Wednesday, 14 May 2008

It's not just Labour who shoulders the blame for 'brain drain'

It's just tragic watching New Zealanders with get-up-and-go who are getting up and going to Australia.  These people were New Zealand's backbone -- skilled tradespeople, middle managers, nurses, teachers, young doctors.

NetMigrationAustralia With numbers leaving already in their thousands (and the graph at right from Bernard Hickey's site suggests the number is if anything accelerating), a recent poll suggests as many as 1 in 10 adult New Zealanders is "fed up with high interest rates, worried about the housing market, and want better wages," and is thinking about leaving the country to get them.

    Kiwis say New Zealand is no longer the safe and happy country they grew up in and many are fed up with being told how to run their lives, and not enough attention going on law and order and controlling crime.

Since these are all problems either manufactured or made worse by government, it's only natural the 'brain drain' has already become an election issue -- and the National Party DVD in which John Key stands in the middle of an empty football stadium to show the numbers that leave annually for Australia strongly suggests his party intends to make the transtasman exodus a major election issue. But as the Herald points out,

    National's right to point to the increase in the figures is not unqualified: Key may like to remind himself that when National took office in 1990 it inherited an almost-unheard-of transtasman net migration gain of 1200 which it managed to turn into a loss of almost 25,000 by the time it lost the Treasury benches to Labour at the end of the decade. The worst year ever was to March 2001, arguably as attributable to National as to Labour. And he might like to specify what precisely a National-led Government would do to turn the tide...

John KeyPrecisely.  It's all very well playing "me too" to win an election, but it's no good when it's those very policies they're "me too-ing" that are driving people away.

And here's something that should really concentrate the minds of those in the National Party who want to use the trans-Tasman exodus as an election issue: since most people emigrate based on long-term expectations (and included in those expectation would be the quite reasonable assumption that National will win the November election), they're not just showing a lack of confidence in what Labour is already doing to the country, they're expressing almost equal lack of confidence in what National will do.  They've already factored in their expectations of how little a John Key administration will do to change the country, and they've realised Labour-Lite is as bad for their future as Labour.

In other words, the reason for that empty stadium John Key's using for electioneering is as much him and his party as it is Helen Clark. 

Think about that one.


  1. Yep, National hasn't communicated (as yet) any compelling plan for cleaning up the mess.Can't see the numbers of people escaping the gulag, declining anytime soon:

  2. That article makes a very good point. 1-0 PC versus John Clueless.

  3. I had a look at the Year Book, and there seems to be a pretty close relationship to when Govts change and migration, ie, when Muldoon came in, in 1975, there was a net gain of 100,000, but in a net outflow of 81,000 5 years later.

    By 1985, 5000 had come in and by 1990 35,000 had left. Under National 1991 to 1997 they flooded in, and reversed from 1998/99. With Labour they came back, espec. after 911, and then flooded out till today.

    I get the impression of a good many people who are quite mobile but easily get the grumps and move on again.. they come in hope and leave when things turn down (from their POV).

    And isn't that about what we'd expect? People are globalised, citizens of the world, mobile and carry their skills in their heads.

    I've just recently been involved in appointing a senior management type, and most of the CVs we received had overseas experience including all we interviewed, and 50% were migrants. It drove home to me that we are in a global market and people stay only as long as we are a good market.

    It seems to me that Key's job is not bull at a gate stuff, but to make people want to stay, and that initially means getting net pay right, inflation under control and exports moving again.. and the timing is right for all three.


  4. Elijah Lineberry14 May 2008, 16:10:00

    If I am honest with myself, my only objection to a 'brain drain' and subsequent replacement of these people by foreigners, is a nostalgic view of New Zealand being an edge of the Empire 'Colonial Village' and having a British Anglo-Saxon population, but..gosh..things change and we must shrug our shoulders and accept it.

    I heard Sir Robert Jones talking about this last week.

