Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


Ambassador Benavidez disrespects NZ unions and media

*APMM Statement*

22 February 2014

*Ambassador Benavidez disrespects NZ unions and media, should make public apology*

The recent public statement of Ambassador Virginia Benavidez on how Filipino migrants should treat local trade unions and the press in New Zealand is outrageous and should not be treated lightly. It amounts to a major diplomatic gaffe in a country where trade unionism and media advocacy are highly respected institutions. Benavidez must think she can deal with them the same way that the Philippine government has been dealing with genuine workers' organizations and media in its own backyard - i.e., with gross disrespect and hostility.

In a meeting of Filipino migrants that was organized by the Canterbury Pilipino Assistance Group (CPAG), Benavidez declared thus: "If you have problems with your job, don't approach the unions and media especially those posting stories in the New Zealand Herald." Shocked members of the audience reported the matter to First Union, one of the largest trade union centers in NZ, and the Union Network of Migrants (UNEMIG), its migrant worker affiliate.

The union's General Secretary Robert Reid has been moved to declare her statement as "nothing less than gross interference in the domestic affairs of New Zealand", and will be asking the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to discuss the matter with her. Migrante Aotearoa, the largest Filipino migrant organization in NZ, has also denounced her statement and her subsequent denial, demanding that she make a formal public apology. All in all, Ambassador Benavidez has been an embarassment to local and Filipino communities in NZ.

The Asia Pacific Mission for mIgrant Workers (APMM), a regional migrant service institution that has a resident Country Coordinator in New Zealand, takes the position that Benavidez's statements were not simply a matter of impropriety or tactlessness, but was a willful act of malice against trade unions and media organizations in NZ. With regard to her ill-will against unions, Benavidez made the grievous error of attempting to demonize NZ unions, which have been fighting for the protection of all types of workers in the country for decades now. Her sneaky form of attack manifests an ideology-based compulsion to undermine democratic institutions in NZ, and to further deprive migrant workers of their fundamental human rights.

It is hardly a secret that the Philippine government remains one of the most flagrant human rights violators in the region, labour and media rights among them. With ambassadors like Benavidez, the Aquino government is trying to export these rights violations into migrant receiving countries in a shameless way, as part of its neoliberal labor-export program that seeks to peddle cheap and docile labor abroad. They do so without due regard to local political environments that actually respect and implement core labour standards.

Such envoys of labor flexibilization and media repression should refrain from promoting their ideological biases in countries that respect migrant workers' rights and press freedom, as doing so creates animosities with locals that run counter to their diplomatic duties. We therefore call on the Aquino government to duly reprimand Ambassador Benavidez for going overboard with her anti-union and anti-media stance, and to require her to make a public apology in New Zealand. We also call on Filipino migrant workers in NZ to stand their ground and resist attempts by their own government to deprive them of their fundamental human rights. #

*Reference*: Joselito Natividad;

*Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM)

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Anzac Issue Out Now: Werewolf 47

Alison McCulloch: Lest We Remember

Local iwi have plans to spruce up the Te Ranga site as part of the 150th commemorations this year of key battles in the “New Zealand Wars”, but not a lot of money to do it with.

Information gathered from numerous government agencies shows that while more than $25 million is being spent on monuments and commemorations relating to foreign wars, primarily World War I and its centenary, only around $250,000 has been set aside for those fought on our own soil. More>>

Anne Russell: Anzac Day - Identity Politics, With Guns

Even cursory research into media reports from the past forty years reveals a cultural shift in the commemoration of Anzac Day. Among other things, turnout at Dawn services has increased significantly in recent decades.

Contemporary numbers are estimated at 3,000-4,000 in Wellington, and 10,000-15,000 in Auckland. Newspaper reports from the 1970s and 80s estimated Wellington turnouts at 300-800, and Auckland at anywhere from 600 to 4,000. More>>

 
 

Parliament Today:

Spookwatch: New Inspector-General Of Intelligence And Security Appointed

Prime Minister John Key hasannounced the appointment of Cheryl Gwyn as Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security. The appointment was made by the Administrator of the Government on behalf of the Governor General and is for a term of three years. More>>

Crowdsourcing: Green Party Launches Internet Rights And Freedoms Bill

The Green Party has today launched the Internet Rights and Freedoms Bill, New Zealand’s first ever Bill crowdsourced by a political party. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Shane Jones Departure

Shane Jones has left Parliament in the manner to which we have become accustomed, with self interest coming in first and second, and with the interests of the Labour Party (under whose banner he served) way, way back down the track. More>>

COMMENT:

Multimedia: PM Post-Cabinet Press Conference - April 22 2014

The Prime Minister met with reporters to discuss: • The recent improvement in the economy with a growing job market • Income and wealth inequality • Easter trading laws • The New Zealander killed in a drone strike in Yemen... More>>

ALSO:

Easter Trading: Workers 'Can Kiss Goodbye To Easter Sunday Off'

The Government’s decision to “reprioritise” scarce labour inspector resources by abandoning the enforcement of Easter Sunday Shop Trading laws means workers can kiss goodbye to a guaranteed day off, says Labour’s Associate Labour Issues spokesperson Darien Fenton. More>>

ALSO:

ACT Don't Go For Maximum Penalty: Three Strikes For Burglary, Three Years Jail

Three strikes for burglary was introduced to England and Wales in 1999. As in New Zealand, burglary was out of control and given a low priority by the police and the courts. A Labour government passed a three strikes law whereby a third conviction for burglaries earned a mandatory three years in prison... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Drone Strikes And Judith Collins‘ Last Stand

The news that a New Zealand citizen was killed last November in a US drone attack in Yemen brings the drones controversy closer to home. More>>

ALSO:

Elections: New Electorate Boundaries Finalised

New boundaries for the country’s 64 General and seven Māori electorates have been finalised – with an additional electorate created in Auckland. More>>

ALSO:

Policies: Labour’s Economic Upgrade For Manufacturing

Labour Leader David Cunliffe has today announced his Economic Upgrade for the manufacturing sector – a plan that will create better jobs and higher wages. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Life And ACC Work Of Sir Owen Woodhouse

With the death of Sir Owen Woodhouse, the founding father of the Accident Compensation Scheme, New Zealand has lost one of the titans of its post-war social policy. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news