Parliament

Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 

Speech: Harawira - Immigration Bill, Third Reading

Immigration Bill : Third Reading
Hone Harawira, MP for Te Tai Tokerau
Thursday 29 October 2009

Yesterday I got back home after being away for three weeks as part of a delegation to the Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Geneva.

While there we also visited the European Parliament in Brussels, where we met with MPs and officials to see how they got 27 different countries to work together, on issues as diverse as the global financial crisis, trade, immigration and multiculturalism.

We also visited the World War One battlefields at Flanders, laid wreaths to fallen New Zealand soldiers, and took part in the Last Post ceremony at the Menin Gate on the outskirts of Ypres.

Visiting memorials dedicated to hundreds of thousands of soldiers who gave their lives for a war many of them didn’t understand, brought home to me the importance of our own country’s commitment to human rights overseas, which brings me of course to the Bill before us today, and the importance of our having a strong, positive and fair immigration system in Aotearoa.

Mr Speaker, Apirana Ngata said that Māori participation in the First World War was our ‘price of citizenship' – the price we pay to be part of shaping our nation – a price which went through the roof with the commitment of the Maori Battalion in World War II, where the Maori casualty rate was 50% higher than that of every other New Zealand infantry battalion, and where more Maori died per head of population than every other people in the Allied Forces.

Mr Speaker, I raise these matters because I want this house to be reminded of the price we have paid for our citizenship, and the right we have as tangata whenua to sit at the decision-making table as Treaty partners, not as tenants, nor as a minority.

Our own Declaration of Independence, which we celebrated yesterday, and the Treaty of Waitangi, serve as this nation’s very first immigration charters; indeed, Dr Ranginui Walker described the Treaty as the source for all migration to Aotearoa from Europe, Australia, and the United Kingdom; the guarantee of a developing social contract; a partnership of the two cultures; with at its very core the expectation that Māori, as a Treaty partner, be consulted on every aspect concerning people who want to come here.

And yet this Bill is more about managing immigration and balancing the rights of the individual, than it is about serving the national interest by having all new citizens complete a course in the history of Aotearoa and the Pacific as part of their price of citizenship, which is exactly what Maori told the last government during a consultation hui in 2001 on immigration policy.

The last government ignored that call, and so it would seem is the current government, but the Maori Party takes the view that contracts are to be honoured in the deed rather than in the breach, and suggests that an understanding of the Treaty is a critical component of immigration policy.

Mr Speaker, the Maori Party’s confidence and supply agreement with National says that “both the National Party and the Maori Party will act in accordance with Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the Treaty of Waitangi”, and yet government has decided unilaterally that the Treaty is not relevant to immigration policy.

So I introduced a Supplementary Order Paper, to give Māori a right to participate in immigration management, consistent with the rights guaranteed to Māori under the Treaty of Waitangi.

No big deal really; in fact it was very similar to other SOPs we have put up on other legislation. Unfortunately however, it suffered a very similar fate as those other SOPs as well; voted down by every other party in the House except ourselves and the Greens (and again – my thanks to the Greens for their continued support of Treaty issues).

Mr Speaker, the Maori Party also has grave concerns about significant human rights issues in the Bill, such as:

* the abuse of private information;
* the prolonged detention of asylum seekers;
* the protection of the rights of children born in Aotearoa without citizenship; and
* the refusal to allow the Human Rights Commission to have jurisdiction over immigration matters.

And for those, and for many other reasons Mr Speaker, the Maori Party will be opposing this Bill.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Back Again: Government Approves TPP11 Mandate

The Government has approved a negotiating mandate for Trans-Pacific Partnership 11 (TPP11), which will ensure New Zealand businesses remain competitive in overseas markets.

Trade Minister Todd McClay says New Zealand will be pushing for the minimal number of changes possible to the original TPP agreement, something that the remaining TPP11 countries have agreed on. More>>

ALSO:

.

 
 

Gordon Campbell: On Why Labour Isn’t Responsible For Barnaby Joyce

As a desperate Turnbull government tries to treat the Barnaby Joyce affair as a Pauline Hanson fever dream – blame it on the foreigners! We’re the victims of the dastardly New Zealand Labour Party! – our own government has chosen to further that narrative, and make itself an accomplice. More>>

ALSO:

Rail: Greens Back Tauranga – Hamilton – Auckland Service

The Green Party today announced that it will trial a passenger rail service between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga starting in 2019, when it is in government. More>>

ALSO:

Housing: Voluntary Rental Warrant Of Fitness For Wellington

Wellington City Council is partnering with the University of Otago, Wellington, to launch a voluntary Rental Warrant of Fitness for minimum housing standards in Wellington, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>

ALSO:

Treaty: Agreement In Principle Signed With Moriori

“The Crown acknowledges Moriori was left virtually landless from 1870, hindering its cultural, social and economic development. The Crown also acknowledges its contribution to the myths that the people of Moriori were racially inferior and became extinct." More>>

ALSO:

Susan Devoy: Call For Inquiry Into State Abuse Reaches UN

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy is in Geneva and has asked a United Nations committee to urge the New Zealand government to initiate an inquiry into the physical and sexual abuse of children and disabled people held in state institutions. More>>

ALSO:

(Not National): Cross-Party Agreement On Pike River Re-Entry

The commitment was signed this afternoon by the leaders of Labour, United Future, The Maori Party, and the Green Party and, together with the earlier commitment by New Zealand First, means that there is now a Parliamentary majority behind the families’ fight for truth and justice. More>>

ALSO:

Earlier:

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election