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Immigration In Perspective

15 May 2002

New Zealand First Leader, Rt Hon Winston Peters, address to Grey Power Upper Hutt, Hapai Club, 879 Fergusson Drive, Upper Hutt. Speech commences at 2.00pm.

There will be a very interesting story in next week’s Australian Bulletin from Sydney about immigration. It’s interesting because it features an interview with New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.

In that interview she says that she would like to see New Zealand taking in even more refugees.

She has never said that to the New Zealand media.

In these times the issue of immigration is no longer simply an issue of economics, although it has deep economic consequences. It is no longer simply an issue of social cohesion, although there are also very grave problems with immigration on that count.

Immigration, especially when it involves so-called refugees has now become an issue of security.

The fact is that it has always been considered as a matter national security everywhere else in the world except here. There is a very good reason why Britain, Canada, the United States and our near neighbour Australia keep their refugees under security.

Even Muslim Arab countries have lists of Muslims they will not allow in because of the risk they pose to security, and because of the political baggage they bring with them, and their ‘unique’ methods of dealing with political opposition to their cause.

But New Zealand lets these people in and even gives them housing, health and governmental blessing.

Currently the Government is bringing in 50,000 immigrants per year, including 4000 who would appear to be here with refugee status. How that 4000 per annum fits into the 750 refugees per annum we have agreed with the United Nations to allow into New Zealand will be beyond most observers. Now the Prime Minister wants to bring in even more.

This number in real terms is already 5 times that which Australia is taking in per annum and there is no economic rationale behind it. Sound immigration policy should be based on the rapid expansion of our exports and an increase in our intellectual wealth. That is not what is going to happen here and has not happened in the last 12 years, where at times well over 40% of all new immigrants are not placed in the economy, but rather become another burden to the New Zealand taxpayer.

The fact is that immigration has quickly become a matter involving the safety of New Zealanders and world security. We should not need to be reminded that only 18 people were required to fly two planes into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and another into a target in Pennsylvania.

Only two people were required to blow-up the Oklahoma Federal building.

The fact is that most of the people from the Tampa probably have no intent to be terrorists. Some may even have genuine concerns for their safety if they were ever returned to their country of origin.

Since it only took 18 people to commit the world stopping acts of September 11, the New Zealand policy must be: ‘better safe than sorry’. Currently we are importing 50,000 immigrants into this country. We are importing, similarly without reason, an additional 4000 refugees officially and another 1500 in through the back door.

So we have once again just opened the door. While Australia battles to maintain its security and in yesterday’s Australian budget they have committed an additional $100 million to bolstering their security.

But here in New Zealand, we say: “OK, come here. We are the soft touches of the international community.” In doing so, we are jeopardising our safety and our future.

It seems that the Prime Minister is now quite willing to place the security of New Zealanders—surely the primary requirement of any government—as a secondary consideration behind international brownie points for herself and her Government.

We are seeing this trend not only on immigration but also in the woeful and shameless run-down of defence. The Government is more than willing to send troops off to East Timor or Bosnia for high profile peacekeeping missions but they can’t find the revenue to fund the defence force back home properly.

What we are seeing is government by stealth, by subterfuge, and by diversion. It is not a new experience but it is one that is being taken to new depths.

We are seeing a government obsessed with profile and governing by photo opportunity. The fact is that sometimes governments have to do unpopular things in order to do the right thing.

The Alliance starts breaking up before our very eyes and the pressure goes on the Government. Along comes Mr Mallard and creates a World Cup diversion.

Ms Clark gets in the gun for art forgery. Someone raises questions about National party funding.

These are the tactics used by the Blair government in Britain, and seen increasingly around the world. It is the politics of phoniness over substance. It is the politics of sacrificing the long-term future of the country in order to get on the news.

You have got to hand it to Helen….she is accessible, the media’s darling. She is being helped in this by the media who are more than willing to help out “their Government”.

And I feel sorry for the media….it hurts me to say it, but I feel sorry for them. Because they are being mislead, diverted, misinformed and deceived.

They are having the wool pulled over their unseeing eyes. The PM tells them what SHE wants them to say……and then they say it!

Now don’t get me wrong I have no sympathy for my dear friends Fay and Richwhite and their erst-while employee Ms Boag. We saw their dirty tricks at the Winebox. But the Labour party operates out of the same box.

I had raised these questions about party funding back in the early 1990, Labour and National looked after each other then because they shared the same financial backup. They still do.

Fay Richwhite—remember them?—gave Labour, for example, $1 million in 1987 and gave National the same amount in 1993.

