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The Lightning Rod For Immigration Changes

24 November 2002

An address by Rt Hon Winston Peters to a public meeting at Erinlea Lounge, Fahy’s Motor Inn Greerton, Tauranga at 2pm Sunday 24 November 2002.

“NZ First – The Lightning Rod For Immigration Changes"

This week has seen a disturbing new trend in politics under MMP.

We saw the Labour minority Government and its footstool allies suspend question time in Parliament while the House took urgency to pass legislation.

There was no need to suspend question time – we usually have it even if the House is in urgency.

But for some reason the Government did not want to face any questioning.

The reason is not hard to find – anyone who watched the Immigration Minister stammering her way through a press conference on Tuesday could see that they are in trouble.

Question time would have placed this minister under a political blowtorch and the spin doctors and minders did not have time to coach her and teach her any new lines.

The Government is desperate to shut down the immigration debate. So it leaned on its doormat friends to stop New Zealand First holding centre-stage.

Because on this subject only one party speaks for ordinary New Zealanders and that one party is New Zealand First

The election was 120 days ago.

During the campaign the Labour Party did everything it could to suppress, evade, avoid and deny one issue.

New Zealand First made that issue – immigration - the centrepiece of our three point campaign.

The result was a massive surge in support for New Zealand First.

Since the election the Government has been making bewildering Uturns over immigration.

Labour’s glamour girls – their political pin-ups – Helen Clark and Lianne Dalziel are now taking more positions than Turkish belly-dancers.

These positions include :
- Increasing the points system in the general skills
- Introducing mandatory HIV and AIDS tests
- Reviewing business and investor categories
- Encouraging immigrants to move to regions rather than stay in Auckland
- Changing the policy over educating foreign students in our schools.

The list goes on and on.

And this week the Government finally accepted what everyone else in New Zealand was aware of – that immigrants should be able to speak English.

It apparently helps if you want to get a job! What a revelation!

At last these people are finally starting to acknowledge what has been as plain as day to all sane New Zealanders - that their country is being flooded with immigrants.

At last it is beginning to admit its rank stupidity in ignoring NZ First’s warnings that the situation was spiralling out of control.

It has taken 13 New Zealand First MPs 120 days to bring this Government kicking and screaming into the real world.

Imagine what we could achieve with twice that number of MPs!

Concern with immigration is not about racism, red-necks or bigotry –or any of the other daft slurs that get cast around.

Concern with immigration is about the impact of mass immigration at unprecedented levels.

More than 70,000 new migrants arrived in the year to the end of October 2002.

That is up more than 30 percent since October 2001. Are we to believe the Government has been working on this problem for the past year? Yeah right!

Three-fifths of the population growth in the year to September 2002 was through immigration – a trend that the economist Gareth Morgan has predicted could take as few as 60 years to totally renew the New Zealand population.

Economic Growth

Of course when you inject extra people, equivalent to a population the size of Invercargill in a single year into the New Zealand economy, there are bound to be some winners

The immigration consulting business has been having a bonanza.

The Labour-led Government has given immigration consultants a license to print money.

Not surprisingly they have been vociferous in touting the alleged benefits of a flood of immigrants.

And yes the flood of migrants has generated a building boom in Auckland.

That is undoubtedly good for a few companies.

But when that artificial stimulus of more migrants has passed what has New Zealand gained?

New industries? New technologies? New scientific depth?

Where is the New Zealand version of Silicon Valley?

Where are these new industries migrants are supposed to be creating?
Even the meanest brain understands the logic of this question.

Why would a Chinese businessman leave the biggest and fastest growing market in the world – mainland China – to come to New Zealand to start an export industry in the smallest market in the world, particularly when this Government has no export policy at all?

Hitherto, the debate coming from the other side of this argument is myth, misrepresentation, economic voodooism and just plain defeat.

That is why I welcome the New Zealand Herald promise yesterday to ”in the coming weeks…..highlight the real issues needing debate in immigration…..(to) present the facts and invite people to have their say.

Hallelujah! What a pity we could not have had this debate during the election campaign!

Burden on Taxpayers

People are rightly concerned about the burden migrants place on New Zealand taxpayers.

Whatever their paper qualification, large numbers of migrants end up doing jobs like driving taxis.

We are having to assist many migrants to find work when they arrive in New Zealand.

This situation is in total contradiction to the platitudes we hear from the Government about migrants solving our skills crisis.

Once people gain permanent residence status they are eligible for the full range of entitlements of the New Zealand welfare state –irrespective of how much or how little they have contributed.

Earlier this year a new facility opened in Auckland called the ‘Migrant Services North Shore Centre’.

This facility is a collaboration between several government agencies and community groups. The aim of the centre is to assist new immigrants to find work!

A worthy aim but why in heaven’s name is this Government allowing migrants to settle here that we have to find work for?


The Government may not have noticed but migrants have to live somewhere.

There is a real problem with the pressure migrants are putting on housing.

Over the past 5 years almost 60 percent of new migrants have congregated in the Auckland region.

Can anyone seriously believe that that concentration has not contributed massively to rising house prices particularly in the Auckland area?

More and more ordinary New Zealanders are finding the dream of home ownership slipping away from them.

But the inflationary impact of migration on house prices is never taken into account –nor the way that then translates into higher inflation and interest rates, which have been increased four times this year.


Among the major beneficiaries of immigration are those businesses which get access to an endless supply of cheap labour.

Instead of having to invest in technology and capital equipment – as the proponents of the knowledge economy – these businesses can rely on a low wage labour force.

What incentive is there for businesses to up-skill and invest when the Government’s message is there is an endless flow of imported labour?

