that it keeps them poorer.

    Comment by KJT — October 16, 2016 @ 2:56 pm

  13. Taking the best and brightest from developing countries makes them poorer, and, as the statistics show, it doesn’t make us richer, either.
    Advocates for continued immigration must go around with blinkers on, or they are the few that profit from depressed wages.
    However we should be doing our bit for genuine refugees. Though refraining for voting for politicians that want to bomb their countries would be a better idea

    Comment by KJT — October 16, 2016 @ 3:03 pm

  14. If we let all the impoverished people in the third world move to New Zealand, that is going to raise their incomes’?

    Comment by KJT — October 16, 2016 @ 3:23 pm

  15. Gower is supposed to be the smart one , but hes so often just a shill for national- Id be dead certain the talking points were from the Beehive. Im sure he didnt read the immigration official advice on Holiday working visas
    “Working holiday visas are available to young people, usually aged 18-30, but 18-35 in a select few countries. They let you travel and work in New Zealand for up to 12 months, or 23 months if you’re from the UK. You need to have a return ticket, or enough money to pay for one, and be coming mainly to holiday, with work being a secondary intention.”
    The details for each country require substantial funds to live here even if you are intending to work.

    Perhaps the words must have a return ticket mean something to Gower- hes never read it of course.

    Comment by ghostwhowalksnz — October 16, 2016 @ 3:26 pm

  16. @tussock:

    insider, migration is different to student work visas, Gower knows that he just likes hanging shit on the Greens, because they’re not his tribe.

    Or, alternatively, he took James Shaw at James Shaw’s own word:

    [Lisa Owen]: Well, I just want to unpack this a little bit. So that’s 17-odd thousand that you would be talking about in a year like this one. Does that include everyone – permanent residents, student visas, work visas and people bringing their parents? That 17,000 is the whole lot?

    [James Shaw]: That’s right, that’s the top line net migration figure that you’re talking about.

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1610/S00240/the-nation-lisa-owen-interviews-james-shaw.htm

    Comment by Flashing Light — October 16, 2016 @ 4:03 pm

  17. I feel like the left needs a more robust answer than ‘Shut up and stop being racist.’

    Again with the one-way vision. Where are you getting your news these days, Danyl?

    The “Shut up” line is almost verbatim, trotted out from National ministers to their critics. Paula Bennett, Judith Collins, Nick Smith … they all used the “R” word (or its “X” cousin).

    Their consistent line is: scare stories about hordes of boat people, indifference to refugees and dog-whistling brown beneficiaries is totally not being xenophobic or racist, whereas questioning the crazy speculation in the property market is. They are wrong, on both fronts.

    Comment by sammy 2.0 — October 16, 2016 @ 4:21 pm

  18. It’s not a new thing. 19th century American railroad barons were known to deliberately hire immigrants as strike-breakers, in order to drive a wedge between the locals and the migrants. As one baron, Jay Gould, reputedly remarked, “I can hire half the working class to kill the other half.”

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — October 16, 2016 @ 6:05 pm

  19. Migration doesn’t make a country worse off if your only metric is economic. If you have other concerns, like social capital, trust, cooperation and mitigation of conflict, then immigration is something even a serious-minded leftist ought to be worried about. “Caring about outcomes for the poor and disadvantaged” is globalist boilerplate. Setting your moral sights on the globe is a complete non-starter if you can’t keep your own society healthy and flourishing:

    Trust in a Time of Increasing Diversity: On the Relationship between Ethnic Heterogeneity and Social Trust in Denmark from 1979 until Today (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9477.2012.00289.x/abstract)

    Ethnic Diversity, Economic and Cultural Contexts, and Social Trust: Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Evidence from European Regions, 2002–2010 (http://sf.oxfordjournals.org/content/93/3/1211.abstract)

    Disentangling the ‘New Liberal Dilemma’: On the relation between general welfare redistribution preferences and welfare chauvinism (http://cos.sagepub.com/content/53/2/120.abstract)

    Does Ethnic Diversity Have a Negative Effect on Attitudes towards the Community? A Longitudinal Analysis of the Causal Claims within the Ethnic Diversity and Social Cohesion Debate (http://esr.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2015/08/20/esr.jcv081.abstract)

