Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Kinda, maybe, thinking about blogging again...

Deborah has started blogging the NZ General Election at Larvartus Prodeo which has made me rethink my blog-engagement.

This blog's been ignored since October last year when I joined the group behind kiwiblogblog (now deleted). Since we pulled pulled that pin, I've concentrated my efforts mainly at Public Address (which, IMO, remains the standard-setter in NZ) with some forays into kiwiblog and the Standard.

The impending NZ election is terribly distracting for me, it'll be the second I've missed having moved to Sydney just after the 2002 election. I respect the work of both Deborah and Idiot/Savant but perhaps there's a few things I might contribute to the debate here too...

Like starting with this largely irrelevant piece of faux-policy; National's immigration policy. Though it claims to be designed to "bring more kiwis" home, it contains almost no policies that appear likely or even intended to do so. In fact, the 'typo' in the title gives the game away - immigration is usually associated with the arrival of people into a country who are in fact citizens of another. And this policy may do that, but the mislabelling pretends it'll do something else: stop NZ citizens from leaving. It won't.

National's game-playing about migration is well established and analysed (including by the incredibly numerate Mr Pierson). Net Permanent and Long Term Departures (PLTs) are currently higher than they have been in a while and in an environment of skill and labour shortages, that's a problem. It's a problem because it may constrain the economy and could lead to wage-inflation. But it's often over-stated and the solutions are far from simple. David Farrar makes this very point in response to my question:
David, do you have a view about what element(s) of National’s immigration policy will impact on emigration? You’ll think I’m being very partisan, but I can’t see anything that is intended or likely to directly impact on PLT departures.

[DPF: An immigration policy tends to only affect immigration not emigration. You can’t stop people emigrating. The economic policy is more likely to impact on PLT departures and/or NZers returning.]

I tend to agree.

So first, can someone tell Lockwood his policy will not slow emigration and secondly can the National Party please tell us how they'll improve economic growth at a rate beyond what Labour's done these last 9 years?

6 comments:

Chris said...

National's whole focus in on the number of people leaving NZ and overlooks the number who arrive here. Immigration still out strips emigration. Of course the real 'dog whistle' in all of this is the implicit suggestion that those of one ethnicity who are leaving are worth more than those of another ethnicity who are arriving.

backin15 said...

Chris, if worth is measured in terms of skills, generally migrants have more skills than the domestic workforce. The problem however, in terms of them converting their higher skills into work, is often about the recognition of those skills and the lack of English language.

I agree there's a dog whistle in their policy, it used to be Winston's.

Anonymous said...

"can someone tell Lockwood his policy will not slow emigration and secondly can the National Party please tell us how they'll improve economic growth at a rate beyond what Labour's done these last 9 years?"

Here's a thought; how about doing proper, robust policy analysis and focusing on the fundamentals, instead of wasting time, effort and resources on nebulous, poorly thought-through crap like the "Growth and Innovation Framework", "Economic Transformation Agenda", purchase of a clapped out old rail system etc etc etc...?

backin15 said...

Who you talking about, National, Labour or me? I suspect there's a good spread of guilt across all three.

MikeG said...

keep up the good work commenting on the various blogs you mention. I'll also check back regularly to this blog!

backin15 said...

thanks mikeg, having restarted here, i'm contemplating joining another group-effort. thanks for the positive feedback however.