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Dunne: Can Winston fix it? No!

Media Statement For immediate release Wednesday, 2 July, 2003

Dunne: Can Winston fix it? No!

Winston Peters' opposition to the new rules for skilled migrants reeks of hypocrisy, United Future leader Peter Dunne said today.

"What Peters seems to have conveniently forgotten is that one of his party's policies is to 'give greater priority to immigrants who have the skills and qualifications necessary to further regional economic and social goals'.

"Now, that's exactly what the immigration bills currently before Parliament will do, so by opposing the bills, Peters is breaking his promise to all of those who voted for him at the last election.

"Immigration was one of his 'three fingers', but given the opportunity to help 'fix it', he has chosen to vote to maintain the current system. With one of his three fingers missing, guess what message he is sending to NZ First voters?" Mr Dunne said.

"United Future, on the other hand, is the only other party in Parliament which supports this legislation. We believe in an active immigration policy, but we think it's insane that the current application system for skilled migrants operates on a 'first come, first served' basis.

"The policy change will allow the Government to identify the country's skill shortages, and prioritise the applications of those who actually have the skills we want and a job offer that is relevant to those skills," he said.

Mr Dunne said that the new moved tied directly into last year's election campaign during which he suggested that the solution to the shortage of rural doctors was to make it easier for qualified doctors from other countries to settle here.

"That is exactly the kind of outcome this legislation will encourage. United Future is doing what it said it would. Winston Peters cannot claim the same."

Mr Dunne said it would remain important that while prioritising skills, that recognition was still given to human situations and family needs in setting immigration priorities.

"In all this, we need to remember that 40 percent of immigration policy will still be based on family reunification considerations and other humanitarian needs."


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