Report: PC Immigration Policy Degrades Marriage
20 October 2004
Report: PC Immigration Policy Degrades Marriage
New rules introduced by the Labour-led government through the New Zealand Immigration Service (NZIS) last year, mean that marriage relationships are being treated as the exact equivalents of de facto heterosexual and same-sex partnerships, in terms of applications for permanent residence (PR) status.
The new policy announced on the 29th of September 2003 meant that for the first time the NZIS would treat de facto couples (both same-sex and heterosexual) as the functional equivalents of legally married couples, a move that pre-empted legislation that at that time had not been introduced into the House, namely the Relationships (Statutory References) Bill, also known as the Omnibus Bill. In a single unilateral strike the government levelled the playing-field for all ‘partnerships’, pre-empting the introduction of the Omnibus Bill and denied the voting NZ public and opposition parties the opportunity to challenge this radical shift in public policy. It is a policy based on the same politically correct (PC) philosophy that undergirds the government-sponsored Property (Relationships) Amendment Act 2001. Central to this drive favouring the “gay lobby” and those in de facto relationships, was the Minister of Immigration, Ms Lianne Dalziel, a strong and out-spoken advocate of the Civil Union Bill.
1. Background: The role of Ms Lianne Dalziel
Disgraced former Minister of Immigration, the Hon. Lianne Dalziel, who had to drop her formal sponsorship of the Civil Union Bill following her resignation as a Cabinet Minister on the 20th of February 2004, is still lobbying vigorously and emotionally in support of ‘her’ Bill, as a Labour-member of the Justice and Electoral Committee.
The Bill is now in the name of Cabinet Minister Mr David Benson-Pope and is under consideration by a committee chaired by an active and outspoken proponent of the Bill, the self proclaimed practising homosexual MP Tim Barnett. The transsexual Labour MP Georgina Beyer, while not a standing member of the committee, sat on the committee on occasions during the hearing of oral submissions.
Ms Dalziel is currently just an ordinary MP from whom the public hears very little these days. She was dumped from all of her Government portfolios amid claims she lied about a letter that came into the possession of TV3. The consensus view expressed by media commentators was that she had no alternative but to resign, as the Prime Minister, Miss Helen Clark, would have ensured that her ministerial warrant was removed if she had not jumped. The media concluded that Miss Clark was certainly convinced her close friend and colleague’s actions had been inappropriate in her handling of the private legal advice of an asylum-seeker from Sri-Lanka who maintained she was a sex abuse victim. Ms Dalziel’s resignation followed that of the Labour Cabinet Ministers Hon Ruth Dyson and Hon. Dover Samuels.
On Monday night 4 October 2004 Ms Dalziel sat next to Mr Tim Barnett as members of the select committee heard submissions on the Civil Union Bill and its companion Bill, the Relationships (Statutory References) Bill. That night she vigorously challenged the Society’s oral and written submissions that both called for the bills to be dumped - both presented by two of the Society’s executive members.
Ms Dalziel began her attack by setting up a false dichotomy and demanding that the Society’s representatives choose between two options: a “gay” relationship in which a child was brought up by two loving same-sex partners and a “traditional marriage environment” in which a child was brought up by a husband and wife where there was no love and “only violence and abuse”. Her flawed reasoning used to try and prove that it is only “the existence of a genuine and stable relationship that is relevant” in child rearing and not whether or not the couple is married or their gender (same-sex or opposite sex), was exposed by the Society. Its executive members then moved on to answer other more reasonable questions raised by committee members.
2. New Immigration Partnership Rules
On the 29th of September 2003, while still a Minister, Ms Dalziel announced “new immigration partnership rules” to take “immediate effect”. The new rules meant marriage relationships for the first time were to be treated as exact equivalents to de facto heterosexual and same-sex partnerships, in terms of applications for permanent residence (PR) status.
NZIS policy under Labour, prior to her announcement, meant that de facto heterosexual couples (same-sex and heterosexual) had to demonstrate that they had been living together in a genuine and stable relationship for a least two years to qualify for residence. Legal marriages, however, could be recognised immediately under the partnership rules, without the need the two year step-down period.
The new policy Ms Dalziel announced meant that for the first time the NZIS treated de facto couples (both same-sex and heterosexual) as the functional equivalents of legally married couples, a move that pre-empted legislation that had not as yet been introduced into the House, namely the Relationships (Statutory References) Bill, also known as the Omnibus Bill.
In a single unilateral strike the Government levelled the playing-field for all ‘partnerships’, pre-empting the introduction of the Omnibus Bill and denied the voting public and other political parties the opportunity to challenge this radical shift in public policy. It is a policy based on the same politically correct (PC) philosophy that undergirds the government-sponsored Property (Relationships) Amendment Act 2001.