    Ethnic diversity and its impact on community social cohesion and neighborly exchange (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/juaf.12015/abstract)

    Effects of Heterogeneity and Homophily on Cooperation (http://spq.sagepub.com/content/78/4/324.short)

    Bonus for the hyper-systemizing economists:

    “Although the effect of culture on national innovation levels is well-established, previous literature assumes cultural homogeneity within a nation. In this article we analyse two aspects of diversity – ethnic and values – and their impact on national innovation output. We show that ethnic diversity or fractionalization and values diversity are distinct and while the former has a negative effect on innovation, the latter contributes positively. However, countries are bound to have both types of diversity. We find that countries that are ethnically homogenous but diverse in values orientation are the best innovators.” (http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13504851.2015.1130785)

    Comment by Anonymous Comment — October 16, 2016 @ 6:31 pm

  20. “More than a dozen studies reviewed by economist Michael Clemens, a senior fellow at the pro-immigration Center for Global Development, suggested that eliminating barriers to global mobility would increase world gross domestic product by between 67 and 147 percent.”

    Comment by Matthew W — October 16, 2016 @ 8:38 pm

  21. Solidarity with fellow workers irrespective of borders, a belief in free movement, a horror of nationalism as well as racism, should be starting points for any Left position worthy of the name. Maybe it’s not tactically sound to take racists on head on. I struggle to see a genuine left argument for reducing immigration, only tactical ones.

    Comment by Stephen J — October 16, 2016 @ 8:47 pm

  22. Solidarity with fellow workers irrespective of borders, a belief in free movement, a horror of nationalism as well as racism, should be starting points for any Left position worthy of the name. Maybe it’s not tactically sound to take racists on head on.

    Which would suggest that current immigration policy, such as the points scheme or work requirements, should be completely dismantled and replaced with something which would have no focus on improving the lot of the current population, certainly not low skilled workers. Good luck with that at the ballot box. While not meeting Stephen J’s policy objective of sticking it to racists I suspect the change in the rules for parents of migrants is going to go down a treat, not withstanding complaints that it should have happened years ago.

    The Economist had a good piece on the points system a while back, had never heard much about it’s failings in NZ – http://www.economist.com/news/international/21701753-countries-invented-points-based-immigration-systems-have-concluded-they-do-not

    Comment by Richard — October 16, 2016 @ 11:01 pm

  23. If you’re using GDP as a yardstick then you’ve lost before you begin. There’s got to be more to life.

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — October 16, 2016 @ 11:35 pm

  24. Perhaps it would help to go and talk to some actual first generation immigrants about how coming here changed their life and what theyve done since they got here

    Comment by Antoine — October 16, 2016 @ 11:53 pm

  25. And while I’m at it, I will add that linking immigration reductions to the ‘housing crisis’ is pathetic.

    WHat are we going to tell people who want to migrate here?
    “Oh no, sorry, you can’t come in, we haven’t got enough houses”
    “Why don’t you build some more houses then?”
    “We can’t, we’re too rubbish at building houses, sorry”

    Comment by Antoine — October 17, 2016 @ 3:56 am

  26. Hey, I’m not claiming such policies can’t make sense from a narrow NZ nationalist perspective. I just can’t square them with any “left” principles I recognise

    Comment by Stephen J — October 17, 2016 @ 5:37 am

  27. James seems to be repositioning the Greens a little so as to appeal to voters with common sense. Your comments about leftist incoherence on immigration, Danyl, are relevant to the public mood shift against the left/right collusion. Comprehension of the cause & effect relation between excessive immigration, clogged Ak roads & the housing crisis has spread widely. Only a few retards still deny it.

    Winston waxing caustic in response to the emergence of consensus (http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1610/S00225/greens-agree-with-new-zealand-first-on-immigration.htm) is all about market share. He ought to focus on designing for a change of government – which requires him to develop common ground with the Greens.

    Greens immigration policy proposes annual reviews, and the adjustable response James is signalling is the tactical implementation of that strategy. Putting the number of 17,000 net on it for this year helps show people the common ground with NZ First, and he’s right to agree with Winston that the nominal reduction by the Nats is a token concession to the public mood unlikely to prove effective in the election.

