Immigration reset (reflecting the govt’s tourism strategy) includes scheme to favour foreigners flush with dosh for investing here

The government has announced its preference for immigrants with money, much the same as its tourist industry strategy favours tourists with plenty of spending stuff.

This policy was contained in a lengthy rundown on immigration issues which emerged from the Beehive as “the immigration reset”.

The PM will be able to chat about this reset with her Australian counterpart soon.  A trans-Tasman leaders meeting  – in the Queenstown area, which is benefiting hugely from government initiatives to lift what are supposed to be its flagging fortunes – will be held at the end of the month.

We imagine the PM sought oodles of expert advice to enable her – if asked – to demonstrate the enormous contribution that flying two PMs with their entourages to Queenstown will make towards creating a carbon-free nation.

We say this because the other big statement of note in the past day or two came from Climate Change Minister James Shaw. He was chuffed that Budget 2021 helps deliver on the Government’s commitment to a carbon-neutral public sector by 2025.

Immigration Reset: Setting the scene

The reset-scene-setting statement (or speech)  was issued in the names of two ministers, Stuart Nash (Economic and Regional Development) and Kris Faafoi  (Immigration), although Faafoi did not attend the function at which it was delivered.

Nash duly declared that conditions created by the Covid-19 pandemic presented

“ … a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change some of the shortcomings in the way we’ve been doing things, and that includes the way we manage immigration”.

Then he said getting our immigration settings right is a balancing act and ticked off some of the facets at play:  humanitarian, social and economic objectives, along with our international commitments and New Zealand’s annual UN-linked refugee programme.

It took him a while to get to the nitty-gritty.

“A reset is not merely about numbers, it’s also about ensuring we have the right incentives to support the growth path we want in our post-COVID recovery.

“It also isn’t a single piece of work. It will be an ongoing process made up of multiple projects.”

With that, he confirmed a new Investment Attraction Strategy to encourage high-value international investment into New Zealand.

“We want targeted, high-quality investment that establishes frontier firms, brings skills and technology to New Zealand.”

Oh, and border exceptions have been established for the Innovative Partnerships Programme and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise’s Investor Programme to enable representatives from global companies to come to New Zealand to conduct on-the-ground negotiations with companies that they wish to invest in.

The risk of foreigners coming here with a bit of Covid (we imagine) is much easier to justify if they bring in big wads of cash.

“These border exceptions will enable over 200 people, representing high-value international investment interests, to come to New Zealand over the next 12 months to conduct due diligence and transact the sort of deals we know will play an important role in supporting New Zealand economic recovery from COVID-19.

“Investment through these programmes will create highly-skilled jobs, enable the valuable transfer of knowledge and technology, and increase international connectivity for New Zealand firms as they allow us to position ourselves globally.”

The government is looking at other ways of attracting people wanting to make large, long-term investments in business and jobs here that will contribute to New Zealand’s economic recovery. More will be revealed “in due course”.

A key focus of the reset will be temporary workers, partner work rights, and the Skilled Migrant Category visa settings.

But an immigration reset process alone isn’t the solution to all our economic objectives, Nash acknowledged.

This work tied in with other government initiatives to boost skills and training and productivity, like the Review of Vocational Education, Regional Skills Leadership Groups, and Industry Transformation Plans.

Australia New Zealand Leaders’ Meeting 2021

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced that Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will visit New Zealand for the annual Australia-New Zealand Leaders’ Meeting on 30 and 31 May.

Morrison, accompanied by his wife, will arrive in Queenstown on Sunday 30 May and talks will take place on the 31st.

Discussions will centre on how Australia and New Zealand will meet the shared challenges they face. The key focus will be the COVID-19 recovery and working together on key regional and security issues.

During the visit, the two Prime Ministers will engage with Australian and New Zealand business, tourism, and community leaders and lay a wreath at the Arrowtown War Memorial.

Budget boosts Carbon Neutral Government commitment

Budget 2021 delivers a total of $67.4 million over four years to implement the Carbon Neutral Government Programme, Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced.

This includes a significant boost of $19.5 million to the successful State Sector Decarbonisation Fund (to support more schools, hospitals and other government organisations to replace coal boilers with clean alternatives) and  $41.8 million for the leasing of low emissions vehicles across the public sector

“A carbon neutral public sector is a key part of this Government’s plan to address the climate emergency. Budget 2021 sets us firmly on the path to achieving that goal,” Shaw said.

“We’re putting tens of millions of dollars into clean energy projects in public organisations across Aotearoa, helping to create jobs and support our recovery from COVID-19.”

The State Sector Decarbonisation Fund has committed funding for 422 electric vehicles and charging infrastructure; and clean energy upgrades at 36 schools, 7 universities and 10 hospitals.

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