Every time I hear a National Party policy announcement that seems to make even a semblance of sense ... I stop and do a double take.
In this instance, because it really IS a double take. For you see, when it comes to the eminently reasonable suggestion of redirecting migratory flows *away* from Auckland and instead into our semi-struggling regional economies ... we've heard it all before.
From New Zealand First.
Three years ago, we unveiled a policy-package designed to encourage migrants to settle in our regions rather than all axiomatically gravitating to Auckland. We even made it one of our "bottom line" policies at the last Election.
At the time, the National Party bullishly claimed that such a policy would be a violation of migrants' "civil rights", and seemed to suggest that any indication of of a problem - much less a solution - in this area was just more of the same Winston rhetoric on immigration.
Well I guess John Key's own announcement that National will do something about this issue is tantamount to an admission that we were, as per usual, right.
Now I'm no great fan of some of the excesses of Winston's rhetoric on immigration. But it's widely acknowledged that one of the core factors driving up house prices in Auckland, is the inarguable fact that there's a supply shortfall created by our city growing at a rate of 50,000 people a year ... yet only building five and a half thousand houses over the same period.
Much of that population growth is comprised of new migrants to the country. Who quite understandably need places to live.
At the same time, our regional economies continue to bleed skilled workers and socio-economic capital to the bigger centers via the internal migration of Kiwis. One way by which we might seek to begin to redress this is, of course, by funneling skilled workers and socio-economic capital coming into the country into these areas to make up the shortfall.
Incentivizing migrants to move to the regions rather than remaining in Auckland thus makes a considerable degree of sense for a number of reasons.
Which is why I'm rather surprised that National thought of it.
Oh wait ... that's right. They didn't ;)
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