In her media release, Ms Dalziel said:
“It is the existence of a genuine and stable relationship that is relevant, whether or not the couple is married. To qualify for residence under the new rules the applicant must now provide sufficient evidence to satisfy a visa or immigration officer they have been living together in a genuine and stable partnership for 12 months or more at the time they lodged the application.
“Couples in a genuine and stable relationship who have not met the 12 month requirement may still be eligible for temporary permits.
“More significantly, the changes will involve the onus of proof shifting to the applicant to satisfy the NZ Immigration Service (NZIS) by supplying adequate evidence that their partnership is genuine and stable. At present NZIS has to accept the relationship as genuine and stable unless there is contrary evidence.”
Ms Dalziel’s move to treat documentation for a genuine legal marriage relationship, based on a marriage certificate, as deficient, the new requirement of additional ‘proof’ of a “genuine and stable relationship” based on evidence of a 12 months period of cohabitation, and the opening up of the partnership rules relating to marriage to embrace and include homosexual relationships; in the Society’s view, is a direct attack on the institution of marriage.
The Minister claimed that this new policy was necessary because of claims made in letters she had received from New Zealanders who felt cheated by spouses who had walked out on them almost as soon as they got permanent residence, that is soon after the marriage was recognised in law. However, such cases, amounting to a few individuals at most per year, could be adequately dealt with under the existing Immigration Act. Those entering into marriages solely to gain New Zealand residence, could then and still can, if convicted, be subject to penalties for breaches of the Act, including imprisonment for up to 7 years or a fine of up to $100,000, or both.
The anti-marriage philosophy that undergirds this new NZIS policy is the same that has led the current sponsor of the Civil Union Bill, Mr Benson-Pope, to state publicly that the nature of any relationship in which a child is reared, whether it be same-sex, heterosexual de facto or heterosexual marriage, is irrelevant to the needs of the child. The only consideration that warrants the attention of lawmakers, in his view, is whether the child is in a loving and supportive caregiver environnment. The Society rejects this misguided and erroneous ideological view and like the vast majority of New Zealanders believes that children are always better off if they are brought up by a loving mother and father committed to one another in a stable marriage relationship.
3. The NZIS Operational Manual
The New Zealand Immigration Service (NZIS) Operational Manual which is published by Southern Colour Print is amended on a regular basis because of the ongoing change to policy and procedures. It is in binder form so that things can be added and removed given the pace of change.
Section F 2.5 of the Manual that became effective on the 29th of September 2003 is entitled:
How do partners of New Zealand citizens and residents qualify for residence?
a. To be issued with a residence visa or granted a residence permit under Partnership policy applicants must provide sufficient evidence to satisfy a visa or immigration officer that they have been living together for 12 months or more in a partnership that is genuine and stable* with a New Zealand citizen or resident*. b. For the purposes of this policy 'partnership' means:
i a legal marriage, or ii an interdependent partnership akin to a marriage (whether opposite or same sex)
and ‘partner’ means one of the parties to such a partnership.
c. In each case the onus of proving that the partnership on which the application is based is genuine and stable* lies with the principal applicant* and their partner*. d. An application under Partnership policy will be declined if:
i the application is not supported by a New Zealand citizen or resident* partner* who is an eligible sponsor*, or ii a visa or immigration officer is not satisfied that the partnership on which the application is based is genuine and stable*; or iii the application is based on marriage to a New Zealand citizen or resident* and either that New Zealand citizen or resident*, or the principal applicant* is already married to another person, or iv both the principal applicant* and the New Zealand citizen or resident* partner* cannot satisfy a visa or immigration officer they comply with the minimum requirements for recognition of partnerships (see F2.15), or
v the applicant(s) does not meet health and character requirements policy (see A4 and A5).
4. Applying the new NZIS Partnership Policy
To be eligible to apply for PR under the current NZIS Partnership policy an applicant must live together for at least twelve months with his or her partner in New Zealand. As noted already, the policy treats all couples (two person “partnerships”), regardless of the genders of the participants, as functional equivalents. Male and female homosexual (same sex) couples are treated the same as both de facto heterosexual (different sex) couples and heterosexual married ones.
Committed couples who are engaged to get married, but choose not to live together before marriage for moral and/or cultural reasons, do not have the period of engagement taken into consideration by the NZIS as part of the eligibility criteria in applying for PR. The Partnership Policy serves to advantage those couples who choose to live together before marriage because the NZIS is now willing to define the starting point of a partnership based on evidence co-habitation.
For example, if two homosexuals who claim to be in a partnership begin to live together at the same address, the NZIS in practice accepts the commencement date of the joint tenancy as sufficient proof, if presented as such, that their relationship began on that date. Therefore tenancy documentation submitted by any couple, including “gays”, who claim to be in a partnership, is treated as the equivalent of a marriage certificate for the purpose of establishing the commencement date of any relationship.
