'Things have gotten out of whack' - Andrew Little defends Labour's proposed immigration cuts

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1 NEWS

Labour leader Andrew Little says he rejects the argument that his party's immigration policy is against Kiwi values, saying the government's immigration policy is "out of whack".

The Labour leader says the government’s immigration policy has "gotten out of whack".
Source: 1 NEWS

Yesterday, Labour announced they will cut immigration by 20,000 to 30,000 a year to reduce the pressure on cities, especially Auckland.

Without these changes, Labour argues New Zealand would need up to 10,000 more houses each year and there would be up to 20,000 more cars on the country's roads each year.

Speaking to TVNZ 1's Breakfast, Mr Little said he rejected the argument that Labour was going against Kiwi values by shutting the door to immigrants.

"That sounds like an argument that's shutting down a debate about a real problem, which is immigration leading to a level of population growth which is putting huge pressure on our cities."

Mr Little says the "Kiwi way" used to be about being able to afford a house and letting people come in and move around freely, but the government has let this get out of balance.

"Nine years of this government, things have gotten out of whack and we need to get a better balance."

Yesterday's announcement received criticism from industry leaders who say there is a significant shortage of quality worker in New Zealand and immigration helps fill those gaps.

Mr Little says there are industries which need to be staffed but with 90,000 young New Zealanders aged 16 to 24 who are out of work they should be filling these roles over foreign workers.

"I think it's about getting the match right between real skill shortages and immigration and making sure that people who are already here also get the opportunity to work."

Yesterday the Prime Minister Bill English said the cuts would lead to shortages in IT and construction, and hamper growth. 

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