    Comment by Dennis Frank — October 17, 2016 @ 6:04 am

  28. So there you go, Danyl – if you change your mind and take a stance against immigration, you’ll turn into Dennis.

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — October 17, 2016 @ 6:28 am

  29. “workers of the world, unite” Karl Marx.

    Marx argued that nation states were designed to keep the proles down and divided. Immigration is therefore just a minor way of globalising the workforce to uprise against the capitalists. One of the better leftwing criticisms of globalisation is that it has been the globalisation of financial capital not human capital. Immigration is one way of globalising human capital, although the better one is international unions.

    Not that I’m a Marxist, but I think his argument is relevant here when asking meta-discourses on leftwing politics.

    Comment by Gster — October 17, 2016 @ 8:30 am

  30. Immigration is therefore just a minor way of globalising the workforce to uprise against the capitalists.

    And how’s that been working out?

    Comment by danylmc — October 17, 2016 @ 9:00 am

  31. Electoral Reality.

    The most harshly effected community of immigration reduction are going to be Pasifika. If the left wing decides to adopt a political stance that is strongly anti-immigration, they can kiss their few remaining electoral chances goodbye.

    Comment by unaha-closp — October 17, 2016 @ 9:10 am

  32. Wow, the scales may be falling from the eyes of some. It would be good if some on the left thought about the conflict between, for instance, LGBT and women’s rights cf the views held by some immigrants. Cologne or Sweden, anyone? Or Sydney

    Comment by Clunking Fist — October 17, 2016 @ 11:02 am

  33. Rather than let a pathetic number of refugees into this country (are they talking about 500, in relation to millions displaced), why don’t we commit to help fund, maintain and police quality refugee camp in places like Turkey, so that folk can you back to their homes when (!) conflicts end?
    And why don’t we petition our Western Industrialised friends to unilaterally open their borders to goods and produce from developing nations?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — October 17, 2016 @ 11:07 am

  34. Paris looks like fun at the moment. Do lefties know about the so-called no-go areas in Paris and Brussells, or do they simply not believe it?

    Comment by Clunking Fist — October 17, 2016 @ 11:08 am

  35. There are strong arguments that point to high immigration as being a drag on the economy, not least because the money needed to pay for the increased burden on infrastructure has to be borrowed (given NZ’s low savings record) and that keeps interest rates higher, and thus the exchange rate too. A high exchange rate nobbles our exporters. (I have presented this point of view in the current issue of North & South, which is on sale from today.) The Savings Working Group argued along these lines in 2011; Michael Reddell also does very persuasively on his blog Croaking Cassandra.

    Comment by Graham Adams — October 17, 2016 @ 11:26 am

  36. I always thought the standard ‘left’ argument for immigration was the principle of free movement, that countries and nations are arbitrary ideas and any organised authority restricting peoples free movement was an unnatural barrier to individual liberty.

    Comment by Fentex — October 17, 2016 @ 12:27 pm

  37. I’ve been trying to think of recent instances in which I’ve changed my mind on political issues, and I couldn’t really think of any, which worried me a bit.

    I think this has to be pretty rare. I’ve certainly formed new thoughts. And the importance I’ve placed on some views I hold has changed – something I kind of agreed with, is now much more core; or something that was really important I still agree with, but think it is much less important than I did in the past. The party I voted for in my first few elections differs vastly from the party I voted for at the last couple, but I don’t think this is because my views on particular policies have changed, just that some are more to the fore than others.

    Actually changing my mind on something where I had a strong opinion, and now have the opposite opinion, perhaps also strong, is rare. I can think of a couple of things in the regulation of elections where that is the case: I used to strongly favour the one-seat threshold (because it mitigated against the harshness of the 5% rule), and I now oppose it outright; and I used to oppose (albeit not particularly strongly) proposals to change the way people change between the Maori Roll and the General Roll (I previously supported the current system, whereby the decision has to be made as part of the electoral boundary exercise, as the alternative would allow people to go on one roll which would set the number of seats, and then change if they lived in an important swing seat, or if there was a by-election). A bunch of things over time have led me to the conclusion that my concerns are technical at best, and were generally inconsistent with my views about trusting voters.

