11 May 2009

UK economist warns against immigration cuts

9:16 pm on 11 May 2009

A visiting economist says New Zealand would be making a huge mistake if it cuts immigration because of the recession.

As the number of unemployed people rises, there is growing pressure on the Government to prioritise jobs for those already living in New Zealand.

Australia is cutting its intake by 14%.

But British author and economist Philippe Legrain says New Zealand needs to prepare now for economic recovery by keeping immigration strong.

Mr Legrain says immigrants are a "lifeline" to the world economy and a "launch pad" for recovery.

He says a diverse workforce is an asset because different people "spark off" each other, lifting innovation and productivity.