The Population Conference: People, Communities and Growth

  • Winston Peters
Deputy Prime Minister

The Population Conference is to be held on November 13 and 14, Prime Minister Jim Bolger and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters announced today.

Mr Bolger and Mr Peters said the conference, to be held in Wellington, would help inform the public and Government about the economic, social and international issues relating to population change and immigration.

The Population Conference is a commitment of the Coalition Agreement.

A ministerial steering committee has been established by the Prime Minister to oversee general planning for the Population Conference, with Immigration Minister Max Bradford having day-to-day responsibility for the event's organisation.

Mr Bolger said that over the past two decades New Zealand society had undergone profound changes.

"There has been a marked decrease in fertility rates, an increase in one-parent families, and a growth in the number of settlers from non-European countries.

"New Zealand's diverse ethnic make-up today is in marked contrast to that which existed in early years.

"It is therefore appropriate for all of us, including Government, to become better acquainted with the changes that have occurred, the opportunities they bring, and to consider how our country will evolve demographically over the next decade and beyond."

Mr Peters said the conference would take a comprehensive look at demographic aspects influencing economic growth and society, including the implications of an ageing population.

"The Population Conference is a key part of the Coalition Agreement and is an opportunity for New Zealand to explore the relationship between population change and immigration on economic activity and future demand for education, social services and business growth.

"The Conference will also take an intensive look at what contributes to the successful settlement of migrants and factors which may contribute to developing immigration targets," Mr Peters said.

Mr Bolger and Mr Peters said the Population Conference would bring together a diverse range of participants from New Zealand and overseas, including leading representatives from the private sector, the academic world, the public service and interest groups.

The Conference will consider the following areas:

New Zealand's current and future population;
an international perspective on the demographic and economic impacts of immigration;
population change and the role of immigration;
population change and education, skills and growth;
the impact of population change on communities and society; and
population change, growth and development.
The conference will be the first ever held at the new Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa, on central Wellington's harbour front. The museum opens to the public in 1998.

Those wishing to express their interest in attending the conference can do so by contacting:

The Population Conference Secretariat
Corporate Arrangements
ph: (04) 472 4220; fax: (04) 472 4225