Infrastructure and Social Services in New Zealand Faces Strain from High Migration Levels, warns Immigration NZ. Record high net migration in 2023 could lead to increasing problems without improved infrastructure and services. The ministry emphasizes the need to balance immigration objectives with population growth and infrastructure decisions.
The Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment has issued a warning that New Zealand's infrastructure and social services could face strain if net migration continues at the high levels seen in 2023. Net migration in the year leading up to September 2023 reached a record high of 118,800.
The average monthly arrivals on work visas have more than doubled since before the Covid-19 pandemic, increasing from 2,740 per month between 2017 and 2019 to 7,250 since December 2022. The Ministry has highlighted the need for infrastructure and services to keep up with population growth in order to avoid increasing problems.
The ministry's briefing to the incoming Immigration Minister, Erica Stanford, noted that the 2022 Productivity Commission Inquiry into immigration found that the supply of infrastructure has been less responsive to population growth compared to the past. For New Zealand to successfully accommodate more migrants while maintaining the quality of services, the capacities in infrastructure, core health and education services, and community infrastructure need to keep pace with population growth.
The Ministry stated that it would be advising the minister in the following weeks regarding the balance between immigration objectives and population and infrastructure decisions. Determining the appropriate level of long-term migration that is "sustainable" is seen as a challenging task.
Immigration Minister Erica Stanford acknowledged at a media briefing that New Zealand was experiencing "record levels" of migrant exploitation and high net migration. These factors will be taken into consideration when reviewing policy settings. Stanford mentioned that implementing more thorough checks on incoming individuals would have a flow-on effect in reducing the number of incoming migrants. She is currently seeking a range of advice and expects to make further announcements in the coming weeks.