Key Points:

The Maori Party's comments that immigration policy is a deliberate ploy to stop "the browning of New Zealand" has been rejected by a recruitment consultant.

Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia said it was predicted that by the year 2050 there will be a significant number of people with Maori, Pacific Island and Asian backgrounds.

She accused the Government of trying to prevent that by encouraging immigration from traditional countries such as Australia, Britain and Canada.

Ms Turia said such a move has an impact on the political representation of Maori.

Official figures show the net number of Australians has dropped by more than 42,000 in the past two years.

In the same period, the net number of migrants from the UK has increased by around 20,000 and from Canada and the US by 2,100.

Recruitment consultant Kim Smith said immigrants are vital because they bring much needed skills and she believes New Zealanders need to be more tolerant of them.

Foreign Minister Winston Peters said the Government 's immigration policy finally acknowledges the necessity of a good command of the English language.

He said New Zealand needs trained minds not just hands, and the minds need to be capable of speaking the language.

He said language standards are not unique to New Zealand and are also strictly applied by Asian countries.

Recently, Statistics New Zealand opted not to increase the allocation of Maori seats in Parliament from seven to eight because not enough people had signed onto the Maori electoral role relative to the whole population.