Topic: Politics

Open NZ economy beneficial to Māori

By Harata Brown
  • Auckland

As the National Party held their annual conference at the Sky City Convention center in Auckland over the weekend,  Prime Minister John Key in his address today reiterated the National-led government’s commitment to an open economy which the Prime Minister says embraces free trade and immigration.

As the doors opened in celebration of the PM’s grand entrance, it seems as though the National-led government has also opened New Zealand doors to migrants.

Prime Minister John Key said, "The first (changes to immigration settings) is aimed at encouraging people who come to New Zealand as skilled migrants to take up jobs in the regions."

Migrants applying for residency will now be able to boost their bonus points - which are used to calculate whether they will be approved or not - from 10 to 30 points if they have work lined up outside of Auckland.

"If they bring capital, they bring skills, if they bring the right attitude they actually can make a difference to the creation of jobs and for the economic prosperity" says Key. 

The Council of Trade Unions (CTU) representatives were also outside the National Party conference with widow Deborah McMillan, whose husband died while working as a forestry worker. Widow McMillan and representatives of CTU voiced their opposition to Health and Safety reform which they claim sees workplaces with less than 20 staff excluded from the requirement to elect health and safety representatives.

"It's watered down, it's just another kick in the guts, it's almost an insult", said McMillan.

But the Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, Michael Woodhouse refuted those claims.

"If they're in a higher risk industries, that's still yet to be defined under regulations and they will have those obligations so what they're saying is simply not correct", said Woodhouse. 

Furthermore, although there was also only a handful of protesters outside, protesting againts Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, PM Key announced that they were close to closing the TPPA and said that the agreement would have tremendous benefits for Māori.

“We are confident that Māori would be tremendous beneficiaries of the Free Trade Agreement with USA, Japan and others and it's important to remember that over time even other countries may join TPPA.”