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National backs reasoned debate on immigration

Pansy Wong MP National Party Asian Relationships Spokeswoman

02 December 2003

National backs reasoned debate on immigration

The National Party Asian Relationships spokeswoman says for New Zealand to mature as a country it must conduct a reasoned, commonsense debate on immigration.

Pansy Wong is concerned that immigration is set to become the target for further political opportunism and she's warning the Asian community to prepare for what's ahead.

"New Zealand is proud of its reputation as a tolerant and inclusive society. Unfortunately the opportunity for a reasoned debate will be lost amid the name-calling," Mrs Wong says.

"Just last year, in response to that kind of political points scoring, the Labour Government made knee-jerk changes to its English language test and arbitrarily dumped 20,000 applications, mainly from Asia.

"But most thinking Kiwis understand that New Zealand cannot afford to shut out immigrants," Mrs Wong says.

"That would damage our economic growth prospects and our reputation as a good global citizen.

"National has the confidence, respect and faith in fair-minded New Zealanders that it trusts them to provide input to our immigration policies.

The National Party's Immigration discussion document, which calls for public feedback, outlines our plan for consistency and it attempts to identify longer term solutions," says Mrs Wong.

(For copies of the National Party Discussion Document on Immigration click: http://www.national.org.nz/wcontent.asp?PageID=100012820 )

Ends

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