Jacinda Ardern: Labour hasn't budged on its immigration policy
Last updated 13:24, October 21 2017
Labour's immigration policy survived coalition negotiations, Jacinda Ardern says.
Labour's immigration policy is unchanged following negotiations with NZ First, Jacinda Ardern has revealed.
In an interview with The Nation on Saturday morning, when asked where the "sweet spot" was in the contentious issue, the Prime Minister-elect said: "You'll see Labour's policy remains absolutely unchanged as a result of these negotiations."
Under that policy, Labour estimates net migration will fall by 20,000 to 30,000 a year, mostly by limiting the number of people granted student and work visas. (In the year to June 2017, net migration was 72,305.)
Green Party leader James Shaw says he is "delighted" his party will have government ministers.
NZ First campaigned on reducing net migration to just 10,000 people per year.
Immigration was expected to have a been one of the bigger concessions made in forming the new government, but in Saturday's interview Ardern confirmed Labour's numbers "would remain".
Both leaders' tough talk on immigration during the campaign earned them international comparisons to United States President Donald Trump. Trump promised to crack down on immigration during his presidential election campaign last year and, after being elected, banned people from predominantly Muslim countries from entering the US.
Ardern rejected the comparison, as did Peters, who said: "I was around long before anybody ever heard of Donald Trump in politics."
Where is the sweet spot on immigration? "Labour's policy remains absolutely unchanged" by the negotiations #nationnz
— The Nation (@TheNationNZ) October 20, 2017
One of the more interesting quotes from Peters' coalition announcement was when he said capitalism had failed.
When asked if she agreed with that statement, Ardern replied: "On my measure, if you have hundreds of thousands of children living in homes without enough to survive, that's a blatant failure."
She said she would describe her government as one "focused on people ... We're focused on generating wellbeing for New Zealanders".
When asked what Labour offered that National hadn't, Ardern responded with one word: "Change."
She added: "Change isn't a sentiment, although it can start to feel like it in a campaign, but the change we were talking about is meaningful. The change we were talking about is material, meaningful change.
"I have a sense Peters chose the position that was policy-focused, rather than position-focused."
Ardern also talked about wanting to implement consistent measures for social issues such as child poverty and homelessness, so the public could hold the government accountable for progress.
Appearing later in the show, Green Party leader James Shaw said he was "delighted" his party, after 27 years "in the wilderness", would now have government ministers.
Although those ministers wouldn't be in Cabinet, he said "in practical terms, that makes very little difference at all".
"I don't think being outside Cabinet actually makes that much material difference. I do know action on climate change will be at the heart of the government's agenda."
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