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Immigration Minister's powers need review

Friday, 4 August 2006

Copeland seeks review of Immigration Minister's powers

United Future immigration spokesperson Gordon Copeland today called for a new look at the scope of the review powers granted to the Minister of Immigration in the light of the Taito Phillip Field controversy.

"The present system relies heavily on the thousands of review applications made to the Minister each year by MP's," said Mr Copeland.

"This, together with the virtually unlimited discretion of the Minister, opens the door to political patronage and perceptions of unfairness.

"Any system which depends on who you know rather than clear objective criteria strikes at the Kiwi sense of fair play and needs to be reviewed.

"My understanding for example is that an illegal overstayer in Australia must leave the country as a prerequisite to any further consideration of their immigration status.

"In other words they suffer a penalty for breaking the law before they are given a second chance.

"This matter has great importance in New Zealand both in terms of consistency of treatment - one law for all - and in view of New Zealand's continuing and growing need to meet skill shortages and offset outward migration to Australia, through continued targeted immigration," said Mr Copeland.

ENDS

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