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One Country - Winston Peters Speech

Rt Hon Winston Peters
(Auckland) Chinese Communities and Associations
Logan Campbell Centre, Showgrounds
Greenlane Road, Auckland
1.00 pm Sunday 14 July 2002


ONE COUNTRY

One Country, One Nation, One People

Ladies and Gentlemen:

First of all, may I ask you a few questions? Please raise your hand if your answer is yes.

1. Do you support migrants using false documents to secure New Zealand residence?

2. Do you believe multiple false marriages are an acceptable practice for securing New Zealand residence?

3. Currently New Zealand has about 20,000 illegal overstayers. Do you want to see this number double within the next five years?

4. Do you want to see boat people travel to New Zealand to seek asylum, when in most cases they are not genuine asylum seekers, but economic refugees chasing the welfare lifestyle?

5. Can you name an Asian leader who has criticised my immigration policy?

Your response confirms that hard working Chinese migrants like yourselves want a better-managed immigration service.

We all want an immigration service that does not concede to immigration fraud, scam marriages, overstayers or bogus asylum seekers, yet today the Immigration Service is asking us to put up with their own incompetence regarding illegal immigration.

Immigration is an issue that has been central to New Zealand First since the party’s inception – and for very good reasons.

Why?

Because immigration matters and because New Zealand, like any country, needs a well planned and managed immigration policy over the short to long term.

Our party advocates an immigration policy that serves the needs and interests of New Zealand first, and not the fraudsters who are arriving in greater numbers than ever before.

The New Zealand Immigration Service is a shambolic mess and the Minister of Immigration knows it! Those supposed to be doing the managing at the Immigration Service have no idea of the impact of poorly designed and implemented policy.

If you want to know just how bad it is dealing with the Immigration Service ask the Minister of Immigration, Lianne Dalziel.

She told Parliament in 2000 that her own immigration officials – listen to this - “ have let the country down and I’m not prepared to stand up and justify it when my own officials have not even told me the truth.”

These comments were in relation to the deportation of a Filipino family that the government then had to bring back to New Zealand.

And at whose expense?

The taxpayers’ of course.

The Minister said it - she couldn’t even trust her own officials.

Each time I talk about immigration, everyone from the media to Pansy Wong start using emotive language, citing racism and the playing of the race card. You can hear them saying ‘Winston Peters and New Zealand First are at it again’.

But do they ask the obvious question?

What is New Zealand First’s position on immigration?

First, and let’s be clear about this, no New Zealand First immigration policy has ever been anti Asian, or anti Chinese or anti any race.

Immigration is not about race, it is about the number of migrants that New Zealand can reasonably sustain.

How many can we handle?

The media have never come out and given us a number, nor has the Minister, because they don’t have any clue what a sustainable number might be.

Instead they criticise anyone who dares mention the word ‘immigration’.

What does New Zealand First want?

Is wanting a well-managed immigration department providing quality services anti Asian?

No it is not!

Is wanting a clear set of defined policy objectives in respect of the management of immigration anti Asian?

No it is not!

Is encouraging debate on immigration and the numbers of migrants New Zealand can reasonably sustain over the short to long term anti Asian?

No it is not!

Simply talking about immigration as an issue is not implying any criticism of individual immigrants or migrant groups, nor is it anti Asian.

Yet the media like to report it this way.

A little over a month ago I gave a speech in Wellington on the subject of immigration and why it is an important issue for New Zealand.

We identified the consequences of mismanaged immigration policies and how spare capacity within the Auckland region, in hospitals and in schools, has quickly been absorbed.

I confirmed that a recent influx of migrants to New Zealand, taking the year’s total approvals to 53,000, was without any announcement from the government, without a clear strategy, and with no idea of the number of migrants New Zealand can reasonably sustain.

I referred to the lessons learnt in Holland, France and Britain and how the consequences of soft immigration policies on illegal migration are starting to show by unsettling towns and communities throughout Europe. Just last month the European Union Summit discussed the scourge that has become illegal immigration and people smuggling.

I also spoke about substantial fraud on residence applications from Bangladesh, where an Immigration Service audit declined some 600 Bangladesh applications - having just approved close to 1300 Bangladesh migrants residencies under the general skills category in the months preceding the audit.

