In the 1980s Winston Peters talked about New Zealand beginning to look like an Asian colony and, with China being the major contributor to our immigration, followed closely by India, could it be that his words were, heaven forbid, prophetic?

There has to be considerable food for thought around immigration.

Say what you will about Shane Jones’s comments regarding the culture of arranged marriages and his suggestion that Indians not liking our rules and threatening to leave should jump on the next plane home, one thing’s for sure: Shane Jones has firmly and decisively placed immigration matters at the forefront of the national agenda, twelve months out from the general election.

This is in itself unusual. Winston has usually saved a bit of anti-Asian New Zealand First rhetoric for much closer to election time and it has worked remarkably well for him in the past.

Could it be that Shane Jones, who is clearly the “anointed one” to take over the New Zealand First leadership, has just stolen a march on everyone and reignited his party’s chances in 2020 in one fell swoop?

While the Prime Minister (and Labour in general) have been working hard trying to wind back and separate themselves from his comments, Jones has stood firm and he has done so with good reason. His foray into this stand-off with the Indian community is based on sound thinking which probably most New Zealanders, including many immigrants, will ultimately support. Because it really is time for us to take stock of exactly what we want to look like as a nation over the next fifty years.

Jones has created a bit of a distraction by saying they can’t expect to bring their whole villages here and that if they don’t like it they should take the next plane home, but put that to one side and think about where we are.

“According to Statistics New Zealand estimates, New Zealand’s net migration (long-term arrivals minus long-term departures) in the June 2016/17 year was 72,300.”

Wikipedia

If you look at an average net migration gain of say 50,000 a year on average over 10 years, that’s 500,000 – in a country that has a total population of 5 million. You can’t have 500,000 new immigrants arriving over 10 years without it impacting in some way.

You only have to look at Auckland’s infrastructure bursting at the seams to see that our population growth has exceeded our ability to cope with it and all of us who choose to live here, regardless of cultural origins, need to have a say in what we think is best for the future of our chosen country.

Add in cultural differences and language issues and the melting pot will become more like a pressure cooker.

Shane Jones has put the subject squarely on the table. We need to be talking about this.