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Population Policy Summary

Kennedy Graham MP
kennedy [dot] graham [at] parliament [dot] govt [dot] nz (Email)

Read the full Population Policy

We love Aotearoa New Zealand, and we want to look after it and all of its people.

We want to make sure that there is enough for all Kiwis, our Pacific neighbours and all of humanity, to enjoy a decent quality of life.

We can do this by living and doing business in smarter, greener ways.

Our Population Policy is about understanding the optimal population for Aotearoa, planning for the future, and enabling parents to make informed choices about family size.

Our current resident population is over 4 million, with at least another million New Zealand citizens and their dependents overseas. Our birth rate is roughly at replacement level at the moment. Our per capita ecological footprint is among the highest in the world, but our population density is low compared to other countries. Ministry of the Environment current modelling estimates put our carrying capacity at 5.7 million, but an agreed optimum population size for Aotearoa/New Zealand cannot be easily determined.

Key Principles

  • New Zealand's population should not exceed the ecological carrying capacity of the country.

  • Uneven regional distribution of the population will be remedied through regional development measures.
  • Informed decisions about family size and spacing will be made by the parents concerned.
  • A stable population is desirable to minimise negative impacts on infrastructure and resources.

Specific Policy Points

Determining a sustainable population for Aotearoa/New Zealand

  • Support continuing development of the Ministry for the Environment's Ecological Footprint modelling to incorporate best practice.

  • Seek to reduce New Zealand's per capita ecological footprint by supporting practices that curb unnecessary production and consumption.

Fertility and natural increase of the population

  • Ensure that all potential and existing parents have full and free access to family planning services so that informed decisions about the number and spacing of children can be made by the parents concerned.

Retention of spare population capacity

  • Regularly review NZ's immigration policy to retain population capacity to absorb climate change refugees and returning NZ citizens.

An optimum population and quality of life.

  • Research what an optimum population level could be in order to maintain both spare capacity and an acceptable standard of living.

  • Plan and prepare for the effects of an aging population.
  • Develop regional population plans, in partnership with local communities and tangata whenua.

Aotearoa /New Zealand as a responsible global citizen

  • Accept our share of climate change refugees particularly from Pacific Island countries.

  • Work cooperatively with other countries to address problems of over-population and environmentally unsustainable lifestyles.
  • Support initiatives to raise awareness amongst parents and potential parents regarding the issue of sustainable global population levels
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