But back to immigration.
It is difficult to explain the grandstanding on the world stage by the current administration. The decision to open up our country to a large number of self proclaimed refugees from yet another of the world's trouble spots defies comprehension.
New Zealand First is not without heart or feelings for those so desperate to abandon their own countries in order to try and improve their lives and those of their families. But what is New Zealand going to do with the boat-load which will arrive next month? And what of those aboard the ship due the month after that? Will there then be one every month until the end of the year and beyond? My greatest fear is that this single act of kindness may well cause a situation which will add further to the burden of the New Zealand taxpayer and drive the fulfillment of many New Zealanders' hopes and needs beyond reach.

Let us not forget that these people are by any definition queue jumpers.
Also let us not lose sight of the fact that a large number of New Zealanders are in the very same situation. Ask the mother or father of a child waiting for medical attention at Auckland StarShip hospital. Ask the veterans of New Zealand's participation in atomic bomb testings in the pacific. Ask the child who has missed out on the lotto draw denying him or her the chance to attend the college closest to their home. Or ask a son or daughter struggling to get their frail mum or dad into a rest-home where they will get the care and attention they deserve.

In essence, there is so much to be done here in New Zealand for New Zealanders.

It would do well for the Prime Minister to remember that charity does begin at home. She must also know by now that the problems associated with immigration are deep and they are not going away—no matter how many positive photo opportunities she can generate on State Television from it.

The problem remains that an over zealous obsession with immigration is changing the country for the worse.

All the feigned indignation from Ministers protesting in defence of immigration cannot change the fact that wholesale immigration is not a path to economic salvation. Quite the reverse—it is the pathway to economic and social ruin, the results of which are already clear.

All the attacks from the media-turned-governmental cheerleaders slurring me with the racist label will not change the incrementally growing facts.

Last weekend in the Sunday Star Times the editorial asked the following:
“Aspiring demagogues cannot, therefore, claim that we are being "swamped" by bogus refugees. No foreign "tide" is engulfing us….Aspiring demagogues can point to a strong growth in ordinary immigration - a net inflow of about 26,000 a year to March…Is the stage set for a reprise of Winston Peters' 1995 immigration panic?”

A demagogue? I add that insult to the long list of insults that have come my way by the self anointed guardians of New Zealand.

Also there was a bizarre attack on me by the New Zealand Herald the day before that. Their editorial writer John Roughan wrote:

“One of the little irritants of holding some classic liberal views is occasionally to be called fascist. Winston Peters, when he gets steamed up, is particularly fond of the slur…Winston follows the political principle that it is actually a very good idea for the pot to call the kettle black. As our nearest equivalent to Jean-Marie Le Pen he needs an ogre to his right”

An irritant, comparable to the nasty anti-Semitic Jean-Marie Le Pen?

Do I find this irritating? Marginally. Actually I find it quite funny. It is extremely funny to see the anointed few squirm and finger-point at those who don’t share their views. It is gratifying to see the country’s snot-nosed political elite huffily denounce me and defend the honour of the country against “demagogues like Winston Peters”.

It is heart warming to see these people cast themselves as the defenders of honour and good taste.

It is uplifting to see these sickly white liberals deciding for the rest of us what is in good taste and that topics such as immigration and race relations are beyond discussion. Yet in the very same breath that same New Zealand herald destroys forests to write about transport gridlock and shortages in housing and health services in Auckland. There must be something in the Waikato river water they drink now in Auckland that stops them from making the intellectual connection between immigration and these problems.

So in an effort to disgust these people here is what New Zealand First thinks on immigration.

It’s not too hard to tell you because our policy has not changed in this regard.

What New Zealand First is saying is this: “It is time the Government and those in power remembered just who it is they are entrusted to serve.” That is the central message that New Zealand First will be putting before the country in the lead up to New Zealand’s third MMP election.

“Whose country is it anyway?”. That is the question we will be asking the other parties. And our answer is clear. It is our country. It belongs first and only to New Zealanders first, and New Zealanders any place but last. It is our country, and we intend to run it that way.

Our policy is clear.

New Zealand First intends to concentrate upon uplifting the living standards of those New Zealanders here now… rather than adding new pressures through unrestricted immigration.

We in New Zealand have allowed successive governments since 1984 to devalue our nationhood, and demean the significance of what it is to be a New Zealander. Today we even bring people here, not because we want them here, but for the money they bring with them. We are in effect selling citizenship of our country to anyone who wants to buy it.

People continue to flood in by the tens of Thousands while hundreds of thousands of people already here, including recent migrants, through failure in our own education system, economic devastation arising from scorched earth economic policies, and governments which do not care, can not even earn a decent living for themselves and their families.

We say that it is time to realise that when the things that past generations have built for future generations to enjoy, the very things that made New Zealand the special place it was, are now breaking down.

Our policy is not aimed at photo opportunities. It is aimed at the long term security of the country.

Unlike the current administration, we realise that the first obligation of government is to its own citizens, the people who put it there, the people they claim to represent, those same people for whose welfare security and prosperity it exists to preserve.

Only New Zealand First realises that and will deliver on it.


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