Changing faces and population growth

I think that Duncan Garner has had a go at this before, but here he goes again: Dear NZ, how do we want to look in 20 years?

 I went to Kmart on Wednesday to buy some new underpants and socks.

Now, normally this outing to the mall wouldn’t be a big deal but this one fast became a nightmarish glimpse into our future if we stuff it up.

As I started walking towards the self-pay counter I saw a massive human snake crawling its way around the self-service island near the middle of the store. And it snaked and snaked and snaked. The snake was massive.

I wondered what the attraction was? It wasn’t immediately obvious. Then it was. The self-service counter couldn’t cope.

It couldn’t cope with the pressures of the people. The dozens of stressed faces making up the human snake were frustrated too.

I looked around, it could have been anywhere in South East Asia.

I wasn’t shocked – we have reported this for three years – we have targeted immigrants, opened the gates and let in record numbers. This year’s net gain of migrants was 72,000.

Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Syrians, and many others. I saw the changing face of New Zealand at the crossroads, otherwise known as Kmart’s self-service counter. Every four minutes and 51 seconds New Zealand’s population grows by another person. We are growing faster now than compared to any other time in our history. And faster than most countries in the world.

New Zealand’s population grew by 100,400 to the June 2017 year.

This is not an opinion column designed to be deliberately inflammatory on race grounds, flimsy grounds or any other grounds.

But do we have any idea what we’re doing here? No.

Predictions show we will have 6.3 million people by 2038. There’ll be more Asians than Maori. Is anyone leading this debate on how big we should be? No.

Does it matter? You bet it does.

Garner raises two main issues here.

Many will probably focus on “Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, Syrians, and many others. I saw the changing face of New Zealand at the crossroads…”

It makes a big difference where this particular K-Mart was. I went to The Warehouse and New World last night. Both were a completely different picture. Both were remarkably uncrowded – I went straight up to a counter and got served at both. And it was a typically Dunedin mix of faces, nothing like Garner’s K-Mart description.

I think the more important issue is population growth. How big should the new Zealand population be allowed to grow?

Over the last few years population growth has been running at about 70,000 per annum. That doesn’t sound much, but if that was sustained over fifteen years it would be over a million more residents.

Population growth isn’t even over the country. Auckland is obviously facing the biggest growth problems. I happily choose not to go to Auckland if I can help it, the traffic is often diabolical, and when I have gone to Auckland in the past for non-work reasons I usually choose to get out to less populated places.

I actually work a lot in Auckland (as well as in Australia, South Africa, the UK and the US) but fortunately, with today’s technology, most of that work is done from an office in Dunedin. World wide networks now operate far faster than inter-office networks of a couple of decades ago.

Twenty years ago, even fifteen years ago, if I wanted data from a client I would tell them how to zip it onto a diskette – or often many diskettes – and put it in the post.  Now I connect directly and work or copy data.

So in some ways population concentrations are not needed. Working from a distance has never been easier in some lines of work.

But there has been a tendency in the last few centuries, and especially over the last half century, for people to flock to and inflate the populations of major cities, turning them into mega cities, while provincial cities like Dunedin chug away slowly.

Perhaps Garner and others in media could work remotely. But they choose to join the overcrowding in Auckland. That is their choice, so I am not entirely sympathetic to their complaints about population.

But back to immigration and overall population growth.

People are lining up to come here because we are the last paradise on Earth.

Our small population is our winning card. Let’s not lose that.

Everything we do we must ask ourselves this question: Will this make our country better for those living in it now?

If the answer is no then we must pause, stop and think again. Your great-grandchildren will be so grateful. And it’s our legacy.

But there’s little sign that the new Government is pausing, stopping and thinking again. There were varying signals about immigration in the election campaign, but there has been little sign of major change or rethink.

On the beehive website this is the only Press release from the Immigration portfolio:

Building occupations added to skill shortage list

It will be easier for the building industry to find the workers it needs to help address New Zealand’s housing shortfall, with seven building-related occupations being added to the Immediate Skill Shortage List (ISSL), Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway announced today.

“Employing skilled migrants will meet the immediate demand for people with the skills required to rapidly increase the number of houses in New Zealand.”

The focus is on bringing in more builders to build more houses to cater for the growing population.

When Garner wants to buy more undies and socks in the future he will probably find little has changed.

Leave a comment


  1. Gerrit

     /  23rd December 2017

    Why is Gardner worried? Is it that the Maori guilt trip laid on and bought lock stock and smoking barrel by white Tauiwi wont be as easily sold to the new wave of colonists?

    Here in South Auckland the wide diversity of people and cultures have given the place a new drive, new opportunities and a stronger vitality.

    I for one am enjoying the new South Auckland.

    • sorethumb

       /  23rd December 2017

      Here in South Auckland the wide diversity of people and cultures have given the place a new drive, new opportunities and a stronger vitality.

