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National MP's discrimination claims wrong

The Government's policy on Working Holiday Visas does not discriminate against Pacific peoples as claimed by the National MP Arthur Anae, the Minister of Immigration, Lianne Dalziel, said today.

Working Holiday schemes are reciprocal agreements with countries that have visa-free status with New Zealand. The countries with which New Zealand hopes to negotiate future schemes are also visa-free. There are nine countries in the scheme, with Italy, Germany and Hong Kong currently under negotiation.

Lianne Dalziel said there are work schemes in place with Kiribati and Tuvalu that allow up to 20 and 80 people respectively to work in New Zealand for up to three years.

New Zealand also has a Samoan Quota Scheme where up to 1100 Samoans may be granted residency in New Zealand each year and a Pitcairn Island Scheme where Pitcairn Islanders are considered for residence under a special policy if they meet health and character requirements and have a job offer.

"The Government is also looking at developing a Pacific Access Category for residence," Lianne Dalziel said.

Lianne Dalziel said it must be remembered that Nuieans, Cook Islanders and Tokelauans are New Zealand citizens and have full rights to live and work in New Zealand.

"This Government is well aware of the support it receives from Pacific Island communities and is continually working on maintaining the excellent relationship New Zealand has with its South Pacific neighbours," Lianne Dalziel said.

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