Little on immigration – transcript

There’s been a lot of discussion on whether Andrew Little was led by journalists on immigration questions and whether he was unfairly quoted.

Here’s a transcript of the stand-up that was reported on.

Journalist: What impact do you think immigration has on those lower skilled and service industry waiters?

Little: I think it’s fair to say it’s having some impact, we know that we’ve got a reasonably high level of inward migration, and it’s not all at a skilled level, we know that some of those coming in are a kind of semi-skilled sort of level. It wasn’t the intention of the original concept to do that. So I think we are justified in having a look at that to make sure we’re getting the right mix and balance, and we’re not compromising the interests of those who are already living here and trying to get decent paying conditions.

Journalist: I saw a graph today and it was showing the most common skilled immigrants by category, and it was just the letter C and the most common was chef.

Little: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I know that, we know that that is happening particularly  you know in a lot of um you might say ethnic cuisines, so your Chinese, your Indian…you’re getting a lot folks coming here from overseas to…the hospitality industry with those particular ah cooking skills.

I think the question is you know yeah can we actually source those labour needs internally, and that’s why I think we would have a look at immigration just to check  we’ve got the balance right.

We are always going to be dependant on a level of migration to meet the shortfall of skills and needs that we have. We’ve typically relied on migration, immigration to supply senior highly skilled kind of levels. Let’s say that there seems to be a…so we need to have a close look to check to see that we’re getting it right.

That doesn’t seem to be controversial at all, except that Little specifically mentioned Chinese and Indian ethnicities which could suggest he sees those nationalities as particular problems.

Source: Andrew Little on ‘semi-skilled’ migration and ‘ethnic cuisine’