      The distinctive feature of the New Zealand economy is that land is an important input into the productive process. This is obvious with the agricultural,fishing and forestry sectors but it also applies to international tourism. In a simple model of the New Zealand economy where the supply of land is fixed, and New Zealand’s isolation means it is not a ‘natural’ location for the production of a broad range of internationally traded goods and services, then an increase in the labour supply through large scale immigration will reduce the
      marginal product of labour. As a result:

      Real wages will fall

      Owners of land will benefit

      There will be an outflow of ‘native’ labour in search of higher wages in Australia

      The economy will be bigger, but average incomes will fall

      Resources will flow into low value service production.

      Click to access TheSuperdiversityMyth.pdf

      What about sprawl/density/traffic/ social cohesion?

      What would happen if it wasn’t for the sugar rush of immigration and we had to be a trading nation again?

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  23rd December 2017

        Here in the Waikato the new Kiwis make the place seem vibrant and cosmopolitan-I like the mix of races, accents, clothes and languages. There are people in saris & other gorgeous Indian clothes, hijabs, turbans, African clothes…

        I have seen Kmart queues, but they aren’t THAT long and snaking around the shop-they have DIY checkouts and a lot of them-10 at least in the central city one, I would say, although I haven’t counted-and even when there’s a queue, nobody’s in it THAT long.& nobody seems to be under great stress as far as I have noticed. What a misery-guts Duncan Garner sounds.

        Why doesn’t he just save himself the angst and order his jockeys & sox online for a $5 delivery charge ?

        • sorethumb

           /  23rd December 2017

          Whatever you say (as in) “I like the mix of races, accents, clothes and languages.” the evidence is that increased ethnic diversity is the inverse of social cohesion. That fits with what you would expect if you are persuaded by evolutionary psychology.
          Perhaps there is a difference between direct neighbourhood and local (something)?

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  23rd December 2017

            I am more concerned with my neighbours being nice people than their skin colour-and I have had several lots of Kiwi neighbours who were anything but that in my time.

        • Fight4NZ

           /  24th December 2017

          The levels of pleasant friendliness still enjoyed in the Waikato, Dunedin, and other regional areas of the country used to exist in Auckland. It has been decimated by immigration. Garner is right because he lives in it. But fear not, with little sign of change of policy, assisted by complacency, that quaint sprinkling of ‘vibrancy’ will become an asfixiating invasion sooner than you realise.

  2. sorethumb

     /  23rd December 2017

    Perhaps Garner and others in media could work remotely. But they choose to join the overcrowding in Auckland. That is their choice, so I am not entirely sympathetic to their complaints about population.
    The issue isn’t Garners choice the issue is the undemocratic nature of immigration including the hegemony of the ruling classes.

    Smart Talk At The Auckland Museum: Immigration
    “Nothing is less convincing than a New Zealander looking up from a butter chicken pie made by a Cambodian baker, complaining about immigration”
    [raucous laughter]

  3. PartisanZ

     /  23rd December 2017

    Maori sovereignty, the ‘tino rangatiratanga’ guaranteed by Te Tiriti o Waitangi, isn’t a “guilt trip”. Nor do “the new wave of colonists” have any significant say about it.

    It’s a Constitutional reality. Presently it involves the acknowledgement, restitution and reconciliation of historical grievances but rest assured it will progress to a post-grievance reality, almost certainly involving a new, unique and world-leading codified Constitution.

    A Constitution and its associated electoral system, which all citizens of Aotearoa New Zealand can be justifiably proud of, 200 years in the making. A new kind of ‘nationhood’.

    Your “Maori guilt trip” is likewise simply a relatively ordinary psychological reality. It works at individual, group and polity levels. If a person, group or polity has done wrong, ONE of the things they can CHOOSE to do is MAKE AMENDS.

    Your “new South Auckland” and Garner’s Kmart ‘mall snake’ are simply communities doing what communities do. They evolve and change. Neither our present nor future Constitutional realities will prevent this happening, though it may influence the process somewhat.

    The electoral system has some effect on it, the number of immigrants, skills preferences, source-country preferences etc … but while so-called ‘free market’ globalization is upheld as saviour of the world, expect more of the same …

    Here are some notes about the ethics of it –

    “No State has any moral right to withhold from settlement by others, who are without sufficient land, areas which it does not and will not in the early future need for itself. The ‘Latifundia … holding of large estates … the marked evil of Roman and later times, are not made more moral by being practised by peoples instead of individuals.

    Conversely, every people, every race, every group has the same right to live, to the life of a community. This implies that every group … has the natural right to live on its own soil as a free, self-governing community. A people without land is not only contrary to nature; it is the most grievous of wrongs to shut off a community from THE SOIL WHICH BELONGS TO ALL.

