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Peters Speech: “The New Zealand Revolution”

“The New Zealand Revolution”

SPEECH by Rt Hon Winston Peters MP, Leader New Zealand First to National Council of Women, Northshore Branch, 15 Cambridge Terrace, Devonport, 7pm 10th April 2003

Every now and then there are turbulent moments in history at which future generations look back and describe them as a watershed.

These are the dates we can all quote: 1066, September 11 and the like, or the events we can all describe: the French revolution, Hillary’s conquest of Everest, Kennedy’s assassination….

The Iraq war and the spectre of SARS may turn out to be pivotal events. Certainly the media coverage suggests that they ought to be, and certainly they are events of great moment.

But within New Zealand there are events of huge importance taking place under our noses.

They are events that could change forever the nature of our country.

This address deals not with the war or the pandemic but with three nation changing events: A flood of immigrants and students entering our country a major constitutional change taking place with little public consultation, and the demise of a major political party.

New Zealanders are rightly entitled to ask what game the Government is playing over immigration.

For most of last year the Government swung between two equally absurd positions.

The first strategy was one of absolute denial, blithely refusing to admit that anything was amiss despite immigration numbers at alarming levels.

The second strategy was to blame the messenger, and this resulted in New Zealand First being subjected to a campaign of vilification for the crime of pointing out the facts.

We received the full range of slurs - we were branded as racists, bigots and red necks.

But whenever you hear these words being tossed around you know that the political correct elite are feeling threatened.

Accordingly we treated those slanders with the disdain they deserved.

Then came the November bombshell.

Stricter English language tests were to apply to prospective migrants.

Finally, the Government were admitting that immigration was out of control – that immediate measures were needed.

But is that the end of the story?

Is the immigration crisis over?

Has New Zealand now got a sane immigration policy in place?

The answer is NO!

Government Lacks Commitment The first reason why the immigration crisis is not over is that - despite the rhetoric – nothing has fundamentally changed for this Government.

There is still no commitment to a sane immigration policy and there is no will to fix the immigration mess

Strict control over immigration is not part of this Government’s vision.

The Prime Minister is much more comfortable grandstanding and boasting on the world stage about how liberal and globally minded they are.

The Government lack of real resolve to act is obvious from its refusal to commit to sensible immigration targets or to be accountable for the problems created by an invasion of our country by people from foreign and alien cultures.

Administrative Incompetence

To add to the problems, the Prime Minister continues to tolerate an incompetent Immigration Minister.

Forget the rhetoric and spin – the ability to deliver effective policy is what ultimately matters for a Minister.

The truth is that the administration of our immigration laws is a shambles and immigration is a thicket of scams.

The reason is obvious. Many would be migrants to New Zealand have every incentive to circumvent the rules in what has become a lolly scramble to gain entry here.

Those who follow the rules – and politely wait their turn in the queue are likely to be gazumped by those who short-circuit the system. New Zealanders are a good-natured tolerant people – most of the time.

Sometimes we don’t like hearing some of the hard brutal facts of life.

Some of these hard and brutal facts of life about immigration policy mean that the face of this country is changing forever.

The ethnic and social mix is changing and there is an uneasy outlook for the religious and cultural blend of our people.

It is a complex issue and future generations of New Zealanders will curse the political policies that brought in Third World immigrants while many of our best and brightest young people headed overseas – and stayed there.

It is another unpalatable fact that First World people are no longer welcome in New Zealand.

In a recent case the Immigration Service denied residency to two professionally qualified English-speaking British businesspeople.

They were told that they did not qualify to stay in New Zealand - even though they had the means to start up a business.

At the very same time, Immigration approves permits for Middle Eastern kitchen hands with little or no English.

And these kitchen hands are starting to bring in other family members. They learn very quickly that we are soft touches.

Immigrants learn very quickly about the welfare system in New Zealand and the location of the local WINZ office.

New Zealanders want an end to the slackness that characterises the present administration of the immigration rules.

Immigration scams are surfacing with routine and depressing frequency.

Recently a corrupt immigration official in the New Zealand embassy in Thailand was sacked.

It appears that hundreds of Cambodian nationals paid large sums to ensure their student visas were approved.

Once in New Zealand these people would work illegally to pay back the cost of the visa or seek a New Zealand citizen or resident to marry so they could stay long term.

What is particularly irksome is the Minister’s familiar brush off when challenged as to what action she will be taken in the face of each new outrage.

She presides over a farce a day!

Like the man who claimed he fought for the Taleban who appeared in the Manukau Court yesterday charged with threatening to kill an immigration officer. They don’t know who he is or where he came from or how he got here. We do know that nothing has been done about him.

And that he spent time in Court signalling to a woman holding a baby. He’ll probably gain citizenship on humanitarian grounds.

In the mean time we are all being left holding the baby.

Bogus marriages are now a well-rehearsed route into this country.

Since 1997, nearly 30,000 people have applied for New Zealand residency through the marriage category – yet only 1717 applications have been declined

This is hardly surprising when you learn that, according to media reports, the Immigration Service only has a four-person team assigned to investigate immigration fraud and irregularities.

The deliberate under- resourcing of the Immigration Service’s capacity to investigate scams and fraud is a tactic by the Minister to suppress the true extent of breaches in immigration law. Many countries have already moved to impose restrictions on entry through marriage in order to prevent the proliferation of marriages of convenience but in this country it is a thriving industry!

