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Winston Peters Speech - Immigration Matters

Media Release : SPEECH

Rt Hon Winston Peters

Public Meeting

Kilbirnie/Lyall Bay Community Centre

56-58 Bay Road, Kilbirnie


5 June 2002

Immigration Matters

The subject of this speech today is immigration.

This is an issue that has been central to NZ First since the party’s inception - and for very good reason.

Immigration matters

Today let us spell out why it matters, how New Zealand has gone seriously wrong and where NZ First stands on this issue of vital importance to our country.

New Zealanders are deeply perturbed by this country’s immigration policy -

or rather the lack of one.

Although it has not registered yet with Labour or National, immigration is a core concern with the New Zealand electorate.

And that is a concern we share with many other countries.

There is now widespread alarm at the massive inflows of immigration to the affluent world.

In countries throughout the developed world people are demanding action to stop out- of- control immigration.

Let me give you some examples:

- Prior to his assassination, Pim Fortuyn changed the political landscape in Holland by putting that country’s immigration policy at the forefront of the general election - his impact being confirmed by the success of his party in the election despite his death.

- In France, the success of Jean Marie Le Pen has been largely attributed to his stance on immigration - an issue his political rivals for years refused to address.

- In Denmark, immigration was the central issue in last year’s election.

- Across the Tasman we saw the Labour party thrashed in last year’s election, despite being the red-hot favourite, because the Australian public rejected its vacillating and weak-kneed stance on illegal immigrants.

- Concern with the consequences of high levels of immigrations is not the exclusive province of the political right. In the UK a Labour Government seems to be finding its spine on immigration.

The British Home Secretary David Blunkett recently refused to apologise for saying asylum seekers were "swamping" some British schools.

Blunkett insists children of asylum seekers should be taught in accommodation centres rather than being allowed to overwhelm local schools.

Despite the predictable chorus of criticism from the race relations industry in the UK the Home Secretary's is unrepentant - and his stance has been backed up by Tony Blair

You may be interested to know that earlier this year the British Government introduced a White Paper on immigration and nationality that proposes sweeping new measures including:

- Applicants for nationality being required to swear an oath of allegiance at a formal ceremony

- Exams to test the English of those applying for nationality

- A crack down on marriages of convenience

- The creation of asylum seeker accommodation centres

- Streamlining the legal procedures for dealing with asylum seekers

- Raising the maximum jail term for people convicted of harbouring illegal immigrants from six months to 14 years

In contrast to what is happening internationally, immigration hardly seems to register as an issue with our Government. The reason is that it has become like its predecessor, part of a planned deception.

If you look at the Autumn 2002 edition of “Linkz” put out by the NZ Immigration service of the Department of Labour you will see a report on New Zealand’s Bangladeshi community under the title “skilled migrants”. It states “around 2000 Bangladeshi people live in New Zealand, 95% having arrived since the easing of our immigration policy in 1995.” That statement under the title “skilled migrants” is an exercise in deception and the senior people at NZIS know it. For the record, immigration policy was changed in October 1995 but a long lead-in time from its announcement in June of that year explains why 1,300 Bangladeshis immediately applied to come here before the new policy came into force on 30 October 1995.

By March the next year (1996) immigration had become a huge political issue, and the then Minister of Immigration, Roger Maxwell, ordered an audit into Bangladeshi immigration involving 600 residency applications through the New Delhi office, and covering over 1,300 Bangladeshis because the applications included wives and children and many others who were young and single (or so their applications claimed.) The reason for this audit was that Mr. Maxwell and his colleagues thought that they would embarrass me because they thought that I, and my law firm, were involved. We weren’t and my law firm promptly sued the Minister.

In July of that year NZIS ordered an on the ground investigation in Bangladesh by officers of the Service whereupon they immediately uncovered the following:

- Wholesale document fraud

- False work experience

- False asset declarations

- And more

Back then $100,000 (NZ) in asset value would increase an applicant’s immigration points. Nearly all the asset valuations were false purporting to give value to worthless, mostly gifted, hovels, which had been passed from family to family and were to be further passed on to family when the “owner’ left Bangladesh. When Mr. Maxwell called the audit into the mismanagement by NZIS he was the only one not to know the scale of the fraud involved. NZIS had known this for 14 months and hold warnings on file proving that.