    His view is that it does not particularly matter if people leave NZ, and we should concentrate not on those departing but on attracting 'economic migrants' to our fine Islands as these new chums contribute a great deal.

    He makes the point that it does make New Zealand a bit more interesting, for example the Auckland CBD becoming a mini Hong Kong is something I rather like, the smells and different people around is rather fun; and even my own street is full of Negroes and Indians from BongoBongo-land and a couple of dozen other places all working hard driving taxis and owning dairies..and yes, difficult to see it is actually a bad thing.

  5. Yup. Saw an newly arrived immigrant working on a gas fitting job yesterday. Searching for a CNG leak with a cigarette lighter he was.

    I checked him out. According to NZQA he's qualified...

    Plenty more arriving every day like that one. You guys are getting conned!

    Wait until I tell you about the guys doing boiler repair and certifications.....

    Maaaaate, like you say. It don't matter who arrive and who leave. Not.


  6. LGM

    I don't realy get the message of your post. Are you saying immigration is a bad thing or a good thing?

  7. Hello Hanso

    What I am pointing out is that that many of the "skilled" and "qualified" immigrants ("skilled" and "qualified" according to the government's measures and definitions) are anything but.

    As an example, the guy searching for the CNG leak with a cigarette lighter would have caused an explosion had he not been stopped. He needed to be whacked with a piece of 4x2 to knock him off a ladder and get him away from the pipeline, as he didn't speak sufficient English to understand warnings being yelled to him (or he choose not to understand- cunning ignorant bastard).

    Numerical data and statistics about how many people enter and leave fail to convey much of worth or real meaning (now where have we come across that problem before!). What is presently occurring for NZ is people of skill, experience, qualification (in the real sense, not the govt monkey business definitions of convenience) are bailing out. They go where things are better for them. The new-comers, conveniently imported to replace them and fill the numerical gaps, fail to match those leaving in quality or intelligence. Sure the numbers look good and "balance". Sure you can get high priced office chair-warmers easy (most of whom are a waste of space anyhow). Sure you can get plenty of keen immigrants who can fill in an application form properly. Try getting someone who understands a high pressure steam boiler, say; a guy that you would trust to certify one as AOK and operate it properly. Think about it. There are guys out there who are signing off stuff that they don't know the first thing about. Be careful where you are working Hanso! There are plenty of sites which are now too dangerous to contemplate being anywhere near. But the paperwork is AOK, if that helps.

    Or try this, next time you are driving down the freeway, take a look at the big truck and trailer next to you. Who welded the tow? Who checked those tyres?

    Or try this, next time you eat out, think about what's up in the kitchen.

    Or try this, next time you visit the hospital and see a "doctor" searching the sharps disposal box for the "cleanest" syringe to use, think about what's up with that.

    Now I know that Kiwis can be complete asses on their own account (you don't need to be called some silly sounding furren name for that), but there are many capable and competant Kiwis who are fed up and bailing out of here (dozens per week). The replacements, in general, are not up to the tasks and responsibilities that they are required to assume.

    NZ, a new Hong Kong? Not a hope of it. Try working in HK for a while and then you'll see this place doesn't come close in terms of opportunity or productivity.

    BTW immigration is not something to be entrusted to governments. I'm not against it at all. I just reckon that the present debate is framed in disinformation and convenient fibs. For an interesting read on the subject try Prof Hans Herman Hoppe. he has some on-line articles. I'm sympathetic to his approach to the matter.



  8. LGM

    Thanks for clearing that up. I'm shit enough at picking up sarcasm in real life, let alone on a computer :)

    As for your view point, I agree entirely. Not all foreigners are the industrial type they are made out to be, (though then again, some are).

    BTW, you have said before that you are not a libertarian. Being a libertarian myself, may I ask what you are then?


  9. Hanso

    Capitalist and anarchist would be the quick description I guess. There is much I agree with in Libertarianism thought though.



1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.