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Three in ten New Zealanders think Asian newcomers are taking away Kiwi jobs

April 13, 2011 - Wellington (New Zealand)

A majority of New Zealanders believe Asian immigrants are taking their jobs, a study has found.

According to the annual Asia New Zealand Foundation study, by Colmar Brunton, three in ten New Zealanders taking part in a survey thought Asian immigrants were not mixing well with New Zealanders and were taking local jobs away.

In all, 1000 people were surveyed last year. In 2009, a little over two in ten (22 per cent) felt the same way. In 2010,40 per cent felt Asian people were not mixing well with New Zealanders, compared with 34 per cent in 2009.

However, the average feeling of warmth toward people from Japan, India and China was about the same, down to 70 per cent last year from 72 per cent in 2009.

The Dominion Post quoted Asia New Zealand Foundation policy and research director Andrew Butcher, as saying that perceptions may have been slanted by coverage of the Crafar farms bid, Japanese whaling and Pete Bethune's trial, and the controversy surrounding the lead- up to the Delhi Commonwealth Games. The recession may also have affected results, which was mirrored by surveys in other countries.

Forty-three per cent said it was quite important to develop cultural and economic ties with Asia, while 44 per cent said it was very important.

About 60 per cent of respondents said more could be done to help New Zealanders understand Asian cultures and traditions, while 52 per cent said New Zealand was doing enough to establish business links with the region.

About 77 per cent of Kiwis see the Asian region as important to New Zealand's future, while 38 per cent see it as very important.

Only Australia, with 86 per cent, was seen as more important than Asia.

Eight-four percent said they were positive about Asians' contributions to New Zealand and 75 per cent said Asian immigrants brought valuable cultural diversity.


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