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New Zealand’s Identity Crisis – Colony Or Nation?

“ New Zealand’s Identity Crisis – Colony Or Nation?”

Rt Hon Winston Peters, an address to Grey Power North Shore, Netball North Harbour Rooms, Northcote Road, at 1.45pm 23 May 2003

About four weeks ago, with great ceremony and self-congratulation, Statistics New Zealand marked the moment when our population reached four million.

At around 5.30pm on 24th April, the gullible media were waiting at the delivery suite of an Auckland hospital to nominate a new arrival as the four millionth Kiwi.

That honour fell to baby Milan White and as the anointed four millionth New Zealander we wish her a long and happy life.

We hate to spoil the fun – and the sense of history of that special moment but we know the media were in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The media should have been at Auckland airport months ago because it is much more likely that back then an immigrant took us past the four million mark.

And just as Statistics New Zealand got the time and date wrong, the Government has got its immigration policy wrong.

Immigration raises profound issues for the future of this country.

It goes to the heart of who we are as a nation, and for that reason the unprecedented rates of immigration are having a serious impact on our national identity.

Let me state clearly and unequivocally that New Zealand First is not against immigration – as long as it is in our national interest.

We do not condemn any particular group of immigrants or individuals. Our issue is about quantity and quality.

And we are committed to one law for all New Zealanders whether they have been citizens here a thousand years or one day.

We have to restate this position – even though it has been our policy since the inception of New Zealand First ten years ago.

Some vital questions have to be asked in any debate on immigration.

First of all: What is a reasonable rate of immigration?

What criteria should we apply before granting citizenship?

And what expectations should we have of our new citizens?

The answers to those questions will determine the future course of this country.

That future includes all of us here and the coming generations including little Milan White.

But instead of an open, direct and informed debate on this issue of critical national importance what has happened?

What do you get from the other parties? Either silence or trite dismissals.

They try to shut down any voice that alerts the public to what is actually happening.

Their favourite tactic is to smear and denigrate anyone who dares to challenge the politically correct orthodoxy on immigration.

In the past, New Zealand governments have tried to be extremely prudent in immigration policy.

They erred on the side of caution.

They took a measured and circumspect approach to immigration because there was an appreciation that with our small population, a sense of balance had to be maintained.

There was an understanding that mistakes made with immigration could not be undone.

You cannot turn the clock back if you suddenly realise that maybe it was not such a smart idea to allow a tidal wave of migrants into New Zealand. What is happening now is taking us into uncharted waters.


Let us look briefly at the numbers.

Consistent with its strategy of obfuscation and evasion over immigration, the Government has made no attempt to establish comprehensive and accurate data on what is really happening to immigration and citizenship.

It relies instead on such crude measure such as permanent and long-term arrivals and departures as marked on arrival and departure cards filled in by people on aircraft.

These gross figures are hiding what is actually going on.

Statistics New Zealand tells us that in the year ended April 2003 there were 98,200 permanent and long terms arrivals – an increase of 8,300 over the previous year.

It says that just under 72,000 of the arrivals were foreigners.

But hold on – there are 82,000 overseas students in this country!

The Minister has said so herself. So how on earth do these immigration figures actually stack up?

If someone comes here as a visitor, and then applies for a student visa or work permit or residency, there is no system in place to record this change of status. There is a training institute in the Wairarapa, which took on overseas students from Nepal and Samoa.

The students have left this institute. Where are they now? Also, if you do look at the official figures you will see that of all those people who arrive on a long term basis – only a fraction go home again.

We really have no idea how many of the so-called short-term arrivals circumvent the system once they have entered the country.

And we simply don’t really know how many illegal immigrants there are –but even the authorities admit that there are tens of thousands of such people.

The immigration policies that the Government is so smug and relaxed about are adding the population of a major city to New Zealand every year.

Is it any wonder we have a power crisis, a transport infrastructure crisis, and a hospital waiting list crisis?

Most immigrants end up in the Auckland where the infrastructure is already at bursting point but still the Government refuses to face reality and turn the tap off.

The countries where the bulk of the immigrants come from have closed door policies themselves.

But the New Zealand government does not care who is entering, what they contribute, where they end up or the consequences for our cities and towns.

All this Government does is compare two large numbers – the total for permanent and long-term arrivals and the total for long-term departures.

But treating these large numbers like jars of identical marbles is grossly misleading.

Because at the current rate of immigration the face of New Zealand is changing radically over a short period.

People are not inter-changeable. It actually matters that most of the long-term departures are Kiwis and the arrivals are foreigners.

Given its approach to immigration, this Government is in effect saying that emptying out a sugar jar and filling it with cocoa makes no difference! The Government also appears blissfully unaware of the underlying dynamics of immigration.