    The State models its real life on the “State morality”. Hence the restoration of the world to a sound moral basis requires that the State shall be superseded” (Warner)

    The possibilities and challenges posed by the State being superseded are made even more extraordinary by modern communications technology …

    • Gerrit

       /  23rd December 2017

      The new colonist don’t have much to say about the treaty simply because they don’t care.

      Post grievance reality??? Yea right, excuse me while I snigger. Never going to happen, same as a constitution based on the treaty will not happen.

      Your ethics are sound and when extrapolated out, democracy (where one person has one equal vote) in each community will end any historical grievance claim. Simply by the fact that the demographics have changed and the democratic vote will simply ignore the grievance.

      Unless “self governing” has a meaning other than democracy?

      As I said in an other earlier discussion, though am an immigrant (Tauiwi) my children and grandchildren are Tangata Whenua with equal rights with the Tangata Whenua of the earliest immigrant and their descendants.

      I too would like the “state” removed from society. However inter community rivalry (much like that occurred between Maori tribes during the pre treaty cannibalistic musket wars) will soon seen the creation of a governing state. Much like when those 13 Ngapuhi chiefs wrote to the British King asking for protection from the French.

      The stronger communities will try and expand (human history shows that to be true from the earliest primitive man days.

      Communities will seek strength in unity (bit like a union movement) and form a “state” to achieve that.

      Is human history is circular?

      • PartisanZ

         /  23rd December 2017

        Of course “self governing” can have meanings other than democracy … Does government only mean ‘Westminster’ or governance only mean Western European?

        In “pre-treaty cannibalistic musket wars” you forgot to mention “post-European contact”. The giveaway is the word “musket” …

        Thankfully the creation of more nations or ‘homelands’ or atomization of States – which can easily be accommodated by a nation-wide Federal system and already is – can equally and perhaps concurrently be accommodated by a Global Federal system – a World Federation – where certain limited components of ‘sovereignty’ are transferred for the sake of global security …

        I agree with Arnold Toynbee that civilizations rise and fall to facilitate the spiritual development of Mankind …

  4. sorethumb

     /  23rd December 2017

    The focus is on bringing in more builders to build more houses to cater for the growing population.

  5. Pickled Possum

     /  23rd December 2017

    “Every four minutes and 51 seconds New Zealand’s population grows by another person”.

    Far Out!! Birth and immigration.
    Can this land cope with the straining ready to pop infrastructure we have.
    Can we integrate successfully with the New Vibrant Cosmopolitan Communities.
    Do we have enough water after Cokacola has taken its lion’s share..

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  23rd December 2017

      Of course we will. What on earth do you take Coca Cola for ? No company will take the lion’s share, it would be a physical impossibility.

  6. sorethumb

     /  23rd December 2017

    Can we integrate successfully with the New Vibrant Cosmopolitan Communities
    On the one hand a question on the other a claim.

    • sorethumb

       /  23rd December 2017

      I find it interesting that the chief proponent/spokesman for the immigration lobby is also the official “social cohesion expert”.

      I also doubt that the sort of questions asked by stats about social cohesion are objectively valid.

      Spoonley and Co are desperate to show that diversity/immigration is positive. They know there is a big backlash. They represent hegemony.

      • sorethumb

         /  23rd December 2017

        One thing Spoonley likes to say is the the cure for ethnic disharmony (?) is contact. That is only partly true as people may like a minimal sampling but not a whole population, but also the other big C which Spoonley wont acknowledge is Competition. Spoonley is in agreement with the NZIER that we would be richer with a population of 15m.

        Nzier modelled it [garbage in garbage out]

      • PartisanZ

         /  23rd December 2017

        I doubt stats about social cohesion are objectively valid either, since they’re results gleaned from questions about how people “feel”. The search for objectivity by subjective human beings is utterly futile.

        I think you’re confusing dominant culture with hegemony …

        • Gezza

           /  23rd December 2017

          The search for objectivity by subjective human beings is utterly futile.

          So what hope is there for any real change to the way the world is then?

          • PartisanZ

             /  23rd December 2017

            The hope for real change lies right there Gezza, IMHO …

            Recognize the two are inextricably linked … That it’s a subjective being attempting to be objective …

            Replace rational self-interest with rational compassion … “We all do better when we all do better” …

            Otherwise we end up with Ludwig Von Mises ‘logical’ explanation for slavery … That the slave-owner takes all the risk …

    • Pickled Possum

       /  23rd December 2017

      sorekonui What is the . of your statement to me.
      Oh neva mind answering, it will just confuse me even more I think. 😎
      Have a cuppa koffee and a raspberry bun.

      • sorethumb

         /  23rd December 2017

        Can we integrate successfully [Question] with the New Vibrant Cosmopolitan Communities [claim/ contains assumed positive values ]

  1. Press Council dump on Garner | Your NZ

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