NZ immigration could have negative impact on wages

The New Zealand government has admitted that current high immigration levels could be a factor in keeping wages in the country lower than they should be.

“If there are less people that show up, it is possible that wages might have been a bit higher, but we have had plenty of work, we have had a lot of job creation but now we are moving into a part of the cycle where? that inward migration must flatten out some time,” said Bill English today.

For the past 18 months New Zealand has been witnessing record net-migration levels due to a combination of fewer Kiwis leaving for Australia, more expats returning home and a sizable increase in the number of new international migrants arriving to live in the country.

This record migration has coincided with a clear slowdown in wage growth. Figures show that only 10 per cent of private sector salaries and wage rates increased in the March quarter, while 43 per cent of pay rates have not increased at all over the past year.

However, in spite of this Minister English said that the government will not look to impose controls to limit immigration over the coming months.

“We are not considering that [toughening criteria]. It will be self-balancing. As the economy is a bit softer you are going to get less opportunities and less of them [migrants] turn up.”