This week at the Initiative has been all about organising the launch of their report, The New New Zealanders: Why Migrants Make Good Kiwis. The report is incredibly engaging – it’s well-researched arguments are a refreshing change in a world dominated by post-truth politics and ‘alternative facts’ (looking at you, Kellyanne).
My main focus has been composing tweets and Facebook posts ready for launch day, which has given me the opportunity to get clued up about the impact of immigration on New Zealand. Thanks to the mainstream media’s scaremongering, immigration has come to be viewed in a largely negative light, with fears that it somehow ‘dilutes’ a country’s culture.
On the contrary, it’s pretty clear to me that a country is enriched by different cultures, and nowhere is that clearer than in New Zealand. In fact, 87% of immigrants say that they feel like they belong in New Zealand, indicating that they integrate well into society. I’m unconvinced that figure would be as high in most other Western countries, Australia included, owing to our less than welcoming attitude towards immigrants.
A lot of the concerns people have about immigration – that immigrants ‘steal’ jobs, that they don’t integrate, that they commit more crimes than born in a country, that they are a drain on resources and the welfare system – just don’t hold up under scrutiny. In reality, immigrants are net contributors to the New Zealand economy – by the best available figures, they pay more taxes and are less likely to receive government benefits than native-born Kiwis. Hopefully this report will inject some real facts into the debate ahead of this year’s election, and maybe even change some minds.
Monday was a public holiday – Wellington Anniversary Day – so I took the opportunity to immerse myself in some of the Pacific Islander culture, with a live music set on the waterfront. I later took shelter from the rain (yes, it’s still raining) in one of the most stunning cinemas I have ever been to. I cried my eyes out at La La Land in the Light House Cinema’s ridiculously comfy seats (which unfortunately provided little solace), and I’ll definitely be going back when inevitably there’s another rainy day. On clearer days, I’m really enjoying my post-work run to Oriental Bay, which is beautiful come rain or shine.
Signing off for now,