For in our current immigration policy we are making no allowance for the fact that immigrants beget immigrants.

There is now a huge pool of immigrants who have arrived over the past four or five years.

Under our current immigrant laws this pool will become self-sustaining due to lax family reunification rules.

Another point – there is no official recognition that many immigrants are relatively young and come from cultures where large families are the norm.

This disparity in fertility will further add to the impact of immigration.

Globally, First World governments are stemming migrant flows from the Third World.

But our Government pretends not to notice despite the fact that the numbers coming here have spiraled out of control.

A Question of Identity

New Zealand’s national identity is also being seriously affected by mass immigration.

Words like integration and assimilation have been deemed politically incorrect by this Government and its sickly sycophants.

The “in” word is diversity and – oh boy – are we going for diversity! We are supposed to celebrate it!

No wonder the demographic composition of New Zealand is changing before our eyes.

Many suburbs are now totally unrecognisable from even a decade ago. Someone has to stand up and say it – this obsession – this fetish with diversity is destroying our national identity.

The Government’s unthinking approach to immigration is radically altering the demographic and cultural composition of New Zealand.

Mass immigration threatens our values, our customs and our way of life.

Our national identity is not some brand of instant food. A nation’s sense of itself cannot be created like instant pudding.

There is more to building a nation – a cohesive and stable society – than baking a cake.

There is more to it than dumping all the ingredients in a pot – stirring rapidly for a few years and hey presto – instant nation.

We have a “we know best” Government.

Such is its contempt for New Zealanders that it thinks New Zealand’s national identity can be conjured up in a slick advertising campaign.

We know that with only four million people we have a limited capacity to absorb waves of immigrants.

By international standards our population equates only to that of a major city. Helen Clark’s government is engaged in nothing short of a massive project to transform the demographic composition of New Zealand forever.

Last year I warned about the “Balkanisation” of New Zealand.

how NZ is dissolving into a set of so called distinct ‘communities’ based on ethnic origins with each demanding its special treatment and consideration.

Today a better word would be colonisation.

What other word explains why we are admitting tens of thousands of people from countries with huge populations.

And if you think the term colonisation is too strong, take a drive around Auckland.

Take a walk down Queen Street.

New Zealand is well on the way to becoming nothing more that a collection of ethnic minorities.

And as they grow in size these groups can be expected to grow more and more assertive.

Already we have seen the emergence of the so-called Pan Asian Congress.

This was just a taste of what lies ahead.

Many people were misled by the ostensibly worthy aims of this special interest group but we saw this development for what it really was.

It was a group of people seeing themselves as members of an ethnic community rather than as New Zealanders

Where does this end? A Pan-European congress?

A Pan Pacific Peoples congress?

A Pan Arabic Peoples Congress

All thinking New Zealanders, including many recent migrants, know where this leads. To a bitter divided society beset by warring factions.

There is one other point to be made about the Pan Asian Congress As with most special interest groups, this one is completely one-eyed.

In their self appointed role of “race relations police” they are vigilant about any perceived slight to their community.

In contrast, they are loath to acknowledge the shady side that exists in all communities.

Where is the Pan Asian Congress when people of Asian descent are involved in extortion, blackmail, violence and intimidation and kidnapping?

Nowhere! And what happens when a frontline Auckland police officer goes public about the crime explosion among Asian students, he is quickly silenced by his bosses and the Government.

He is told by his superiors that Helen Clark has been embarrassed by his outburst.

In other words – don’t tell the truth – it might hurt the Government!

For his honesty this officer faces what is termed “counselling”. This is the equivalent of re-education in a Stalinist gulag!

Given the sectarian tendencies that are emerging in New Zealand do not expect a repeat of, say, the Dutch experience.

By their second generation, Dutch migrants had become indisputably Kiwi.

Of course all people cherish their heritage, their background and their ancestry.

But to those who settle in New Zealand, we say its is not unreasonable that they respect our values, customs and way of life.

In New Zealand we have got it the wrong way round.

We are expected to adjust and adapt to the newcomer’s standards.

That is the hallmark of a colonised people.

We are changing from a cohesive society with a distinctive history and identity into a smorgasbord of separate and distinct “communities.”

The things that unite us are being diluted and our sense of shared experience is being destroyed.

The common threads that bind us are unravelling – the glue that holds us together as a society is dissolving.

All over the world people are striving to strengthen their own cultural identity. Whether it’s the Scots, Welsh, Hindus, Tamils, Croats or Chechens.

For some absurd reason, we are doing the opposite – what makes our society distinctive – is being submerged in a tidal wave of immigration.

New Zealand First is the only party committed to a drastic reduction in immigration.

We say that we have to put the brakes on – not next year – not even next month – Now!

We must or the term New Zealand and New Zealander will become meaningless.


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