    I guess it’s nice for me to know it happens, but every so often I do wonder what I am wrong about, because I know I ain’t infallible, so there’s got to be other things.

    Comment by Graeme Edgeler — October 17, 2016 @ 12:53 pm

  38. I always thought the standard ‘left’ argument for immigration was cultural marxism: in order to build a new world, we have to destroy the old. And what better way to bring an end to the hedgimomy of the patriarchy than immigrtaion. Of course, the left somehow expects that they will rise from the ashes, rather than bands of skinheads. Western Europe still seems to be in danger of heading down the latter route. Well done, marxists.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — October 17, 2016 @ 1:34 pm

  39. Given NZ has 4 million people on the same size of planet that elsewhere accommodates 100+ million, shouldn’t the green thing to do be to balance the numbers out a bit?

    Comment by Rich d'Rich — October 17, 2016 @ 3:03 pm

  40. *piece* of planet

    Comment by Rich d'Rich — October 17, 2016 @ 3:03 pm

  41. “Do lefties know about the so-called no-go areas in Paris and Brussells”

    Demonstrated racist lie. Ban the cunt, or I’ll go to Netsafe (once the HDCA is enacted)

    Comment by Rich d'Rich — October 17, 2016 @ 3:05 pm

  42. Denial. No longer just a river in Egypt I see.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — October 17, 2016 @ 4:34 pm

  43. And who mentioned race? Just as happy to see the slowdown in immigration from the UK, thank you. We should really be aiming our favouritism towards our Pacific island neighbours, with the threat of rising sea levels and extremes of weather*.

    *Although I may doubt the threat, in seriousness, our government should really be planning for this eventuality. Surely when it comes to relocation, we should already have put our hand up (and Australia, too) and said “Leave Samoa, Tonga, etc. to us, we’ll see them right, if required”? France and the US can look after their respective territories, obviously.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — October 17, 2016 @ 4:47 pm

  44. Shouldn’t we be deciding immigration levels after we decide our optimum population? I’d be punting for 3 million, which means we’d be exporting a lot of people. For alternative economic views on the relationship between GDP and migration, see Michael Reddell’s blog https://croakingcassandra.com/ (warning: excessive graphs alert)

    Comment by Owen — October 17, 2016 @ 5:13 pm

  45. Are closed borders the slavery equivalent issue of our times?

    http://openborders.info/blog/what-open-borders-can-learn-from-the-abolition-of-slavery/

    Comment by Matthew W — October 17, 2016 @ 9:46 pm

  46. Stephen J @28 – Whoops my context radar was off a bit in my comment then!

    Comment by Richard — October 17, 2016 @ 9:58 pm

  47. http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2016/10/diversity-reduce-freedom-growth.html

    Diversity doesnt reduce growth or freedom

    Comment by Matthew W — October 17, 2016 @ 10:58 pm

  48. “…The standard left-wing take on this is that immigration is a good thing, because it is, and anyone who disagrees is a racist and a xenophobe…”

    Is this the standard left wing take? it looks awfully like the standard Danyl/David Farrar liberal middle class/neoliberal true believer standard take, both being by virute of their privilege winners in the existing economic order and largely insulated from the negative impacts of mass importation of culturally different unskilled labour who then suppress wages and atomise the resistance of the native unskilled workforce.

    That the left wing view might be described as “standard” by a middle class liberal scientist with a comfy stipend is fairly typical of middle class appropriation of the debate and not much else.

    It seems to me the left is more confused than anything when it comes to it’s response to immigraion, and that is because it has never reconsiled certain aspects of it’s world view that are, shall we say, at variance with the historical experience.

    On the one hand we have Marx warning against the use of Irish Labour to divide and rule the English working classes, and the practical anti-immigration attitudes of 19th and 20th century Labour unions, who forsaw in particular the threat of contract Labour (workers brought in from overseas already under contract to an employer) to break strikes, undermine union shops, and pay lower wages. This sort of thing has returned with a vengeance today, with what is effectively contract labourer Pacific islanders picking our fruit, and Indian and Chinese workers cooking our meals.

