Labour leader Jacinda Ardern says she is not overly attached to the tens of thousands figure her predecessor put out as a target for cutting immigration.
Former leader Andrew Little said Labour would be looking to cut net immigration numbers by 20,000 to 30,000 as part of a broader policy to tackle records rates of population growth.
Asked whether she was sticking with that figure today, Ms Ardern told TVNZ the number was what the party had estimated as the effect of its policy, not a target.
“We’ve modelled anticipation of how much our changes will
make a difference, but I’m not wedded to the numbers, it’s all
about getting the settings right,” she said.
“I think people probably got a bit more caught up on the numbers than they should have been.”
She said the party’s focus was on reducing pressure on infrastructure in Auckland while filling skills shortages in the regions.
“Because we haven’t done the population planning. We need more houses, we need to be able to move around our city,” she said.
The party’s immigration policy also includes a clamp-down on what it says are exploitative educational courses by restricting student visas to higher-quality degrees and limiting permission to work after graduation for those on student visas.
Meanwhile the Government last month announced it was relaxing its plans to cut immigration.
It moved the the proposed income threshold for a “skilled” job under its policy from $49,000 to $41,000 after consulting with businesses.
New Zealand has been experiencing record levels of net migration in recent years, with rising immigration a key election issue as it strains the country’s infrastructure and is blamed for inflating property markets.
Net migration rose to a new record for the year to July, according to Statistics New Zealand, reaching 72,400. NZN