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Discrimination in immigration review unacceptable

20 June 2006

Discrimination in immigration review unacceptable

DPA, a national assembly for disabled people, is alarmed that the review of the Immigration Act could discriminate against disabled people.

“Disabled people currently contribute enormously to the New Zealand economy and potential immigrants to this country should not be excluded on the grounds that they might be deaf, or have epilepsy, or use a wheelchair,” says Mike Gourley, President of DPA.

Mr Gourley is referring to issues raised by the Human Rights Commission today which suggest that excluding immigrants on health grounds could breach international covenants on human rights.

“Currently, New Zealand is being credited for its leadership in getting an international disability rights convention adopted by the United Nations. It will damage our international reputation if, simultaneously, legislation is passed that breaches other international rights treaties,” he says.

DPA says that many disabled people have skills that are in high demand in New Zealand and skill-based immigration practices should not discriminate against disability.

“The notion that disabled people are a cost to society is disturbing. In reality, disabled people contribute many diverse skills to the economy and take an active role in the New Zealand workforce,” says Mr Gourley.

ENDS

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