    On the other hand, we have a sort of utopian socialist world view – ascribed to by the likes of Jeremy Corbyn and described just today by NZ’s own cloud cuckoo land leftie Giovanni Tiso – where the workers of the world unite in socialism and in a glorious triumph of collective class primacy in self identification overthrow the cpaitalist class, who seek to divide us along lines of race, nation and class in order to rule us. This view holds we have no right to keep out migrants, and the working class of NZ have more in common with the poor of Bangladesh than the capitalists of Remuera and the free exchange of Labour is in the ultimate interest of workers everywhere. This view is of course complete nonsense, but is still fashionable in the academic left.

    To my mind, the idea of the utopian universal appeal of socialism lost all credibility in 1914, when the nationalism easily proved itslef a much superior organising principle to socialism. Socialists have never come to terms with this.

    My view is the correct response of the modern left is to argue the best way for third world workers to raise their own living standards is not by using migration to lower those of workers in the first world, but instead to collective organise – with the active assistance of richer countries – to fight for for their own rights in theoir own country. As a New Zealander, I utterly reject the idea we cannot control our borders, and I strongly oppose mass immigration that seems designed to culturally swamp my assumptions about my rights, duties and privileges as an NZ citizen. I generally oppose allowing to many people into New Zealand. Just because the rest of the world is overcrowded is no reason we should be. Our sense of space in our land is a precious part of what makes us who we are. it is our privileged birthright, and we have a right to protect it.

    Comment by Sanctuary — October 18, 2016 @ 9:18 am

  49. “My view is the correct response of the modern left is to argue the best way for third world workers to raise their own living standards is not by using migration to lower those of workers in the first world, but instead to collective organise – with the active assistance of richer countries – to fight for for their own rights in theoir own country. ”

    One problem – it aint the best way. Any evidence of third world countries pulling themselves out of policy via uinionisation? The list of evidence of third world migrants pulling themselves out of poverty by emigrating on the other hand is very very long indeed.

    If you the son or daughter of an immigrant want to protect your privilege and pull up the ladder behind you, good for you but I dont think that has anything to do with any value system other than naked self interest.

    Comment by Matthew W — October 18, 2016 @ 10:08 am

  50. That should say “pulling themselves out of poverty”

    Comment by Matthew W — October 18, 2016 @ 10:09 am

  51. The Asian Tigers are evidence that embracing market principles can drag many out of poverty. So rather than letting all Bangladeshis move here, we could probably do more by continuing to buy their clothes.

    And well said, Sanc. The distinction between the middle class liberals who claim they do what they do (or rather, say what they say: they are notorious for hypocrisy) on behalf of the workers, and the workers and their actual wants. Look at how snarly they get when (for e.g) the ungrateful Pacific Islanders aren’t onboard with gay marriage, or Maori profess a desire for biculturalism rather than multiculturalism. It’s a bit fascist for white liberals (and neoliberals) to impose further immigration upon the indigenous, when the indigenous are still trying to come to terms with their reduced status as a result of colonialism. Must be a lot of fun to be a minority in your own country.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — October 18, 2016 @ 10:37 am

  52. Yet another cliched Left-Right debate on Dim-Post! Yay, lets play ideology bingo! Let’s begin all debates of this type by steadfastly and stoically refusing to ever define what/who the Left is! Then we can endlessly argue about what it’s position both is, and should be! There’s literally no prospect of making progress! Let’s all fall back to our own seat-of-the-pants navel gaze about what Left means to us personally.

    I’ll do my own usual point here, why not! One way to define the Left that could actually be quantified is to take a large number of different opinions on political matters from a big sample of the population and then try to find the direction in the data that has the most actual difference, explains most of the difference in the way people think about those opinions. Then whichever end of that National is closest to is the Right, and the other is the Left. You could call those past the halfway point along this line “The Left”.

    You could also take another direction at right angles to this which explains the most difference that is independent to the first direction, and then you get a two dimensional model of NZ politics. Add as many more such directions as you feel like.

