It’s always funny when bigots claim they are discriminated against

I am utterly disgusted by the nationalism I’m seeing in New Zealand at the moment. One among many examples:

[Union Secretary] Mr Cook fears it’s the New Zealanders who will go first when it does close, which he claims is discrimination.

He claims this because some migrants are on 12-month contracts while locals are not. It seems pretty reasonable that migrants would be contractually guaranteed a minimum term of employment in exchange for moving countries. I guess it would seem unreasonable to a person who doesn’t see foreigners as worthy of moral consideration…

The worst part is that this sort of xenophobia is about to become policy, and has bipartisan support. This makes me feel very stabby. [Update: Eric points out in the comments that it’s not really a change in policy, but an automatic adjustment in the number of work permits based on existing policy. Both major parties are nevertheless pandering to nationalist sentiment. If the sentiment persists, I wouldn’t be suprised to see actual policy change. I still feel very stabby.]  

The Visible Hand in Economics has many good posts on this (see herehere, here, and here, for example). See also Crampton, Darnton and Walker.

6 Responses

  1. […] work out the attitude of NZer’s – it is an excellent post, I suggest you read it right now.  Brad Taylor comes out as […]

  2. Is it a change in policy, or an automatic adjustment? If the current policy has the temporary visas being dependent on a firm sponsoring a migrant to come in to work, and if we expect the recession to result in fewer such sponsorships, then the number of visas is automatically pro-cyclical.

    To the extent that politicians are just saying that numbers should come down (because of the automatic adjustment), it’s just a positive statement about the working of the system. If they’re instead saying they should come down (and Immigration NZ ought to make sure that it happens regardless of standing policy), that’s a different beast entirely.

    • Good point, I didn’t read the article properly. Sounds more like an automatic adjustment. Will amend.

      The existing policy “Before the permits are issued, employers must prove to the department that they have searched for New Zealand workers for the jobs and that no available New Zealand worker could be suitably trained for the task.” is truly awful.

  3. “Before the permits are issued, employers must prove to the department that they have searched for New Zealand workers for the jobs and that no available New Zealand worker could be suitably trained for the task.”

    If this policy was really followed I wonder how many Canadians would be in economics departments!!! :-) But don’t a number of other countries, including Canada have similar awful rules?

    • I wouldn’t be surprised be learn of similar policies in other countries: anti-immigrant sentiment seems fairly universal.

  4. […] 27, 2009 Apropos of recent discussion, here’s Bob Dylan and Joan Baez performing Woody Guthrie’s song […]

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