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Don't make the babies pay

7 July 2004

Don't make the babies pay

Green MP Keith Locke is condemning the Government's desire to take away the automatic citizenship rights of babies born in New Zealand.

Internal Affairs Minister George Hawkins today said his Government might facilitate the proposed amendment through a Supplementary Order Paper to the Identity (Citizenship and Travel Documents) Bill.

"There are no statistics to suggest that hordes of women are making short-term visits to New Zealand just to give birth to citizenship-claiming babies," said Mr Locke, the Green Party's Human Rights Spokesperson.

"So there is simply no good reason to take away such a well-established citizenship right.

"So what if a handful of people born in such circumstances return to New Zealand as adults and take up residency? We should be proud our country has such a good reputation.

"Children who are born here are citizens for very good and valid reasons. For instance, citizenship ensures that they do not suffer inadequate health care because of the migration status of their parents, which is consistent with our obligations under the International Convention on the Rights of the Child.

"Are we such a hard-hearted society that we cannot extend citizenship to the few babies born to our guests?" asked Mr Locke.

ENDS

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