So what happened to the rage over immigration, eh?

Remember not so long ago, every month the numbers would come out, followed closely by the gasps of horror. What do you mean there are 72,000 more people here? No wonder we can't afford a house! No wonder I can't get work, they've gone and taken all our jobs! This country is full already and the last thing we need is more people who don't fit in.

Cue the election campaign and they couldn't roll out the cuts fast enough. Winston Peters, of course, has traded on it for years but no one (well 7 per cent so it's next to no one) takes him seriously. But Labour saw its "in" and out came the 20,000 to 30,000 cut promise. Little started it, Ardern ran with it.

Of course people like me, who at times it seemed stood pretty much alone in my support for immigration numbers, suggested it was smoke and mirrors given we actually needed these people.


Christchurch was, and is, being rebuilt by these people. These people only come here if we need them. And I wonder if that wasn't part of the problem for those who so vehemently opposed immigration, basically they didn't get it.

Perhaps they thought we were like Europe: just any old operator can wander in. Whereas there are actually quite the hurdles.

You have three groups: Aussies and New Zealanders can come and go as they please, and lately for the first time in decades we have more coming than going (although that could be about to change); students, who pay to study - it's a $4 billion industry; and those on working visas - and you get a working visa if you have skills we are short of. And as a result, we have been seeing records broken.

This week's number was 69,000, that's a net gain. There are 69,000 more people here at the end of last month than there were at the same time last year. Now that's down from the peak of 72, but it's still big.

And yet this week, no outcry. Barely a whimper. Why? Here's my guess - because the majority of the noise was coming from the left. They hated National, Labour promised to change it. Labour hasn't, the supporters are embarrassed so they're quiet and hope it will all go away without anyone noticing.

Well sorry, I'm still here, and in a weird way grateful. Grateful that Labour has clearly woken up to the fact they actually need these people.

As we said all along, without them, no houses are getting built, no jobs getting filled. Just last week, jobs in Rotorua: up 15 per cent, applications per job down 25 per cent - we are desperate for people to work.

Labour should never have promised it.


In fact, the cynic might suggest they promised it knowing full well they were never going to actually do anything, but did it for votes.

Either way you will notice how quiet they've gone on it all now, not a peep. Whether it was Machiavellian or naivety, good news is they've finally realised being a magnet for new people with new skills is no bad thing.