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Stop pregnancy testing our visitors now

Stop pregnancy testing our visitors now

The Green Party is demanding a halt to pregnancy testing for visitors to New Zealand following the scandal over a Tongan politician being asked for a test.

Meleseni Lomu, the Tongan acting secretary for finance, withdrew from a Pacific Forum meeting in Rotorua after she was asked for a pregnancy test as a prerequisite for a New Zealand visa.

"Pregnancy testing is an insult to our visitors and is blackening New Zealand's good name," said Keith Locke, the Green Party's Foreign Affairs and Human Rights Spokesperson.

"It is also against our human rights legislation. No one should be discriminated against on the basis of their gender or childbearing status.

"The only solution is for the Minister of Immigration to order an immediate end to pregnancy testing. Just saying we'll do less of it, which the Minister said three weeks ago, is not adequate.

"The Immigration Service should stop being so paranoid about the reasons our Tongan brothers and sisters want to visit New Zealand. The hard-line stance towards Tongan visitors and migrants reflects badly on our country.

"Tongans have a 250-person annual quota under the Pacific Access programme. Yet in the 10 months to May only four Tongans have been accepted. This is disgraceful and seems to be largely due to the high hurdles intending Tongan migrants have to jump. A Tongan with a family has to have a job paying at least $14-an-hour arranged in advance before they qualify under the Pacific Access scheme.

"New Zealand prides itself as a friend of Pacific nations, but are we really acting as one when we take such a tough immigration stance towards a close neighbour?" asked Mr Locke.

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