The leader of New Zealand’s opposition Labour Party has launched an attack on the country’s liberal immigration policy.
Andrew Little, who is taking on the ruling National Party in September’s general election, said he believes cutting immigration to New Zealand is key to improving citizens’ quality of life.
He said: “None of us would invite 20 people over for dinner if we didn’t have enough chairs for them to sit on. Well, right now our cities don’t have enough chairs.”
With a population of just 4.5 million, New Zealand is increasingly seen as a desirable place to relocate to by those wanting a change of scene from Europe, Asia and, to a lesser degree, North America.
However, the country’s growing popularity as a migration center has not been without controversy for its citizens.
Higher property prices are blamed on the rise in immigrants while some new arrivals – notably Indians – have been on the receiving end of violent attacks.
Latest statistics show that during the past year New Zealand had a net population gain of 72,000. It apparently lets in 14.7 migrants each year for every 1,000 people, a far higher rate than many developed countries.
Any cuts to immigration would likely prove popular at the polls, as many New Zealanders blame foreigners for New Zealand’s social problems.