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Pan Asian Congress: Policy Or Politics?

Media Release

4 October 2002

Pan Asian Congress: Policy Or Politics?

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has welcomed Asian Congress front person and government lobbyist Mai Chen’s assertion that the newly formed Asian group would be apolitical.

“If there is to be a genuine debate on important issues like immigration and education then we welcome that. Clearly there are many New Zealanders with Asian backgrounds who are concerned about the out of control and ad hoc immigration policy of the current government and the effects of this on their access to quality education and housing, on their ability to attain employment, and on the health risks associated with the importation of a wide range of third world diseases, “ Mr. Peters said.

“”Whether the creation of another sectional ginger group fronted by a person who receives a substantial income from dealings with government agencies can be truly apolitical is something that the public will assess. One would have to say they are off to a bad start with their opening to be addressed by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Ethnic Affairs, and with the comments by Refugee Council Chairman Rasalingam that a catalyst to creating the congress has been comments I have made. It is also interesting to note that while the PM received an early invitation my office received notice (and no other information) only this week.

“Miss Chen’s recall of 150 years of alleged racial discrimination is not suggestive of a particularly conciliatory approach and the Governor-General’s unwise decision to provide her patronage is another indication of the direction New Zealand is being taken in. Nonetheless New Zealanders now have an opportunity to discuss issues that until now the Government has sought to sweep under the carpet. In a debate that, until now, it has only been New Zealand First that has been providing the facts we look forward to the Asian Congress confronting the facts we have raised,” Mr. Peters said.


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