NZIS simply did not tell their Minister that he would be making a fool of himself. NZIS managers who knew of the fraud rallied to protect themselves and deliberately withheld information from the audit.

Which begs the question; why did Chris Hampton, General Manager of NZIS, not warn his Minister of what was happening before the audit and during the audit? Why did Chris Hampton and NZIS management not tell their Minister that they had been processing, without verification, documents, assets, and qualifications? In fact were not verifying anything?

Bangladeshis were coming to New Zealand having borrowed to pay for false documentation, local agent fees, and the NZIS application fee of $700. And some are still paying those borrowings back. There are numerous examples of Bangladeshis having pooled housing in Auckland sending money home from beneficiary payments in New Zealand.

The New Zealand taxpayer was funding immigration fraud, facilitated by NZIS failing to do immigration checks. In short, the documentation and valuations were specious, which any verification procedure could have picked up on the spelling mistakes on the application forms. I intend to raise a number of issues with the Minister of Immigration into those circumstances and into how it was, when checks were made on academic qualifications claimed out of the Middle East, almost nine out of ten were found to be false. On page 8 of the Dominion on 1/9/2001 you will see that a woman was refused a permit to stay here because her husband’s documentation was later found to be false. Where he is now no one knows or seemingly cares. In the Dominion of Friday 4 July 1997 (page 2) is a report of the Minister settling with the law firm. In short when he found out the truth and that his allegations were going to embarrass him, not me, he dropped the whole idea like a hot brick.

But if one looks at the Dominion for Christmas Eve (24/12/97) one will see in the situations vacant column an advertisement by the Department of Labour for a General Manager for

the NZIS. If one looks at the State Sector Act, clauses 51(2) and 51(6) which cover advertising and qualifications for a position then one will see clearly why the advertisement was being run, totally unprecedented, on Christmas Eve next to advertisements for butchers and chefs and an occupational health nurse.

The consequences of this absolute farce get even more serious when you realise how many Bangladeshis with false documentation promptly left New Zealand with permanent

residency to automatically qualify to live in Australia. If one examines the Australian immigration records one will see that the biggest increase, following this fiasco, of immigration by nationality into Australia came from Bangladesh and Iraq and one other country of similar ilk that we have had extensive dealings with. Within two years of that event Helen Clark was in Australia signing an agreement, extraordinarily adverse to New Zealanders seeking to live in Australia. No Kiwi thereafter would qualify for any state support until having lived there for two years. That’s what happens when you have a bungling department being paid on processing of applications regardless of their authenticity and individuals being promoted for doing just that.

All the heads of NZIS today are totally aware of this disgrace but go on perpetuating the myth that wholesale immigration is good and that it is increasing our skills base.

Can there be any other explanation for putting the appallingly misguided Lianne Dalziel in charge of the immigration portfolio?

The old guard parties may try and turn a blind eye to immigration this year but NZ First will put it firmly on the election agenda.

Where it absolutely needs to be.

Present Policy

So where do things stand at the moment?

Quite simply New Zealand’s approach to immigration is a mess

There has been massive and largely out of control immigration into NZ - and that is not abating. The number of people being granted permanent residency status is staggering:

Accordingly to NZ Immigration Service information I have obtained through Parliamentary Questions this year the number of people approved for residence over the past three years is;

1999/00 35,000

2000/01 44,000

and almost 50,000 this financial year.

What did the last census reveal?

- Almost 1 in 5 New Zealand residents were born overseas compared with only 1 in 6 a decade earlier

- In the Auckland region 1 in 3 people were born overseas

- There are now more people of Asian ethnicity than Pacific Island peoples

- People of Asian ethnicity have more than doubled in a decade.

- Two thirds of people of Asian ethnicity live in Auckland

These are facts

Stating these facts is not implying criticism of people of any particular ethnicity.

The overwhelming majority of people who migrate to New Zealand are fine, hard working and law-abiding people.

This is not implying any criticism of them as individuals.

