LEANZ, Law and Economics in New Zealand

Next Wellington Seminar

Next Wellington Seminar

Immigration Policy Settings and New Zealand's Economic Performance (and LEANZ AGM)

Time/date: Monday 26 June 2017 at Buddle Findlay, 1 Willis Street
Refreshments from 5 p.m. (note earlier start than usual), LEANZ AGM at 5:30 p.m. with the seminar beginning shortly thereafter.

Speakers: Dr Eric Crampton and Michael Reddell  

Michael Reddell spent 30+ years doing macroeconomics in various public agencies; mostly the Reserve Bank of New Zealand but also The Treasury, the IMF and a couple of developing country central banks. These days, he is a stay-at-home parent and writes on economics and policy issues at www.croakingcassandra.com.

Dr Eric Crampton is Chief Economist with the New Zealand Initiative in Wellington. Dr Crampton joined The Initiative in 2014; he previously served as Lecturer and Senior Lecturer in Economics with the University of Canterbury. Dr Crampton supervised the Initiative’s 2017 work on immigration. He is also co-author of The Initiative’s reports The Case for Economic Growth; In the Zone: Creating a Toolbox for Regional Prosperity; and, Decade of Debt: The Cost of Interest-Free Student Loans. He blogs at Offsetting Behaviour.

Our speakers have differing views on the subject:

According to Michael Reddell, for most of the last 70 years successive governments have promoted large scale inflows of non-New Zealand citizens. Through various channels, this helps explain why New Zealand has been the worst performing advanced country economy in the world over that time - before and after the 1980s economic reforms. Located on remote islands, in an age when personal connections are more important than ever, that performance is unlikely to improve much, whatever else we do, until the government gets out of the business of trying to drive up our population, against the revealed preferences and insights of New Zealanders. We can provide top-notch incomes here - as we did in the decades up to World War Two - but probably only for a modest number of people.

Eric Crampton on the other hand says: It’s easy to scapegoat immigrants for all of the world’s problems – and many do. Proving immigrants do any harm at all is substantially more difficult. The New Zealand Initiative’s 2017 report on immigration looked to the data on immigration and found it difficult to reconcile popular fears about immigration with the data. As best we are able to tell, immigrants have lower crime rates than native-born New Zealanders; the children of immigrants are more likely than Kiwis to pursue higher education; and, immigrants integrate remarkably well into New Zealand society. Arguments that immigrants are to blame for slow productivity growth in New Zealand are inconsistent with either the international evidence of the effects of immigration on wages, and with what New Zealand evidence exists. And where the benefits of agglomeration seem to be increasing, restricting immigration against the revealed preferences of migrants, of those selling or renting them houses, and of those employing them, is likely to do rather more harm than good.


Background reading is available here:

The New Zealand Initiative report on immigration: https://nzinitiative.org.nz/insights/reports/the-new-new-zealanders/

Michael Reddell's pieces on the subject and response to the Initiative report:



RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.co.nz/e/leanz-immigration-policy-settings-and-economic-performance-seminar-leanz-agm-with-michael-reddell-tickets-35247704834



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