New Zealand First believes that everyone living in New Zealand legally should be entitled to the same legal rights no matter how long their time in New Zealand has been.  

The size and suddenness of the pandemic has shaken the global economy - and as an open economy New Zealand is profoundly affected.  The end of the crisis is not in view yet but immigration, along with other aspects of the economy, will need a fundamental rethink.  New Zealand has had one of the fastest growing populations in the developed world because of high rates of immigration well above natural population increase.  There has been an immediate and dramatic drop in immigration as borders closed due to the pandemic.  But it is also becoming apparent that the scale of immigration that fed headline economic growth in both Australia and New Zealand now belongs to another era.  

New Zealand First is committed to a rigorous and strictly applied immigration policy that serves New Zealand’s interests. Immigration should not be used as a source of cheap labour to undermine New Zealanders’ pay and conditions. COVID-19 has presented a unique opportunity to reset New Zealand’s immigration policy settings, ensuring that they put New Zealanders first. 

There will be briefly a vacuum that essential workers must fill, with overseas seasonal workers until substitute training or retraining of New Zealander’s has occurred.   


  • Ensure that Kiwi workers are at the front of the job queue
  • Guarantee that immigration policy is based on New Zealand’s interests such as meeting critical skill gaps 
  • Maintain parent category visa cap at 1000 and ensure that sponsors can adequately support and fund their family during and after migration 
  • Continue to develop strategies that encourage regionally dispersed immigration so that it lessens the burden on already overloaded urban cities
  • Investigate a ‘skills of absolute shortage’ visa category to replace the incumbent skills shortage list 
  • Ensure that regionalised skills shortage lists reflect and are consistent with COVID-19 recovery efforts
  • Introduce a ‘rural visa scheme’ that will apply to communities of less than 100,000 residents, while placing into law an obligation for migrants to stay in their specified place of settlement until they have secured permanent residency 

Population Plan:

  • Have a nationwide review to set a 30 year ‘Population Plan’ to gain a majority view on the level of future population numbers. This will enable government to plan infrastructure with consideration for natural population growth, immigration, and attrition via death or emigration