“Immigrants fiddle while Kiwis pay”
Rt Hon Winston Peters
Rotorua Citizens Club
Cnr Arawa and Rangiuru Streets
10.30am Monday, 15 July 2002
“Immigrants fiddle while Kiwis pay”
From the earliest times in human history, there have been subjects that are strictly taboo. Subjects that no one must speak about.
There has been a common understanding that these subjects should not be raised because of the threat that they could pose to the collective whole.
It was usually based on a fear of the unknown or simply a superstition and there were harsh penalties for those who transgressed.
These victims were often tortured and sentenced to horrible deaths whether they knew, or knew not that they had done wrong.
Taboo was part of every day life among primitive tribes and surprisingly, it still exists, particularly in Western governments made up predominantly of white liberals with a sprinkling of token representatives of other races.
The taboo subject is of course immigration. A subject that we are not supposed to talk about in this country because it might be construed as racism and might offend someone.
It is a subject that we in New Zealand First have never been afraid to talk about as it goes to the very core of what it means to be a New Zealander, and our right to choose who should become one of us.
Every farmer in this country knows that the most crucial decision to make every year is the one about selecting replacement stock.
He or she does this with great care, with skill and in some cases even with love. The farmer does not simply leave the farm gates open to let all the strays and rejects wander in off the road.
But when we in New Zealand First question our apparently open door immigration policy we are immediately branded as racists! It is taboo to talk about such matters!
Surely we have every right to ask ourselves in an open forum what sort of society we want to create and who should be part of that society in another fifty or a hundred years.
These things matter. They matter because no one has ever sat down and worked out what is going to happen as a result of the blind policies followed now.
In many parts of the world, there is an explosive ethnic mix of religions, customs and cultures.
We are bringing in people from these societies, yet I am sure no one gives any more than a passing thought about what happens when they get here.
And what will happen in future decades.
Under this government the floodgates have opened.
Here are the facts 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;
rising to over 53,000. The number is increasing every month.
There are just over 54 thousand births in New Zealand each year so for every New Zealander born we are bringing in an immigrant.
What a birthright!
Each new child has to compete against the economic and social demands of an individual from an alien culture.
And what did the last census reveal?
That almost 1 in 5 New Zealand residents were born overseas compared with only 1 in 6 a decade earlier.
That in the Auckland region 1 in 3 people were born overseas
That there are now more people of Asian ethnicity in Auckland 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.
The only time over the past decade that the flow of immigrants has been checked was when New Zealand First reduced it to a trickle after the 1996 election.
The trickle is again a torrent.
The numbers I have given are facts and 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.
In fact, if we were in their shoes we too would see New Zealand as the Promised Land.
However, 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.
It has nothing to do with race - it is all about numbers.
Where is the thought, the reflection or 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 services, especially in Auckland where the great majority of immigrants settle?
The political establishment won’t talk about these issues because immigration is that taboo subject.
Well, we will certainly talk about it because it is time for some honesty and plain speaking.
Some things need to be said.
Like the fact that interest rates keep going up in this country because of the pressure of migration on house prices in Auckland.
Like the fact that our health, welfare and education services cannot cope with the pressure of our existing population let alone new immigrants.
If thousands of youngsters who don’t speak English come into the education system, New Zealand children have to compete for resources and the attention of the teachers.
It is also a reported fact recently that bribes have been offered to some top Auckland schools to get overseas students in ahead of the locals.
The same applies to the health services.
New Zealand now has Third World diseases of its own caused by deprivation, overcrowding, damp housing and lack of life skills.
These create a huge strain on the health system - waiting lists for operations are getting longer every day.
We cannot find doctors for rural areas of New Zealand but we can find medical services in Auckland for the immigrants that arrive.
There are other immigration facts that concern ordinary people.
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 New Zealand 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.
That immigration to this country is a thriving industry.
When we raise these issues there is always an immediate response from concerned New Zealanders who care more about their country than their political leaders appear to.
I want to read to you from a letter that my office received last week from a man who arrived in this country ten years ago - a man who himself is already concerned about our open door immigration policies.
This man wishes to remain anonymous because he has to live in a community of immigrants.
“There are two reasons why I am particularly concerned with immigration.
Number one. Living in an immigrants community I know first hand so many follies and abuses of New Zealand immigration policies and the warm hearted fuzziness is the laughing stock of many people who have benefited from them. A recent example is that people are buying “job offer” at the price of $10,000 as job offer will increase their points.
Number two. I fear the backlash of the present immigration policies. Too quick too much immigration may fan up racial sentiments and should racial trouble develop my family and I will be affected. Let the immigration tide be controlled and not give potential racism any excuse to develop.”
My political opponents and some sections of the media will accuse me of fabricating this letter because I am not prepared to identify this man.
I am not prepared to put him through the media mangle.
But I assure you this letter is genuine. My staff have been in contact with this individual and have checked him out.
The part of the letter where the man says you can now buy a job offer for $10,000 in this country should send alarm bells ringing to the very top. If this is a well-known racket among immigrants, why isn’t the Immigration Service doing something about it?