This afternoon in Parliament I disclosed the astonishing story of how people, in New Delhi, don’t bother going into the New Zealand Embassy to get visas to come to New Zealand because they can buy them from a man outside under a tree for 12,000 rupees (or $230!). They can buy their entry to our country for two hundred and thirty dollars.

Immigration Myths

Last year New Zealand First debunked the myth that the other political parties had created - that immigration was not a fit topic for public debate.

Now, we are continually dispelling the myths that underlie what passes as New Zealand’s immigration policy.

One such myth is that we need migrants.

Wrong…..if it is the wrong migrant.

The truth is that too many migrants want New Zealand and know that this Government is a soft touch.

Our closest neighbour, Australia is prepared to ignore the bleeding hearts and defend its borders against illegal migrants.

On the other hand, the New Zealand Government has shown no appreciation that with only four million people we cannot take in large number of immigrants without completely changing the character of the country.

We have been allowing immigration – relative to our population - at a rate no other country would remotely countenance.

Another of the myths the Government continues to perpetrate is that high levels of immigration are to overcome a skills shortage.

The reality is different. A high proportion of migrants are unskilled.

What exactly is the Government up to in its massive expansion of the pool of unskilled workers?

Whose interests are being served?

It is not those of ordinary New Zealanders who find their real wages are constrained and undermined by an endless supply of cheap labour.

It is not the interest of Maori and Pacific Island peoples many of who have to compete directly with new migrants.

It is certainly not in the interests of our secondary school students who are being muscled out of their classrooms by 12,000 foreign fee paying students, many of whom change their visa category or disappear once here.

It is not even in the interests of most of the migrants who have settled here in recent years.

Why is the trade union movement totally silent on this matter which directly affects so many of their members?

Ask yourself.

Whose interests are being served by enlarging the pool of cheap labour?

We do know big business likes a large pool of willing workers with low expectations in terms of pay and conditions.

They much prefer an immigration policy that supplies cheap labour than having to either improving pay or conditions for existing workers or invest in capital to enhance productivity.

Contrary to its empty rhetoric about the “knowledge economy” the Government in practice is creating a “dumb economy”.

It is simply making sure that big business gets an endless supply of cheap labour through immigration.

And if you doubt this just go and ask some of the new immigrants being exploited by their own people and working as slave labour for certain organisations. Or coming in as students at ‘so-called’ training institutes.

New immigrants in these categories live in constant fear of being of being picked up by the authorities and these fears are exploited by ruthless individuals within our communities.

The Government boasts that immigration boosts economic growth.

How brilliant!

Of course, in aggregate, if more people come into the country GDP increases in total because each new person adds something to consumptive economic activity in some way.

But migrants with few skills have the impact of actually lowering GDP per capita.

And if migrants come to New Zealand and contribute little or nothing to productive economic activity there is no way that can be construed as being to our advantage.

All developed and affluent countries are under tremendous pressure from migrants seeking upward mobility in a better environment.

For their own protection all have had to tighten their immigration laws.

For example, Hong Kong applies strict control of entry from Mainland China. It has to – if it is to avoid being swamped by a tidal wave from the Chinese mainland.

Controlling immigration is a critical challenges facing Government’s in all affluent countries.

Yet Helen Clark’s Government has persisted with it a head in the sand approach to immigration.

This Government must be told firmly and unequivocally that New Zealand belongs to New Zealanders and that we do not want our country given away.

We do not want the face of our society changed forever.

We do not want the religious and cultural strife that is tearing other countries apart.

What we do want is a nation of people who can live together in peace and prosperity.

We want to pass on that heritage to future generations and we must act before it is too late.

And we must act on a second front before our democracy crumbles.

You may or may not be aware that the Government is about to abolish the Privy Council and replace it with a New Zealand Supreme Court.

You may think that this is a very good idea.

You have probably had very little opportunity to consider the implications.

This is a huge constitutional change that will forever change the relationship between the Crown and ordinary New Zealanders.

It is not a matter that we can deal with in any great detail today.

In fact, there needs to be an extensive education programme and widespread informed debate.

That opportunity is not on offer.

This is a matter that should be above politics.

For that reason we have suggested a non partisan approach in support of a referendum on the subject of the abolition of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as the final Court of Appeal for New Zealand.

All New Zealanders should be given the opportunity of having their say on such a fundamental constitutional issue and we will be launching a petition to ensure that happens at the ballot box.

No minority government should ever take it upon itself to make such changes without full consultation.

Just as this Government has never asked you about our country’s immigration policy neither have they asked whether old institutions should be destroyed while we are taken headlong into republicanism.

And all of this is happening at a time when the once proud National Party is passing its ‘use by’ date.

As Labour and National have increasingly trodden the same policy paths over the last two decades there is no longer a viable place for both of them.

National’s dwindling membership and many of its small caucus increasingly raise the question: what does National stand for?

Some of the lemming-like remnants of National are being dragged over to the impractical and ideological right to hold political hands with ACT.

New Zealand First is the only real alternative to an increasingly arrogant Labour party and many ex National members know that as do hundreds of thousands of other New Zealanders who are increasingly disquieted by the direction being taken by the current administration.

If 2003 is not to be writ large in history as the year of the New Zealand cultural and constitutional revolution then you must take action now.

You can do three things.

You can write to the Prime Minister about your concerns for our country.

You can sign the petition so you can vote on the Privy Council issue.

You can support the work of our party as it sets out to arrest these trends.

Can we fix it?


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