    It’s probably no surprise to you all that I already did this last year, using the NZ Electoral Survey. There is a Right to Left divide and by definition it’s not surprising that National is on the Right. Everything else after that was a bit surprising to me. For starters, everyone else except ACT is on the Left. Also, that second direction I spoke of appeared to line up around immigration questions. In other words, immigration is orthogonal to Left-ness in the political consciousness of those sampled. In other words, there literally is no Leftist opinion on immigration. The two ideas are almost completely statistically independent of each other.

    Other turn ups. Left-rightness by definition explains most of the difference in voter behaviour, but the amount of difference explained is not great. Lots of people far on the right voted Labour, and far on the left voted National. That second direction, immigration aligned, explained way less (as you’d expect) of the difference. Any further directions explained almost nothing.

    In summary, according to the opinions of thousands of actual New Zealanders who were sampled, the Left-right divide is quite small, and independent of the likes-immigration/hates-immigration divide, which was even smaller.

    So this debate is about making some sweeping cliches that explain a few percentages of the difference in the way people opine and vote, and is attempting to hang together two ideas that are simply not connected meaningfully in the public consciousness.

    I would like to therefore free the debate to simply discuss immigration on its own merits independent of any pretensions to form a cohesive leftist position that bugger all people hold or care about. It will still be something that bugger all people really care about, but at least it won’t be ridiculously counterfactual.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — October 18, 2016 @ 10:51 am

  53. The pragmatic left wing argument in favour of immigration.

    Today where it is relatively easy to migrate legally is good, because it means there is little incentive for illegal immigration. The left wing argument is we cannot afford the societal costs of mass illegal immigration. The best way to prevent mass illegal immigration is to have mass legal immigration.

    Prohibition is oppressive, overbearing and unworkable – pick two.

    Option A – If you want a low immigration society, tell us what penalties you will impose on illegal immigrants and what powers will be granted to enforce these laws.

    Option B – Illegal immigrants have no access to welfare and their only interaction with the law will be being put on a plane outta here. Today the left moans continually about an underclass existing in NZ, yet there is $billions in welfare support provided to poor NZers and our poor have access to the law.

    It will require many dawn raids and family break ups to make it uneconomic to migrate to NZ illegally. And our less ethical capitalists will be provided with a large cheap labour pool of undocumented illegals if we have a lot of illegal immigration.

    Comment by unaha-closp — October 18, 2016 @ 11:14 am

  54. @Ben

    When Danyl talks about ‘a coherent left-wing argument’, I don’t think he means ‘the view espoused by NZ left-wing voters’, rather ‘one based on known left-wing schools of thought such as Marxism’. On that’s basis, it’s wrong to say “there is no Leftist opinion on immigration’. For instance, Marx said things relevant to immigration (see e.g. http://socialistreview.org.uk/312/immigration-do-immigrants-lower-wages).

    (Personally I think it’s a sad fl*&*n day when the NZ Green Party is guided by the works of Karl Marx, but here we are.)

    A.

    Comment by Antoine — October 18, 2016 @ 11:16 am

  55. Re #54, interesting stuff, Ben, thanks for that. Your summary seems to draw appropriate conclusions to help catalyse progress. However blog commentary is driven by identity politics and some contributors are primarily motivated to wave their personal ideological flag – mostly red, some green. I agree with commentators who chide these people, telling them that the left/right paradigm is irrelevant because most voters aren’t aligned, but dualism is deep-rooted in the minds of many players and we can only communicate with them by using that frame.

    Re #56, I’d agree with you Antoine if it was thus guided, but I’ve never seen evidence that it is. My critique of leftist greenies has always been about their congenital sectarianism, inability to see the big picture, naive idealism, delusions etc, etc. I could go on! It’s just tribalism really, no ideological content other than an unthinking recycling of trad leftists stances & values probably inherited from parents. If you think I’m supporting your point, and that such trickle-down marxism is infecting the Greens, yeah, fair enough, but that makes it just as valid as the trickle-down theory of economics…

    Comment by Dennis Frank — October 18, 2016 @ 1:05 pm

  56. >I don’t think he means ‘the view espoused by NZ left-wing voters’, rather ‘one based on known left-wing schools of thought such as Marxism’

    He always leaves what he means blank, so that people can fight over it, rather than actually discuss the main lead in topic rationally. So of course every debate has the fucking history of socialism in it, there’s some kind of Danyl’s Rule in that.

