Ah, Peter Dunne's a funny old character. Leader of the United Future political party, which has swallowed up more minor parties than Benson-Pope has swallowed tennis balls (Future New Zealand, Advance New Zealand, Ethnic Minority Party, New Zealand Conservative Party, Outdoor Recreation Party and WIN Party).
This week he has hit the headlines, over his claims that New Zealand is being used "as a giant transit lounge by immigrants who come here, gain citizenship and then go to Australia" (a situation no doubt accelerated by dissatisfaction with the Clark-led Government).
Figures released by Dunne showed almost 30% of New Zealand migrants to Australia over the last 7 years were actually born overseas.
"It's a serious concern that many migrants to New Zealand are coming here to gain their citizenship, but then choosing to leave for the greener pastures of Australia," he said.Dunne says the Labour Party have been in denial for a long time about the pace of the exodus. National says it's been warning for two years that the exodus to Australia is a serious threat to the economy.
"We rely heavily on overseas migrants to bolster and fill the gaps in our workforce... If we are losing large numbers of skilled migrants to Australia, then our economy is in big trouble."
In January 2008 alone, 5017 New Zealand citizens left for Australia on a permanent or long term basis, but just less than 800 came back... which works out to a net loss of 4,222.
* Stuff: NZ 'giant transit lounge' for migrants to Oz
* Stuff: Record numbers head to Australia
Posted at 9:36 pm