You should note that in the mid 1990’s Bangladesh was listed as a top ten provider of skilled migrants to New Zealand.

Bangladesh is one of the world’s poorest countries, but according to the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, Bangladesh has an education system equal to that of New Zealand.

That might come as a concern to the 40,000 or so mostly Asian international students in New Zealand who have come here to receive a world-class education.

Where is the credibility of the New Zealand Qualifications Authority on this?

I spoke about the recent Transtasman deal signed by the Labour government bringing an end to an ANZAC birthright – the right to live in Australia and enjoy the benefits of
citizenship – the result of a period of poorly managed immigration during the time of the previous National government.

During that time migrants from the third world took advantage of New Zealand’s slack verification processes.

The New Zealand Herald had investigated people smuggling rings involving in excess of 2000 refugee claimants and the ‘free money’ on offer in New Zealand.

I set out a vision of a managed immigration policy.

I outlined New Zealand First immigration policy.

The next day what did the media report?

‘Peters attacks Asians’.

What were the attacks? There were none! You would have thought these newspaper headlines were about some guy called Peters who was on the streets hitting Asians, that’s how misreported that speech was.

Since that speech how many of the supposedly investigative journalists have gone off and done any research into the immigration issues raised? Instead they write a headline that grabs attention.

And what does Pansy Wong do for the Christchurch Press? She quickly rallies around new arrivals from Asia pretending to be a protector of every migrant against New Zealand First and Winston Peters.

If wanting a coherent immigration policy is wrong then New Zealand is in big trouble.
New Zealand First’s prime immigration criterion is that migrants must bring clear economic benefits to New Zealand.

You know that New York has a Chinatown, and Sydney has a Chinatown. Do you know where Chinatown is in Auckland, Wellington or Christchurch?

No?

Because they don’t exist – that is because New Zealand is an overwhelmingly generous country to its migrant communities, and New Zealand First will continue to ensure that this remains the case. Ethnic minorities do not need to huddle together against society.

What of the Minister of Immigration after my Wellington speech?

Did she offer comment defending each and every migrant and the Asians I allegedly attacked?

No she did not!

Because the Minister knows the facts and the reality of the issues raised in that speech – and the Minister also has an insight into the gross mismanagement that has occurred at the New Zealand Immigration Service, and I want her to explain what she is going to do about that.

In fact the only reaction the Minister had to that speech was to announce a 3 point hike in the points required to secure residence in an effort to slow down the number of migrants coming to New Zealand. Whilst this was a sensible move, was it reported by the media as anti Asian? No it was not.

Successive Ministers of Immigration continue to suggest that high levels of immigration have been necessary as some sort of saviour to the economic woes of a mismanaged economy.

If the immigration policies of the last ten years had been managed as planned and promoted by these Ministers of Immigration, then New Zealand would not be talking about becoming part of the ‘knowledge wave’ economy, it would be leading it.

If those same immigration policies were reviewed and adapted to the changing landscape of New Zealand, then our country would not be languishing at the lower end of the OECD.

New Zealand would be at the top with other countries looking to emulate what we have.

Instead we are sleep walking our way to the third world under the guise of managed immigration.

And today the government still believes immigration is the saviour.

Yet if this were true, why has the management of immigration over the last 10 years not already achieved what the immigration policies have stated.

Today, of the top ten countries of origin supporting migration to New Zealand only one, Britain, has a higher Gross National Product than New Zealand.

To suggest that every migrant arriving in New Zealand is somehow going to provide benefit to the economy is laughable.

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

None of the views expressed are anti Asian, nor are they anti immigration.

The sad fact is the media continues to report immigration in this country as an Asian issue. Wanting planned and managed immigration is for some reason viewed with suspicion.

We urgently need a coherent immigration policy that puts New Zealand and New Zealanders’ interests first whilst providing proper assistance to new migrants.

It does not matter whether you are from mainland China, Taiwan or Hong Kong; you live in New Zealand now. You are New Zealanders. As New Zealanders we must share equal rights and responsibilities.

I am half Maori and half Scottish. According to research completed by Massey University, Maori came from mainland China, and were part of a High Mountain national tribe (Gao Shan Zhu), one of the 55 Chinese minorities.

