NZIER’s Population Growth Obsession

The NZIER released a report today that continues to push their agenda of increased population growth as a necessity for New Zealand’s economic wellbeing. According to their report; increasing population growth (via increased immigration) by adding an extra 40,000 people per year over ten years would lead to an increase in GDP per capita of $410 per annum. They claim that this is a “chunky” amount and any concomitant economic implications would be outweighed by such extra growth. Yet an extra $410 per annum equates to less than 1% per annum of extra GDP growth. Is such a paltry amount worth the environmental and sustainability implications? Surely there are better ways to increase GDP, if such growth is deemed necessary.

No mention is made of the environmental and sustainability implications of their much vaunted population growth. Some mention is made of extra pressure on housing and infrastructure, which as we all know too well is buckling under current levels of population growth in many parts of New Zealand. An extra 400,000 people in ten years, on top the currently projected population growth of 400,000 people, would lead to near on a million more in a little over ten short years. Such population growth comes at a cost, as has been stated many times in this blog. The implications of such growth on recreational fishing, for example, would be unpalatable by many kiwis.

The reality is that this is not so much an immigration issue, but an ideological issue in which the NZIER seek to further their neo-liberal economic agenda. If the NZIER were proposing that New Zealand take more migrants due to humanitarian needs that could be plaudable. However, they are making such proposals not to assist the migrants themselves but to feather their own nests and those of their benefactors. As we have seen over the past decade, the lion’s share of such proposed GDP growth would not be spread evenly throughout the population but would be accumulated by the “1 percent” that is growing ever more powerful and influential in plutocracies such as ours.

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