John Key is trying to twist a legitimate debate on the effect of immigration on house prices and interest rates into a divisive argument about race, Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker says.
“The only major party that has brought up race in the current immigration debate is National. Labour has been focussing on the economic effects of migration on housing and interest rates.
“It’s John Key who keeps raising Samoans, Indians and other races in an attempt to turn a debate that New Zealanders want into one that divides Kiwis.
“John Key is the dog-whistler here.
“The Treasury has said: ‘immigration policy should be more closely tailored to the economy’s ability to adjust to population increase’ and ‘there may be merit in considering a reduced immigration target as a tool for easing macroeconomic pressures’.
“The Reserve Bank has said: ‘a one percent increase in the population caused an eight percent increase in house prices over the following three years’.
“John Key is reacting because he knows he is on the back foot over housing so is trying to distract from the issue.
“Labour’s argument is clear. Affordable housing is important for all New Zealanders, be they born here or recent migrants.
“A better balance must be struck between the benefits migrants and work permit-holders can bring and the effects that immigration peaks are having on house prices. Current peaks are another example of the Government’s mismanagement of housing and the economy.
“This is an appropriate debate to have in a responsible manner, and the Prime Minister’s dog-whistle does not help anyone,” David Parker says.
28 May 2014 MEDIA STATEMENT