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Council's targeting of migrants is racist

11 May 2005

Insurance Council's targeting of migrants is racist: Turei

Blaming a common insurance scam solely on migrants is an outrageous slur on a vulnerable section of New Zealand society and the Refugee Council is right to object, says Green MP Metiria Turei.

The Insurance Council has claimed "immigrants" are involved in major frauds involving deliberately crashing cars. The head of the Refugee Council of New Zealand, Dr. Nagalingam Rasalingam, has this morning said migrants are easily targeted and called on the insurers' body to provide evidence of its claims.

"These statements by the Insurance Council are utterly racist because they tar all immigrants with the same brush," said Mrs Turei, the Green Party's Immigration Spokesperson.

"By the Insurance Council's own admission there have been just a few cases of immigrants committing insurance fraud. How many Pakeha, Maori and Pacific Islanders are guilty of fiddling their insurance claims, of adding a few items to cover their excess?

"Panel beaters, car dealers and lawyers all have something to gain from cars being crashed. Why doesn't the Council isolate these groups as fraudsters?

"It is outrageous to attribute any crime to a specific sector of society because ultimately someone's ethnicity or occupation is irrelevant to whether they are dishonest or not.

"It is abhorrent that we have professional organisations promoting such racism, rather than dealing with specific isolated cases.

"So I congratulate Dr. Rasalingam for his stand and call on all fair-minded New Zealanders to tell their insurers that their industry's body is well out of line," said Mrs Turei.

ENDS

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