Are international students harming us here in Auckland? Should we reduce their numbers - or perhaps try harder to attract even more of them?
Last year, in researching a report on the Auckland-China relationship, the Committee for Auckland looked at the contribution overseas students make to our city. We found no evidence overseas students cause any harm. Quite the reverse: they are a major source of income for us.
New Zealand earned $1 billion in tuition fees from all overseas students in 2015. But it doesn't stop there.
For every $1 a Chinese student spends on tuition, Infometrics calculated that he or she adds $2 more in value through spending on food, rent, and entertainment.
Infometrics also estimates overseas students generate about 13,600 jobs directly in New Zealand, and indirectly create 15,000 more. And the lion's share of those jobs are in Auckland.
Do international students abuse the system as a pathway to residency?
When we wrote our report last year, the most common route Chinese tertiary students took to stay in New Zealand was arduous: completing English language studies, undertaking tertiary studies, entering the workforce and finally gaining residence through the skilled or business streams.
There is also a post-study visa available to overseas students who have qualified here - but it only grants a year's residence, and only about one in 10 international students receives one.
Education is a great way to bring talented young people to New Zealand. People who have studied here make good migrants.
They are used to New Zealand culture - after all, we've educated them - and integrate easily.
We believe in championing the value of international students as a pipeline of talent.
And international competition for students is hot. In Auckland, we market ourselves as a safe, English-speaking city that's a great place to live, work and play.
But we need to recognise that we're competing globally for these young people - not just with Wellington and Christchurch, but with Brisbane, Melbourne and Vancouver, all of which make similar claims.
Australia courts overseas students vigorously. Melbourne's international student centre is open to overseas students studying anywhere in the city.
It offers computers and wifi, and also crisis support, interpreters and help in emergencies.
Sydney officially appoints selected international students as honorary ambassadors, and gives them active roles promoting the city's offering to international students in the city, like leading the international student float in the Chinese New Year parade, or taking on positions at Youth Week.
By contrast, Auckland is on the back foot. When we looked at China, we found most of Auckland's institutions were not well known there.
And, when students arrive here, they find an unwelcoming city that is expensive to get around.
To keep up with the competition, Auckland needs to actively welcome overseas students. The mayor has hosted a welcome event, which is a great start, but we need to go much further.
Our report advocates exploring the feasibility of options like a dedicated international student space, or an international student card that provides discounts from local retailers and gives good access to public transport across the city.
Reducing student numbers? Let's not shoot ourselves in the foot.
It's an idea that will drive down New Zealand's international reputation in education, pushing students away and taking jobs and money directly out of Auckland's economy.
In the global battle for talented young migrants, we need to compete to win.
• Heather Shotter is chief executive of the Committee for Auckland. Dr Nicola Rowe is author of Rhetoric, Reality and Opportunity: The Auckland-China Relationship (published September 2016 by the Committee for Auckland).