The Society accepts that in the rare situations where the NZIS has very good reason to doubt that a couple who present documentation purporting to show that they are legally married (a marriage certificate), are not in a genuine relation, but have instead entered a ‘marriage’ of convenience to help one member gain PR; documentation such as a tenancy agreements may be helpful in resolving the truth of the matter concerning the nature of the relationship. However, it rejects as seriously flawed, the reasoning that lies behind the treatment of a tenancy agreement as ‘legally’ equivalent to a marriage certificate for the purpose of determining the commencement of “an interdependent partnership akin to a marriage (whether opposite or same sex)”.
The Society strongly rejects the view that a same-sex relationship is “an interdependent partnership in the nature of marriage”. Such a claim is blatantly dishonest. While the former may share many of the features of a marriage, it can never share at least three unique aspects that define the true and abiding nature of marriage.
First, a marriage involves two opposite-sex partners (male and female). Second, a marriage involves a dynamic legally recognised interpersonal relationship that demonstrates the complementary role of the two sexes, whose physical union serves to highlight the union of a male and female person, in body, soul and spirit. Third through such a legal union a new human being can come into being. The union of same-sex couples in whatever dysfunctional and perverted manner they chose to carry this out, can never produce a child!
To suggest that an interdependent partnership involving homosexuals is “akin to marriage” is an insult to most people who are in a committed loving marriage and take their public vows seriously.
5. Fee-paying Students, Relationships and PR status
Many international students in New Zealand tertiary institutions are paying tuition fees that can be significantly reduced once they gain PR status. Generally an overseas fee-paying student pays three to four times as much per year compared to a domestic student. Annual fees paid by the former can vary from $12,000 to $20,000 per year for second and third year arts, science and engineering courses. Those specialising in medicine, dentistry and veterinary science pay more.
A Bachelor of Tourism student at Waikato University pays a tuition fee of about $16,000 per year – in contrast, domestic students who pay $4000. If this student can gain PR status while still a student, he or she saves $12,000 per year. For those who, for whatever reason, chose not to enter “an interdependent partnership akin to a marriage (whether opposite or same sex)” as defined by the NZIS and are wishing to apply for PR, there can be no prospects of making a saving on tuition fees. However, those wanting to make application for PR who have entered a “partnership” with a New Zealand citizen or someone with PR status, are eligible to apply under the “immigration partnership rules”. Those who never enter such relationships can only apply for PR after they have fulfilled other criteria involving work experience and other matters, after completing their degree and training.
Students who gain PR early on in their studies under the immigration partnership rules can put their considerable savings towards a new house or a new sports car, that both partners can enjoy. The point is that it can be a very lucrative option for both partners to have one partner apply and gain PR under the new “partnership” criteria. The pressure that can be put on an international student to start living with their kiwi partner so they can formalise their relationship for the purpose of gaining PR status, can be enormous.
If the Civil Union Bill is enacted into law, another means of documenting the commencement date of such “interdependent partnerships”, will be open to students who do not want to get married, other than that offered by joint tenancy agreements. Civil Union documentation will be superior to a tenancy agreement in that it requires a statutory declaration to be made in front of at least two witnesses and a civil union celebrant. Furthermore, the proposal in the Bill is to have all such formalised civil unions recorded separately in the Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages, a list, which is easily accessible to the general public. Tenancy agreements are not accessible to the general public. They are essentially private legal agreements. A tenancy agreement by its very nature is fundamentally different to a civil union.
6. Miss Helen Clark’s Views on Marriage and Civil Unions
A civil union, according to Prime Minister Miss Helen Clark’s claims, has none of the cultural, religious baggage etc. associated with marriage. It is simply a legal registration – a partnership registration divested of all the so-called sanctimonious claptrap associated with making life-long vows of fidelity and faithfulness. Miss Clark has publicly stated that she favours civil unions to marriage. She has made it very clear that if the option of a civil union, as defined in the Civil Union Bill, had been open to her and her then de-facto partner Peter, before she got married to him, she would have opted for a civil union.
Miss Clark must feel cheated that she never had the option of entering a civil union, but instead entered into marriage under considerable duress in order to satisfy her close political advisors who were concerned about her public image (she cohabited with her partner for some years before getting married).
Most will have heard or read about men who claim they are really a woman trapped in a man’s body and women who claim they are really a man trapped in a woman’s body. While it is true that some in the media have questioned Miss Clarke’s gender preference, it would be fairer to say that she appears to be a civil union believer trapped in a legal marriage with all its supposed objectionable cultural and religious baggage.
