Interesting reading yesterday, I thought, with the following title on Stuff: Pacific migrants ‘drain on economy’.To be perfectly honest, when I read that I thought what’s our beloved Foreign Minister up to now?
However the article is about a study conducted by one of Massey University’s Economists, Greg Clydesdale, on the “significant and enduring under-achievement” of NZ’s Polynesian immigrants and the problems that presents to NZ as a whole.
To quote the article:
Issued last week, the document says Polynesians are less productive and less likely to contribute to economic growth. They have the highest unemployment in every age group, are less likely to start businesses and have lower rates of self-employment.
Polynesians are over-represented in crime statistics and have higher rates of convictions and prosecutions. They are also more likely to be victims of violent crime. They are more likely to need Government assistance for housing and income.
It helps me confirm a thought I’ve had for a while that, as a country, we have quite a lot at stake in terms of the quality of life and education in our neighbouring Polynesian nations. We do contribute a lot of aid already, but China is generally surpassing us as it works to increase its influence in the Pacific, and I think we need to do more.
It’s in our best interests to invest in public education in Polynesian nations. We, as a country, would benefit as much, if not more, than the nations we were investing in. Better education and quality of life fights each of the negative points in the quote above – something that would benefit New Zealand and every single Polynesian nation. It would improve productivity, contribute more to economic growth, increase employability, reduce the over-repesentation in crime, and reduce reliance of Govt assistance.
Naturally, there would be a lot of issues that would come with any sort of focus or approach like I think I’m suggesting. We need to respect their sovereignty for one. We need to respect their culture and values as another. But I don’t think these are insurmountable especially given 6.9% of NZ’s population are Polynesian – that’s a large pool to draw upon. I imagine a lot of NZ primary and secondary teachers would love to do a ‘tour of duty’ in one of the Islands for instance…
Surely this is an idea worth pursuing?
Update: Had a bit more time to think about this and I think it’s a pretty stupid idea now. How could you, in good faith, subject anyone else to our education system and bureaucracy??