As we sit here in this new policy vacuum, one of the more important bits of information we do have are the immigration numbers. They will be cut by up to 30,000.

Now you'll have heard the concern already at the weekend from the likes of Queenstown as to just what they're going to do when those people don't come and their jobs don't get filled.

Unlike a lot of policy, immigration is simple maths.

Labour might, for example, argue round the edges of the TPP looking for a "better deal" but that sort of policy is open to interpretation.


When it comes to work it's much simpler.

Can you fill a job, or not? Is there a job, or not? Are there more jobs than there were a year ago, or not?

What we know without a shadow of a doubt is this country is full of people looking to hire and having trouble doing so.

And Queenstown is your classic example of a boom town - in tourism and construction - and both industries are having real trouble filling gaps. If they're having trouble filling gaps with a net 70,000 migrant gain, how much trouble do you think they'll have when it's net 40,000?

Housing is the same.

It is mathematically impossible to build 10,000 extra houses with fewer people. If we don't build enough houses now, how do we build 10,000 a year more - that's more than 27 a day more - with fewer people?

Labour will tell you they'll train locally.

In theory, fine. In reality, delusional.

Why aren't those people already training? Because they either don't want to build or they can't be bothered.

And neither solves the immediate problem: we are short of labour and even if you dragged every jobless person out of bed today they're still not swinging a hammer tomorrow.

Why, if you're recruiting locally in Queenstown for waiters and hotel workers and baristas, aren't they full?

The same argument applies. The work has been there for years. This problem is not new. We don't bring people into the country on work visas because were bored. We bring them in because we need them.

And that's before you get to the cuts in student visas. That industry is worth between $3 billion and $4 billion a year.

For every student that doesn't come now, someone's bottom line is hit and the more that happens, the closer you get to job losses in the industry.

If we're good at training, and people are prepared to pay big money to come and take advantage of our expertise, why do we want to cut that and not grow it? And when it's cut and jobs go, how has that enhanced our economic story?

The new government, on this policy alone, has a lot of explaining to do.