That means I have Chinese blood in me. All who have migrated to New Zealand, and that includes my ancestors, came to this country to find a better life for themselves and their children.

It does not matter if you have been here 3 weeks, 3 months, 3 years or 3 centuries, the consequences of further unchecked immigration will affect you.

If we do not act soon every New Zealander will be the loser and the New Zealand we value will be irretrievably lost.

Yes, New Zealand First is a responsible voice on immigration. Yes we can and do represent a diverse group of New Zealanders.

And above all, we are not anti Chinese or anti Asian.

And where was Pansy Wong jumping up and down slagging the Minister for raising the pass mark? Did Pansy Wong think this was ‘cutting immigration to the bone’ and should this have been reported by the media as ‘Minister Attacks Asians’?

Why raise the pass mark?

Because as I pointed out earlier New Zealand and, in particular, Auckland, is having difficulty absorbing uncontrolled immigration in excess of 53,000 migrants per year.

Consider this, the only man-made building that can be seen from the Moon is the Great Wall of China - and it was built to keep people out! Relate this to our immigration policies which should be designed for inclusion as well as exclusion, and NZ First is committed to both in order to successfully manage our borders and protect the nation's interest.

New Zealand First is supportive of a better-managed immigration policy that is aligned to meeting the needs of New Zealand, as opposed to lowering the standard of acceptance in the interest of attracting more migrants.

New Zealand First is committed towards the development of a positive immigration policy that makes it harder for immigration fraud to be used as a means to secure New Zealand residence.

New Zealand First is committed to a thorough review of the management of the New Zealand Immigration Service and the manner in which immigration policy is applied - a review that will work towards identifying the optimum number of migrants New Zealand needs per year to sustain economic growth and development, taking into account the infrastructural constraints in our major cities.

The New Zealand Immigration Service has become awash with fraud scams and people smuggling operations, yet in every case it is a reactionary late starter. Not until the horse has bolted does Service arrive, saying ‘we were surprised it was so well organised’.

The Immigration Service has conceded its inability to manage immigration effectively and efficiently, and so have been managing a smoke screen concealing the true extent of their own mismanagement.

New Zealand First is committed to bringing an end to the out of control mismanagement of the New Zealand Immigration Service.

The government believes New Zealand is too far away to worry about the impact of illegal immigration. But we are not so far away that illegal migrants and people smugglers are ignoring us. In fact New Zealand is becoming a country of choice. Just like we choose a pair of shoes for size and comfort, New Zealand’s welfare system is lined up against those other Western countries that provide welfare benefits for asylum seekers.

Take the thousands of asylum seekers waiting in Indonesia. They have left countries like Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan. They claim to be fleeing persecution in their home country, and so have travelled to the safe haven of Indonesia.

But because Indonesia does not have an accommodating welfare policy for asylum seekers they look to move on to New Zealand or Australia.

And in New Zealand they are likely to get a welfare cheque on arrival.

From what I hear from the Chinese language newspapers, there is little united support for Pansy Wong and her tactics, yet this does not get reported in the major English language dailies.

After all, it was not the National party or Pansy Wong that apologised to early Chinese migrants.

The same issues exist within New Zealand politics as they do in Asian politics – trust is the key. New Zealand is a trusting country, and it is my commitment to you that New Zealand First will continue to work in the best interests of New Zealand, which includes healthy and informed debate on immigration.

When I was Deputy Prime Minister, Pansy Wong never once approached me to discuss any issue regarding immigration or New Zealand First’s position on immigration, instead she chooses the media and Asian newspapers to beat up scare tactics for her own political gain.

I am not interest in dirty tricks like this, if you have a question, or a concern regarding New Zealand First’s position on immigration, then I welcome your views.

Our position on immigration is out in the open, it is serious, it is well planned and it is mature. We have nothing to hide, not like our political opponents who hide behind a screen only managing to criticise others.

We simply want to see an immigration service managing immigration in the interests of New Zealand whilst accommodating the needs of a proportionate number of migrants settling in a new country.

And to you today thank you for hearing what it is that New Zealand First really stands for on this issue.

For the better life of yourselves and your children, recent migrants and New Zealanders as one and the same, please give New Zealand First your party vote to ensure paradise is not lost, but remains the same for future generations of New Zealanders of all backgrounds.

ENDS

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