New Zealand will not cut immigration: PM

March 16th, 2009 - 12:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Wellington, March 16 (DPA) New Zealand is not likely to follow Australia in cutting immigration to protect local jobs during the current recession, Prime Minister John Key indicated Monday.
“New Zealand needs skilled migrants to grow,” he said under questioning at his weekly news conference.

“We have a skills deficit and while that may abate slightly because of the downturn in the economy and growing unemployment, we still need to make sure we have got enough skills to grow our economy and develop further,” Key said.

He said New Zealand had a target of about 45,000 skilled immigrants a year and “while it’s always possible that the minister may recommend some changes, it’s not something that’s top of mind at the moment”.

Australia’s Immigration Minister Chris Evans announced Monday that its skilled migration programme would be clipped by 14 percent, or 18,500 jobs, over the next three years. The total number of immigrants, which has doubled over the past decade, will be reduced from 133,500 this year to 115,000 next year.

Key noted that Australia’s immigrant intake had increased much more rapidly than New Zealand’s.

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