The Government – a so-called ‘Labour’ Government has nothing to say about the effect of migrants undercutting of wages.

And even more inexplicable and illogical is the silence of the CTU on immigration.

But of course the Trades Unions would now rather curry favour with the Labour Party than represent the interest of workers.


Many schools are packed to bursting and many parents are rightly concerned about the loss of quality in a public education system coping with large numbers of non-English speakers.

Recently we have had the revelations about the “absentee migrants school ploy”.

This scam involves freeloading immigrants leaving their children in New Zealand to receive a near –free education while they live and pay taxes in other countries.

What other country would tolerate this sort of blatant rip-off?

At last the PPTA is awakening to some of its professional responsibilities.

Even the teachers’ union, whose officials are usually found at Labour party conferences, are becoming concerned about the numbers of foreign students.

This is to bring yet another change from the Government – led by the Labour party that said during the campaign that there was nothing wrong.

Border Security

In an age of global terrorism we must know who is entering New Zealand.

This is no time for the sort of half baked, casual and cavalier approach to border control that this Government has shown.

In terms of immigration administration New Zealand has been a soft touch.

We have had instances of migrants convicted of serious crimes who seem able to evade our deportation law with impunity.

Events as recent as the Bali bombing tell us that we must have strictly enforced immigration controls.

And the penalty for breaching those laws should be sure and swift – deportation.

There is a committee in Parliament that oversees the country’s intelligence service and I have agreed to join this committee.

There is a limit to what we can say publicly about intelligence issues, but New Zealand First can make a pledge.

We will spend more on border security. We need more, qualified people at our airports and ports.

New Zealand First will be seeking to increase border security by the appointment of more immigration staff we can trust and who are fluent in the languages of the countries from which we accept migrants, refugees or asylum seekers.

We also want increased powers for immigration officials to question, detain or deport anyone with links to any organisation that could threaten the security of New Zealand.

There would be no automatic right of appeal. There would be no social welfare benefit.

We also want immigration officials to start checking back on some of the people brought into the country over the past few years.

How do we know that we have not already imported someone who is a direct threat to our security?

Australia is in a situation of increased alert. We are not very far away.

Bali is on our doorstep.

Remember that we took 150 so-called refugees off the Tampa.

By the time we inherit all their family members there will be more than a thousand of them.

Who is carrying out the strict checks on these people to see we are not importing someone who could prove a danger to our people?

All the immigration issues that we raise merit a reasoned response instead of Government’s platitudes.

If, as is endlessly asserted by this Government, mass migration is good for us can we please see the proof?

We challenge them to bring back question time to Parliament.

If immigration were such an obvious source of wealth and enterprise why
would any country restrict entry?

New Zealand First has never condemned anyone for wanting to come here to improve their situation.

But we do take strong exception to the myth propagated by this Government that New Zealand is the clear and unequivocal beneficiary of mass migration

Every now and then someone lifts the lid on what is actually going on

So it was interesting to see that even the Immigration Service’s own post-election briefing papers concede what a shambles the administration of immigration has become.

Whether it be the so-called business entrants scheme or migrants under the general skills category the scope for manipulation and evasion of the system is rampant.

New Zealand First is being swamped with immigration issues and reports of fraudulent activity.

The floodgates have opened.

Our staff cannot cope with matters that the Government has a whole department to handle.

We have written a letter to the Government asking that a full time senior Immigration Service official be seconded to our office to handle some of these cases.

That person would be gainfully employed.

Some of the Government’s policy positions are based on totally contradictory positions.

On the one hand this Government highlights the disadvantage and under-privilege of Maori - hence the now infamous “closing the gaps” policy.

On the other hand, Labour has brought in a flood of migrants – many of whom will directly compete with Maori in terms of jobs, housing and access to health services

There is a gap all right – there is a Grand Canyon between the Government’s policy on immigration and its policy in relation to Maori – and all other New Zealanders as well.

The sheer cheek of Labour pretending to give a damn about Maori interests is breathtaking in its audacity.

They spend a fortune on public relations and politically correct tokenism as a sop to Maori but at the same time sell out their birthright through massive immigration.

Maori have been consulted to death on just about every symbolic issue the Government can dream up like placing restrictions on privately owned land.

But when there is something important at stake – like immigration - this Government will not go near Maori – or anyone else.

A man called Goebbels perfected the art of propaganda and especially “the big lie.”

He realised that in order to hoodwink people, the deception had to be outrageous.

Clearly Labour spin-meisters and PR minders have been studying these techniques.

How can the Government pursue two totally contradictory policy paths in this way?


Only New Zealand First is aware that this Government talks with a forked tongue over immigration.

Oscar Wilde made the observation that a cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.

No previous New Zealand Government has attached so little value to our birthright as Helen Clark’s Government.

Do not be deceived by the Government’s apparent change of heart and promise to apply tougher rules such as stiffer English language tests.

Time and time again the Labour Government has shown itself incapable of getting real on immigration - whether in terms of numbers – the widespread abuse and scams - or the dysfunctional Immigration Service.

The truth is this – behind the rhetoric - Helen Clark’s Government lacks the will to act – and staunch the flood of migrants, simply because they need the votes!

Well let me assure you of this – New Zealand First wants action – not words – not assertions – not reviews - not promises – not undertakings to do something – sometime.

The stark reality is that there are only four million of us in a dangerous world of six billion people.

Given the logic of the numbers one thing is blindingly obvious.

That is the need to keep a tight lid on immigration if we are to avoid New Zealand’s identity, values and heritage being swamped.

New Zealand First believes our heritage is worth fighting for.

I urge you to join us in the battle.


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