Anti-Immigration Policy a Factor in New Zealand Election

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As New Zealand prepares for one of its toughest elections on September 20, political parties in the country are drafting their own anti-immigration policies in the hopes of attracting voters. One of the proposed policies is a restriction on foreign visas and a plan to limit property investment thereby forcing immigrants to stay in small regional towns.

According to the Wall Street Journal, New Zealand's economy has been outperforming most major economies in the world due to the rising demand of its meat and dairy exports in Asia. New Zealand has beaten the UK and the U.S. in terms of economic growth in the recent years with growth of 3.3 per cent.

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has increased its interest rates because of the economy's positive growth. Economists said few developed countries have raised their borrowing rates since the financial crisis. New Zealand's interest rates have increased three times within the year before reaching 3.25 per cent.

New Zealand's booming economy has attracted more migrants to the country. It also gave citizens overseas to return home. As a result, the country is currently experiencing its strongest influx of immigrants in more than 10 years.

New Zealand's annual migration is seen to go beyond 40,000 as more people choose to stay in the country. According to Infometrics Managing Director Gareth Kiernan said majority of the migrants came from Australia. About two-thirds of the increase was also attributed to New Zealanders returning to their homeland.

Kiernan added the increase in migration was mainly driven mainly by strengthening labor market in New Zealand. Compared to Australia's "struggling" economy and other labor markets overseas, New Zealand is an attractive place to work.

He said the housing market will feel "price pressures" throughout the year until 2015. Despite the struggle to control prices in the housing market, New Zealand's growth forecasts in the past six months continue to increase due to strong exports, post-earthquake reconstruction and export growth. According to reports, New Zealand's house prices continue to increase and reached a new record-high in April. The upcoming election may be a chance for political parties to promote their policies concerning immigration.