Parties split on immigration levels
Page 1 of 3 ..... 4:00AM Monday Oct 20, 2008
By Claire Trevett

NZ First leader Winston Peters had been suspiciously quiet on immigration until last week.

The party's policy was on its website but scarcely a word was said about it, a stark contrast from previous elections when it was one of NZ First's main campaign planks.

Just as Labour was beginning to think it had quietened the beast with its Immigration Bill - a promise to overhaul immigration processes and provide for tighter border security - Mr Peters popped up in Nelson demanding migrant numbers be cut.

The prompt was the grim economic outlook and forecasts of job losses, and the target was migrants.

Mr Peters called for dramatic cuts from 50,000 a year to 10,000 and for family reunification to be restricted to immediate family only, saying jobs had to be protected for Kiwis.

The Greens called for an increase in migrants, especially refugees, and for space to also be ensured for "climate change refugees" forced out of their countries by rising sea levels.

More here.