Our immigration system not working says National MP

Leanne Warr






Erica Stanford believes the current immigration system is broken. The National MP was speaking on immigration and education at the inaugural National Wairarapa electorate Supporters Club meeting in Dannevirke recently. She said before Covid, New Zealand had a really tough two or three years in the immigration system. “Huge long queues for residency — we’ve treated migrants pretty poorly.” Stanford said in 2018-19 something “went wrong in immigration. The system was broken”. She said the whole system with work visas had been turned upside down and restructured and farmers were working 16 hour days because they couldn’t get staff. It had also impacted in other industries as well. “The world has changed since 2018 when they decided they needed to drive down migration.” New Zealand was seeing the largest workforce shortage in 40 years, Stanford said. She said New Zealand was now considered not the best for those looking to work in other countries. “Migrants want certainty. The biggest handbrake on our economy is getting skilled people.” As part of her portfolio in education, Stanford said she had been travelling up and down the country talking to principals to identify the needs of individual schools. Her biggest concern in education was numeracy, literacy and attendance. She said there was an attendance crisis in the country with around 60,000 children who were chronically truant. Truancy was also far more prevalent in lower decile schools. “People are not valuing education like they used to.” Stanford said the party would be taking a social investment approach with programmes like early intervention for truancy and literacy was also a problem with many children now struggling to read and a curriculum that wasn’t supporting students. She said she was spending a lot of time thinking about how she could make a difference. “There are multiple issues and we won’t be able to solve everything, but how can we make the biggest difference.”