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Identity Bill: another U-turn

Pansy Wong

National Member of Parliament

11 August 2004

Identity Bill: another U-turn

Pressure from National and migrant communities has forced the Government into another U-turn, says National MP, Pansy Wong.

The Identity Bill proposed to increase the time that a person is required to be resident in New Zealand before they can become a citizen from three to five years.

The change was to be retrospective, but Ethnic Affairs Minister Chris Carter today announced that he is seeking to change that.

"You can't tell someone who has been here just shy of three years and is about to apply for citizenship that all of a sudden the goal-posts have shifted and they need to stay longer," says Mrs Wong.

"Under pressure from National and migrant communities, Mr Carter realises the backlash would be huge if this law was passed."

National Members of Parliament Pansy Wong and Wayne Mapp have held 11 meetings addressing issues in the Identity (Citizenship and Travel Documents) Bill.

"This is the second U-turn in this one piece of legislation. In June, Labour backed down on a clause that would see automatic citizenship denied to parents using New Zealand as a birthplace of convenience," says Mrs Wong.

"It is imperative that new and potential migrants can have trust in our immigration rules.

"Good immigration policy needs to be consistent but under this Government, potential immigrants have repeatedly been given the run-around," says Mrs Wong.

ENDS

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