New Zealand Immigrant Numbers On the Up

“One in four people living in New Zealand was born outside the country, according to figures released last month from the 2013 census of New Zealand’s 4.5 million people,” the Economist reports.

“That is an increase of nearly 8 per cent since the last census in 2006. People born in Asia now make up 32 per cent of the foreign-born population, overtaking the proportion born in Britain and Ireland, at 27 per cent, for the first time.

“The rapid growth of the Asian population began in the 1990s. In 1987 legislation that favoured British immigration and discriminated against Asians was changed. Skills, education and willingness to invest in New Zealand were introduced as qualifications for migrants regardless of race.

“And yet, unlike neighbouring Australia, the influx of immigrants has not yet produced a backlash. The two major parties, the National Party and the Labour Party, have encouraged immigration.

“Experts say there are several reasons for New Zealand’s relative tolerance. There is widespread acceptance that New Zealand needs more workers, as Kiwis continue to migrate to Australia. Biculturalism has also long been promoted to incorporate the nation’s Maori heritage. This encouraged appreciation of another culture long before other Asian immigrants arrived. The concentration of migrants in certain electorates has also encouraged politicians to look after them.

“But New Zealanders, tolerant as they are, are unlikely to put up with the use of big money from Chinese migrants if it looks like it is buying favours.”

Original article by S.McM., The Economist, May 30, 2014.

Photo by Stephen Jaquiery.

Tags: 2013 census  biculturalism  Economist (The)  immigration  

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