Brain drain hits new high
Tue, 21 Aug 2012 1:25p.m.
By Dan Satherley
Despite promises from the Government to reverse it, the brain drain to Australia has hit a new high for the third month in a row.
According to Statistics NZ, a record 53,900 people left New Zealand for Australia in the year to July.
Only 14,000 came back the other way, resulting in a record exodus across the ditch of 39,800 people.
In both directions, the majority were Kiwis, says the Council of Trade Unions.
"Before being elected the Government was quick to criticise the emigration of Kiwis to Australia," says CTU secretary Peter Conway.
"But now it appears to regard this loss as business as usual."
Mr Conway says the exodus is the result of "big pay increases" for bosses, whilst workers face "casualisation and mistreatment".
"We need to lift the minimum wage, promote industry bargaining, which in Australia covers 60 percent of the workforce compared with 18 percent here, and boost productivity while ensuring the benefits flow to workers," says Mr Conway.
The years to April and June both also set records for losses to Australia. The number moving across the ditch has almost doubled in number since 2007, when 27,200 Kiwis moved to Australia in the year ended November.
The outflow has impacted New Zealand's population growth, which in May measured its slowest year-on-year rise in a decade.
At the 2008 election National promised to end the brain drain. In the lead up to last year's election, Prime Minister John Key blamed the global financial crisis, saying Australia had weathered it better than New Zealand.
"That's been an ongoing problem for about 30 or 40 years so it's not something you can turn around overnight, although we are making progress in some areas," Mr Key told Radio New Zealand in November.
EPMU secretary Bill Newson said the Government's failure to stem the tide shows their "hands-off" approach isn't working.
"The National Party campaigned strongly on closing the wage gap with Australia and stemming the exodus of Kiwis across the Tasman, but in government they’ve presided over a growing wage gap and a lost generation of Kiwi workers," says Mr Newson.
"After four years it’s time for the government to take responsibility, change course and come up with a plan to lift wages."
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22/08/2012 12:28:53 p.m.
Why does conway have to go on radio in Aus - no one wants to listen to him here. I assume he will resign his position on NZTE
22/08/2012 9:58:48 a.m.
It is the government's job to create employment and in this - as usual, the present government is failing. Giving money to the rich - which is their cure-all acheives nothing as the there will always be rich people - not spending it is how they became rich. For there to be increased economic activity - there has to be spending and for that to happen - those other than the rich need money to spend. For this to happen they need fair pay and this is mostly not the case in New Zealand and that is why many are leaving for Australia where fair pay is a cornerstone of their economy. Mining accounts for about 6% of their economy and does not explain the 35-40% gap between NZ and Australia's economic performance. If we want to match Australia's performance we need to match their methods and that includes unionism and fair pay. Those like Mike criticise such policies but their way continues to fail. We only have to engage what succeeds and giving money to the wealthy clearly does not work. Wealth does not create jobs - factors of production do - and wealth is not a factor of production - labour is however, and if it is not funded properly - prosperity will continue to slip away like a fading light in a tunnel.
21/08/2012 4:50:03 p.m.
@Mike nice press release.. thank National for us please.
It suprises me that you think National had absolutely anything to do with export growth... when the reality is that they didnt.
Food commodities.. which are areas that have seen the most growth are controlled by the international commodities market.
Way to misrepresent facts however... clever National Party... all smoke and mirrors... no get up and go.
21/08/2012 4:25:19 p.m.
Mike, businesses add more jobs when there is more demand which is generally synonymous with more consumers.. so stop trying to run this supply-side nonsense.
If people have more money to spend this creates more demand. If there is a demand for a certain good or service, businesses or entrepreneurs will happily borrow the capital they need to invest in that economic sector. If managed properly, profit margins will offset the (low) interest rates we're all currently enjoying.
21/08/2012 3:38:49 p.m.
We could always do more mining as its a lot of mining and mining support jobs driving the Aus growth. If exclude mining, then NZ is actually ourperfroming Aus this last couple of years, but we all know how much everyone loves mining.Our exports with a strengthening dollar during a recession have increased over 11% the last 3 years. Compare that to the 5% growth over 5 years by Labour in the boom 2000-2005 years. Yep, we can see how much better the alternative would be.If we keep our exports growing it will feed through to jobs and wages. It hasn't really happened yet as Labour neglected so much of NZ for so long that much of the NZ export sector ran up huge losses which they have been nibbling back. ie they are exporting more, and instead of making a loss as they were, they are making modest profits (often offseting losses they made in past years). eg farmers where the average farmer in 2009 paid only $1500 income tax because their incomes were terrible, while Labour claimed they were high income earners because according to their self proclaimed finance experts, revenue = profit!Interest rates are low, this helps businesses. But before we kill off our export gains by throwing the money away on union industrial action and wage increases, it would be nice to get NZs economy improved enough that we are no longer spending more than we are earning! But then, only an idiot, or a union would deliberately spend more than they can afford!Long term what raises wages is wealth. Sure if everyone is unemployed and starving in the gutter, the difference between rich/poor is nothing. But it is wealth creates jobs, as without capital you cant generate new jobs. Even Fonterra is curently needing billions more in investment to cover growth, and it is this growth is also helping driving NZ export growth. Kill that growth by throwing the money away on consumption, and we wont be better off.
21/08/2012 3:09:35 p.m.
People have been going overseas for years to get experience plus
getting further education and it always looks good on a CV if an educated person is aiming for a good job in NZ....if you go for many senior jobs in NZ, apparently overseas experience is expected. The world is a small place and people travelling and working is the norm also.
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