In fact, if we were in their shoes we too would see New Zealand as the Promised Land.

The issue has nothing to do with whether migrants are nice people.

The point is that current levels of immigration are fundamentally changing the character of our country in a totally ad hoc way.

Where is the thought, the reflection, the vision behind our immigration policy?

When were the people of New Zealand ever consulted on immigration?

What is the justification for the present high levels of immigration?

Is there any evidence the Government has given any thought whatsoever to the impact current levels of immigration is having on schools, welfare and health care services, especially in Auckland where the great majority of immigrants settle?

Rational debate on immigration policy in New Zealand has been stifled because political correctness has decided that the word immigration has to be synonymous with “racism.’

Well some things need to be said.

Like the fact that the Minister of Immigration tolerates an estimated 20,000 overstayers in New Zealand.

That by the time the immigration service actually gets around to dealing with many of the asylum seekers who have entered this country they are well settled with NZ born children.

That New Zealand is viewed as the “free money” destination by the people smuggling rings because of the easy access to medical care and welfare benefits.

To its credit, yet seriously overdue, the NZ Herald has been exposing the state of disarray that characterises NZ’s immigration.

The Herald has revealed that large-scale people smuggling operations involving hundreds of asylum seekers have been active in NZ using false documents.

No one, of course, has been charged with such smuggling.

Our immigration policy is a joke

But no one is laughing

Ordinary Kiwis despair at the total ineptitude of our Government which thinks immigration is about scoring what it regards as public relations victories -like offering to take Tampa refugees. Our relations with Australia have considerably worsened despite all the hype of the Prime Minister’s recent visit and the act of taking queue jumpers from the Tampa has done us no favours with the Australian authorities. And we wonder how two former bitter enemies can co-host the Soccer World Cup while two old friends cannot co-host the Rugby World Cup.

Whatever the Government may congratulate itself for, I think most New Zealanders are appalled at the extent to which we have become a “soft touch” for illegal immigrants.

And I find it particularly strange that this government, which has almost a fetish about consultation on just about every issue - has a single exception - immigration.

For some reason the issue has been put in the underground carpark where the Government hopes it will not attract any attention - or arouse any debate.

The disarray that exists in immigration policy confirms just how far removed from the experience of ordinary New Zealanders the political and bureaucratic policy making elite has become.

The problem is this - You do not get second chances with immigration policy.

We cannot undo what a feckless and shortsighted Government allows to happen.

Because granting permanent residency is just that - it is access to the New Zealand birthright -and all that previous generations of New Zealanders have gifted us.

To devalue and cheapen that it is to demean all the people who have made NZ a special place -

This Government has no mandate to squander that precious birthright just because they want to grandstand among their globalist friends.

New Zealand’s slackness in regard to immigration has already cost every New Zealander their ANZAC birthright - the right to live in Australia and enjoy the benefits of citizenship.

That ANZAC birthright was paid for with the blood of Kiwis at Gallipoli - it was

discarded by recent national and Labour governments because of their muddle headed refusal to heed Australia’s efforts to shut immigration loopholes

But what of the often touted economic arguments for mass immigration?

Economic Consideration

Advocates of high levels of immigration assert that an influx of migrants will generate economic benefits - without actually quantifying what they might be.

However only a moron could pretend that immigration does not affect the job market

High levels of immigrants inevitably depresses wages and working conditions especially for low-skill workers such as the young and the disadvantaged - including of course earlier migrants

Not all immigrants bring skills - many compete directly for the entry-level opportunities that used to be the stepping stones for our young people to enter the work force.

And if you think that absurd just take a taxi in any of our main cities

If we are counting the cost we need to allow for the fact that, in contrast to a number of countries that strictly control access to welfare, New Zealand is lax in its attitude to welfare for new immigrants

Our immigration policy should also take account of the increased welfare costs that arise when New Zealanders themselves are underemployed or are displaced from their jobs by immigration?

The Government talks grandly about building a “knowledge economy”

But what it actually does is allow high levels of immigration that enables big business to prolong its dependency on cheap labour instead of turning to capital investment and innovation

The Government has made a big issue of the so-called skills shortage yet

under family reunification, family members do not have to meet skills and language requirements, in contrast with immigrants selected on the basis of their qualifications.

