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Language test turns back the clock

Language test turns back the clock

New language tests for immigrants will turn New Zealand into the world's last remaining white-Anglo-Saxon enclave, Green Immigration spokesperson Metiria Turei warned today.

The Green Party would support a Human Rights Commission to hold an inquiry into the new English language tests for immigrants.

"Skill should be the primary determinant for new immigrants, not culture," said Metiria Turei. "It is unfair to exclude prospective citizens solely because their English skills are under-developed.

"The reality of a multi-cultural society is that many New Zealanders speak English as a second or even third language.

"As a nation, we pride ourselves on our cultural diversity, yet this test weights our immigration policy heavily towards people who speak English as their first language.

The Immigration Minister has conceded that the changes will have the greatest impact on Chinese, Indian and non-English speaking South African migrants.

"By basing entrance on culture rather than skill, we are indulging in precisely that kind of 'social engineering' so demonised by critics of the previous immigration policy," said Ms Turei.

"Historically, successive governments of this country ran an English-speakers-only domestic education policy for a good 150 years. Ask Maori how successful that's been."

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