The obvious solution to Miss Clark’s personal crisis is to get unmarried and enter a new socially acceptable status that is supposedly unfettered by the debilitating accoutrements of marriage. If the Civil Union Bill becomes law we can expect Miss Clark to be among the first to line up to enter “an interdependent partnership akin to a marriage” but which is not a marriage. To do this properly she would need to renounce the public vows she no doubt made before witnesses to Peter, committing herself to a life-long commitment to love, fidelity and faithfulness “until death us do part” (or words to that effect). By undoing these vows, she can now declare before a civil union celebrant or a Registry Office official “I take you Peter as my civil union partner”.
This liberating declaration will no doubt breathe new life into their relationship. We are told that her actively homosexual colleague the Hon. Chris Carter and his partner Peter Kaiser, like many homosexuals and lesbians thriving in same-sex partnerships “akin to marriage” are dreaming of the day when they can utter this same civil union pledge and join the privileged ranks of those whose relationships are legally recognised by the state.
If the Civil Union Bill becomes law and Miss Helen Clark and her husband transform their relationship into a civil union, they would then, at some future date, be able to backtrack and transform it into a marriage. In fact any heterosexual couple having entered a civil union will be able to do this. However, this option would be closed off to all same-sex couples in civil unions. Why? Because the Government claims its aim is to preserve the unique status of marriage as only open to a man and a woman, not a same-sex couple.
However, in the Society’s view, its action of proposing a new form of legal relationship that is all but marriage for gays dressed up in another name, is dishonest. Perhaps more importantly it sets up a relationship that constitutes a legal nonsense.
7. False claims of equal treatment under the law via civil unions
All couples who enter a civil union must be treated under the law in the same way for it to have any meaning. But they are not. Homosexuals in a civil union will be denied the option to transform their relationship into a marriage, on the basis of their sexual orientation. This constitutes a newly created form of discrimination that the government says it is so concerned to eradicate. It claims that it must create in law the opportunity for gays to be legally recognised by creating a new form of legal relationship, to avoid litigation threatened to be brought against it by the gay community who claim their ‘rights’ are being denied.
Marriage as a legal relationship status is not a legal nonsense. All the legal privileges open to those in the married state must by law be available to all those who are also in the same married state. To illustrate: If married people who practised birth control were denied the legal rights of married couples who did, this would be an act of unlawful discrimination.
The category of a civil union, defined as a relationship category that can apply equally to both same-sex and opposite sex couples, is logically flawed if the legal benefits afforded one sub-group (heterosexuals de factos) are denied to another sub-group (same-sex), on the one basis alone: the gender of the partners.
8. Safeguarding Marriage
Marriage is a category of relationship that is recognised legally for a public purpose – the long-term unique benefits in offers any society. Its irreducible core is the complementary functioning of one male and one female – body, soul and spirit – in a committed life-long loving partnership. It is the highest benchmark to which male-female relationships can attain – perfecting all that is ideal and complete in the union of two human beings. It is potentially life-giving through the procreation of children drawn uniquely from the shared genetic contribution of both biological parents.
Of course there will be some bad marriages. Some will be disasters. However, we do should abandon the institution of marriage because of individual failures. No should we degrade the institution through public policy or by introducing legislation that creates another so-called form of legal relationship that confers on those who cannot be married (same-se couples), all the benefits that we confer on those in the married state. To treat those who are living in same-sex relationships, whether or not they enter a civil union or not, as though they were married, is a legal nonsense. This is what the Omnibus Bill does. Good law must be based on sound principles and must seek to uphold the public good.
When an orchardist has pointed out to him the odd rotten and immature fruits on a few of his trees, do we expect him to abandon his entire enterprise and call for the whole-scale abandonment of horticulture? Of course not! When we see failed marriages we recognise that the majority are healthy and incredibly productive and we seek to address any causative factors that may lead to breakdown. Marriage as an institution has a tried and proven track record throughout the recorded history of mankind.
9. Gay Marriage on the Agenda and the Civil Union Virus
As noted above, the changes in the immigration partnership rules made by Ms Dalziel in 2003 as discussed above, were made because of letters she said she had received from “New Zealanders who had felt cheated by individuals who had left the minute they got residence.”
She noted: “The bottom line is that someone who can deceive another person to that extent is unlikely to leave behind any concrete evidence that this was always their intention. However, I have asked officials to include work on revoking residence in such circumstances in the review of the Immigration Act scheduled for next year.”
It is ironical that a Minister should state such things given the high level of deception it has engaged in to advance its Civil Union Bill and companion legislation. The gay –rights lobby is determined to advance the cause of gay marriage as their end-goal followed by adoption rights for ‘gays”. Their intentions are clear despite the consoling and beguiling words of Government Ministers.
It is troubling to realise that a virulent virus could soon spread throughout New Zealand Society – via the creation by law of gay marriage rights via the creation of “civil unions”.
Special Note: For those wanting to discover more on why “gay” ‘rights’ do not constitute “civil rights” and instead constitute “special rights” see full transcript of the video GayRights/Special Rights: Inside the Homosexual Agenda