I had a brief hope around 2008/9 that we’d moved past those times of seeing immigrants as ‘takers of jobs’ and creators of road accidents. Indeed in some ways we have moved on since now we don’t really mention those things. The thing that’s most gotten our goats now are how they’re taking all our houses for an above-fair cash price (which is progress, I guess). Although even this is a complete reversal of the situation a few years ago when we were all fretting about how nobody was buying our houses, and that this was putting our time-honoured system of hire-purchase/rent-to-own housing at risk.
More recently people have started getting anxious about the actual statistics around foreign ownership of housing and how the New Zealand government does not seem to be measuring or releasing these statistics. The reason for this refusal – or neglect(depending which Party you follow religiously) – seems to be obvious, the statistics could come back and tell us that only 5 people in all of China had decided to invest in property in NZ and the next day’s NZ Herald headline would read “STATISTICS SHOW ELITE GROUP OF CHINESE INVESTING HEAVILY IN HOUSING MARKET, POSSIBLE TRIAD LINKS’.
Well that’s the impression I got when reading a recent article in Investigate Magazine which seemed to imply that Triad money had been flooding into NZ’s property market in the ‘same way’ that Yakuza money had flowed into NZ in the 1980s. I, for one, had no idea Yakuza money had ever flooded into NZ’s property market(and certainly not at levels that might be worth mentioning), but I sure hope this information doesn’t flow back to those faux-Japanese bars that have popped up all around Auckland(otherwise I’m sure we’ll also soon be seeing signs in front of them claiming that they’re ‘100% Yakuza-owned’ in no time).
There seems to be a huge segment of New Zealand society that seems to want to save for their retirement without saving, to maintain the Kiwi lifestyle in an increasingly competitive world without having to work harder for it, and to have a prosperous ‘world-class’ country without having anybody from the rest of the world actually live here. I actually don’t have a problem with any of these goals(except perhaps the last one), I just think they’re pretty difficult to achieve without foreign investment – yes, even in things like property – and with immigration rules that only allow Australians, Samoans, and elderly English people on pensions through our borders. No offence intended to any of those groups, but they alone will not be able to provide the kind of investment and skilled labour that New Zealand needs in order to maintain its standard of living with an increasingly aged population to support. If somebody can show me how all of the above can be achieved without letting an Asian person into the country (or only letting 2,000 Asian people in) then I’d be glad to hear it, till then you can find me at the local Yakuza bar…