So letting in unqualified relatives has meant that despite having allowed hundreds of thousands of immigrants into New Zealand we are told we still face a serious skills shortage. In short this policy of wholesale immigration is a lie.

Now I want to turn to the question of Social Cohesion

The supporters of high levels of immigration often depict the results in appealing metaphors - and you can take your pick:

- The rainbow society

- One great big melting pot

- a rich and varied stew

- a pizza with a dozen toppings

A more realistic metaphor, if migrants fail to integrate and assimilate, would be a ticking time bomb.

The danger of our present approach of not giving a damn who enters New Zealand is that it will lead to the emergence of enclaves of people with little incentive, or need to integrate with the wider community

Do we want to see in New Zealand the emergence of impoverished immigrant ghettoes?

NZ First believes New Zealand must, at all costs, avoid the creation of an immigrant underclass.

Because there is plenty of evidence that that has already occurred in places that have allowed large scale, unplanned immigration such as the UK and Canada

You do not need to be a prophet to foresee that the consequence of ever-larger numbers of unassimilated people in New Zealand will be heightened tension and social conflict

The advocates of high-immigration often claim that the answer to immigrant-related ethnic tension is more "tolerance" on the part of new Zealanders

Well New Zealanders are a tolerant people

But "tolerance" is not enough. We have to stop this head in the sand thinking

The fact is that to a large extent control of New Zealand’s immigrant inflow has been abandoned

Immigrants beget immigrants because of the priority given to bringing in members of extended families -spouses - parents -siblings - dependent children - Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

As a result, the arrival of a single qualified individual can eventually lead to the entry of large numbers of relatives and dependent without any qualifications or obvious benefit to New Zealand. Where in the world can a single parent beneficiary bring in 8 adult relations? Only in New Zealand. Where in the world can a woman be preparing to marry her third Indian husband? Or where a forty-year-old foreigner be preparing to marry a twenty year old intellectually handicapped New Zealander? Only in New Zealand!

How exactly is this supposed to be in New Zealand’s interests?

New Zealand First Policy

So where does NZ First stand on immigration?

NZ First considers it to be critically important that New Zealand break out of its naive and woolly approach to immigration.

We urgently need a coherent immigration policy that puts New Zealand’s interests first.

NZ First will work towards a drastic reduction in the inflow of migrants to NZ

Our prime criteria will be that migrants must bring clear economic benefits to New Zealand and they must be prepared to accept New Zealand culture and New Zealand values.

We will also insist that the whole area of family reunification be given urgent review. The evidence from other countries is that a lax approach to family reunification rapidly becomes an open door for large numbers of unqualified migrants to enter.

And to those people who accuse us of being harsh and lacking in compassion we say - so be it!

All the experience from around the world tells us one incontrovertible fact.

When it comes to immigration, to give an inch is to concede a mile.

The world is full of people for whom New Zealand is a paradise

I do not blame people in the least for wanting to share in our bounty

But what the developed world is discovering is that if you try to bale out that world you end up being swamped.


In my speech today I have conveyed why NZ First considers immigration to be crucially important to this country.

In fact, politically, it is an issue that could totally upset all predictions about the election.

Helen Clark’s nightmare is a group of asylum seekers finding a seaworthy enough boat to sail around Australia and land on 90 Mile Beach. But then again why come by boat across unsafe seas when you can come here by the planeload?

Every liberal and internationalist impulse in this Government would be to allow such people entry.

But who would ever vote for a Government that abandoned its prime responsibility -

- The right to decide who enters our country?

And so, in conclusion, I want to say to Leanne Dalziel - who purports to be this country’s Minister of Immigration

Wake up!

Stop posturing about how much more humanitarian we are than the Aussies.

Stop NZ being a soft touch - and

Stop the madness that puts the interests of the rest of world above our own people.

And my message to all New Zealand citizens is this:

- save your New Zealand birthright

- preserve the New Zealand we have built and cherish

- end out-of- control immigration

- Vote NZ First - the one party that will not give NZ away!


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