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Dunne outlines UF position on immigration

Media statement

For immediate release

Wednesday, 11 September 2002

Dunne outlines United Future New Zealand
position on immigration

“In the light of the current highly-emotional and damaging to New Zealand debate on immigration, I want to remind the country of United Future New Zealand’s policies on this very important issue,” said party leader, Peter Dunne, today.

“We embrace multiculturalism, we actively promote inclusiveness and we see immigration as entirely positive and beneficial to New Zealand,” he said.

“Immigration must be integrated with other strands of economic and social policy in a way that gives certainty to migrants and provides benefits for both them and existing New Zealand citizens.”

To this end, Mr Dunne said United Future New Zealand specifically advocates

- Developing a 10-year population policy (preferably based on a multi-party agreement) which will provide a blueprint for developing and enhancing a modern, multi-cultural New Zealand

- Such a blueprint to promote inclusiveness, multiculturalism and ensuring population requirements are met through appropriate immigration approval numbers

- Deploying recruitment teams to New Zealand embassies to interview and screen potential immigrants

- Establishing a one-stop Migrant Business Development Agency within the Immigration Service, especially in Auckland

- Devising new, comprehensive migrant settlement programmes, in consultation with the Federation of Ethnic Councils. These programmes would run for 12 months after the migrants’ arrival and would ensure they receive full information and support on all aspects of New Zealand society, including language, customs, access to employment and health and social services.

- Provide additional staffing resources to the Immigration Service to meet customer demand, especially at Auckland and pressure points overseas

Mr Dunne said there had been much hysterical nonsense spouted lately about refugees, migrants and the importation of diseases.

“It is simple commonsense for New Zealand to require potential new citizens to undergo health checks. Again, different circumstances call for different treatment. For example, it is not necessary to test an English migrant for leprosy, whereas for a migrant from another part of the world, it may be entirely appropriate.

“This has nothing to do with race-based discrimination, but is a practical recognition that different diseases occur in different parts of the world. The New Zealand health system is under enough pressure already without our immigration policies adding to that pressure,” said Mr Dunne.

Asylum seekers

“We believe the 750 refugee quota a year under the UN refugee programme is adequate and should be continued.

“In the unusual event of a major refugee crisis caused by natural, political or social catastrophe, New Zealand should, at the request of the United Nations, assess such crises on their merits and this country’s ability to respond.

“To meet such situations, we believe New Zealand should have a Ready Response team capable of getting to the crisis area quickly and assessing those who need help and who are equipped to contribute to New Zealand society,” said Mr Dunne.

Economic refugees

“People who arrive unexpectedly on boats or on aircraft (having torn up their travel and identity documents en route) and then claim refugee status are simply queue jumpers and should be sent back to their point of origin as quickly as possible,” he said.

“It would be unfair to genuine migrants who follow the rules to be shoved aside by opportunistic lawbreakers who have no genuine claim to refugee status,” Mr Dunne said.


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