    Comment by Ben Wilson — October 18, 2016 @ 1:37 pm

  57. “He always leaves what he means blank, so that people can fight over it,”

    He knows what keeps us coming back.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — October 18, 2016 @ 3:18 pm

  58. Just because the rest of the world is overcrowded is no reason we should be. Our sense of space in our land is a precious part of what makes us who we are. it is our privileged birthright, and we have a right to protect it.

    You’re lifestyle block is probsbly safe from the hords.

    They’re more likely to seek a slightly more interesting cultural milieu in higher density areas.

    But isn’t all this really Winston saying jump and Labour and the Greens saying how high?

    Labour and Shaw aren’t making these types of statements in a vacuum.

    Comment by NeilM — October 18, 2016 @ 6:31 pm

  59. Hey Neil, could be you need to get out more & talk to people about it? You really cannot see that too many people coming in is triggering mass revulsion? If people like me who have always seen diversity as potentially enriching a culture oppose the flood tide, how come you don’t get it?? Not rocket science.

    Re your point about a change of government, there could be a small amount of truth. Real small. Any competent politico will know that a player with gravitas is more likely to make a feasible PM. Voters are less likely to see the change as a good move until they can see who will lead the change. Neither Shaw nor Little yet have the mana to do so – such strength of character usually builds over time & experience. The handicap Winston labours under is inability to see the big picture around the common good and how to achieve it. However most centrist voters will be sufficiently motivated by his gravitas to shift – provided Key keeps losing it & the global death of neoliberalism impacts further here.

    Comment by Dennis Frank — October 18, 2016 @ 7:21 pm

  60. You really cannot see that too many people coming in is triggering mass revulsion? If people like me who have always seen diversity as potentially enriching a culture oppose the flood tide, how come you don’t get it?? Not rocket science.

    I think there is a large number of people who believe immigration is a problem.

    I hold the opposite point of view.

    In terms of Labour and the Greens I would expect leftish parties to be very careful of what they say regarding immigration – they are tre very politicians I’ve would hope to be able to challenge popular option if they believed it to be wrong.

    But what they have been saying is ill-conceived, they provide no evidence immigration is harmful. They accept Winston Peters’ framing.

    It’s not principled.

    Comment by NeilM — October 18, 2016 @ 10:00 pm

  61. There is ample evidence of the harm done by immigration. Maori have been aware of it for a century.
    Those of us in the real world, not overly self esteeming self called lefty academics, see the damage done to our society, by immigration used to attack wages and social advances, the effect on infrastucture, services and incomes and the damage done to developing countries by the West stealing their best and brightest.

    Comment by KJT — October 18, 2016 @ 10:21 pm

  62. Yeah but why expect principles to drive the politics of immigration? Seems likely to be the #1 election issue so I’d expect pragmatism to be the prevalent stance of all parties aspiring to become part of government. So, to position themselves appropriately, they all need to be seen to be on the same page to the voters. Besides, isn’t acting in accord with the public mood a basic principle of democracy?

    Comment by Dennis Frank — October 19, 2016 @ 11:15 am

  63. This jumped out at me in today’s Herald:

    “Work visas were approved in the year to June for 1005 aged or disabled care workers, at least 2846 building trades people and labourers, 3129 dairy farmers and farm workers, and at least 8245 people in hospitality jobs, including 4218 chefs.”

    Given that the next para talks about 778 chefs over the same period, it does make me wonder what the remaining 7467 highly skilled hospitality workers are doing that NZers can’t.

    Comment by Gregor W — October 19, 2016 @ 1:59 pm

  64. Gregor W, why should we run our immigration policy based on the lump of labour fallcy? Its absurd.

    Comment by Matthew W — October 19, 2016 @ 9:23 pm

  65. Matthew W – just an observation, not a policy prescription.

    Given that the Govt policy seems to be predicated on importation of skilled labour under a points system, it would be interesting to know what a skilled non-chef hospital role is. I’m making an assumption that they’re likely to be at the entry level end of the spectrum / not a huge driver of economic growth.

    They could also be temp visas I guess but it’s hard to know.

    Comment by Gregor W — October 20, 2016 @ 7:25 am


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: