Wellington, March 21 (IANS) Immigration to New Zealand continued at record levels, prompting opposition lawmakers to claim the numbers were unsustainable, the national statistics agency said on Tuesday.
According to Statistics New Zealand, since the beginning of 2016 until February, a net 71,300 migrants arrived in the country, while departures were 57,500, Xinhua news agency reported.
“About a third of all migrant arrivals for the year were people coming to New Zealand on work visas,” an agency official said.
“Just over a quarter of all work-visa migrants were from the UK and France.”
The next largest sources of migrants coming to New Zealand to work were from Germany, Australia, South Africa, and the US.
The opposition New Zealand First party said the government had ignored advice from the Treasury and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand to rein in immigration numbers to “realistic and sustainable” levels.
Ordinary New Zealanders were getting “fed up” with the unsustainable levels of immigration, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said in a statement.
“They are realising that thousands of migrants, many of whom are low-skilled and desperate to get here, artificially pump up the economy and help create a bogus surplus,” Peters said.
More than 91,000 young New Zealanders were jobless and were not in training or education and the numbers had worsened, he added.