Does the Minister know that this is going on?
Last week, because there is an election campaign, she put out a statement.
It had some astonishing admissions. She even boasted about the number of people being brought into the country.
I quote: “¡K.we introduced government policies that have driven huge
skilled/business migration to New Zealand - making up 66% of the
2001/02 immigration programme.”
Does this huge business skilled/migration to New Zealand include people who have paid ten thousand dollars for a job offer?
And does this include people who come here with false qualifications that they buy from forgers or from the Internet?
Remember John Davey - the man who got the job at the Maori Television Service?
His qualifications were never checked out.
Do Immigration Service officials ever check out the job offers of the new immigrants?
The Government has got some explaining to do about this racket.
There is more to come in the same statement from the Minister.
“We have responded to our international obligations by reducing the massive backlog in new refugee status claims¡K¡KWe reduced that backlog from over 3000 then, to 570 today.”
That is interesting. To the rest of us that means we have thrown caution to the winds and taken anyone and everyone that no one else wants and we have done it in a hurry so we can stand on the world stage and get brownie points.
Back at home other New Zealanders are paying dearly for this false pride and misplaced philanthropy.
Let me give you another case.
A refugee to this country has been running up debts using several names. He has done a bunk and the creditors are looking for him
A debt collection agency is also after him and a pile of letters has grown at his last known Wellington address. A neighbour sent four of these letters to the Minister of Immigration’s office.
Would you believe it - her office wanted to know if the refugee wants the bills paid?
We can produce four letters returned from the Minister and in each case a different name is used by the refugee.
On the back of the letters is a note from the Minister’s office asking if the refugee wants action on the accounts.
Does this mean that taxpayers are going to pay the debts of this individual who appears to have shot through after obtaining credit under a false name?
It certainly seems to be the case.
It is time for a full inquiry into immigration. We will seek one immediately after the election to clamp down on the scams that going on.
The inquiry should also look at what sort of immigration policies New Zealand should adopt and we should allow people to have their say. It the right of every citizen of this country to have his or her say on who should be allowed to become a New Zealander.
It should be a bipartisan inquiry because no single political party or interest group should be entitled to inflict their views and policies on the rest of the country.
If we look across the Tasman to Australia we can see a country with very clear policies on immigration.
It has thought these through and nobody in the world has any doubt about where Australia stands.
When the Tampa arrived outside Australian waters with hundreds of asylum seekers on board the Government stood firm.
They said no - we are not taking these people.
Because they knew that if they had accepted one person off that boat another ten boats carrying asylum seekers would have set out the next day for Australian shores.
But what did New Zealand do?
Ignoring the genuine refugees waiting their turn in the queue, Prime Minister Helen Clark jumped into the international limelight and took over 140 people.
They are all settled in New Zealand now at millions of dollars of future costs.
The issue of whether these were genuine international asylum seekers was never really questioned by the New Zealand Immigration Service.
An Australian newspaper went to the bother of investigating and ran an article that said: "only seven of the Afghan asylum seekers rescued by the Norwegian container ship Tampa last year have been found to be genuine refugees".
And who made that judgment?
Well, no less than the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, (UNHCR) which identified the legitimate seven in its ruling on the status of 529 asylum seekers detained at Nauru Island.
Of "the 301 who were rescued at sea from the Tampa, 292 were Afghans. The UNHCR decision means that the remaining 285 Afghans who do not qualify as refugees may be sent back."
Once again - New Zealand is the soft touch!
There is another issue attached to immigration. It has become a matter involving the safety of New Zealanders and world security. It has always been considered as a matter of national security everywhere else in the world except here - there is a very good reason why Britain, Canada, the United States and 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 the political baggage they bring with them.
Their fanatical approach was starkly illustrated by the events of September 11 with the aircraft hijackings in the United States.
We should not need to be reminded that only 18 people were required to fly two planes into the World Trade Centre, one into the Pentagon and another into a target in Pennsylvania.
The fact is that most, if not all, of the people from the Tampa probably have no intent to be terrorists.
But who knows?
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 should be that it is better to be safe than sorry.
But no - we have once again just opened the door. While Australia battles to maintain its security here in New Zealand, we say: "OK, come here. We are the soft touches of the international community."
Not only do we leave the door unlocked, we also leave it wide open! In doing so, we are jeopardising our safety and our future.
Sound immigration policies should be based on the rapid expansion of our exports and an increase in our intellectual wealth.
We should not burden future generations of New Zealanders with problems that we import from countries torn apart by political and religious strife.
We should be fussy about who we allow to be New Zealanders - and we should take out some insurance to keep New Zealand for New Zealanders.
You can take out that insurance by voting for New Zealand First with your party vote.
Because we are going take action - we are going to fix it.
- We will cut the number of immigrants
- We will bring in only those we think will bring benefits.
- We will clean up the Immigration Service and enforce strict immigration laws.
- We will have stiff penalties for any who break the rules.
- We will put all immigrants on probation. If they commit crimes they will be sent home. It will be as simple as that.
Can we fix it?
Yes we can!
Give New Zealand First your party vote.