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Racial Equity Aotearoa calls on Labour and Greens

Racial Equity Aotearoa calls on Labour and Greens to stop scapegoating migrants

Racial Equity Aotearoa condemns the xenophobic stance of Labour and the Greens, and their call to significantly cut the flow of immigration. Both parties have joined the rhetoric of National and New Zealand First, in narrating migrants as the scapegoats for the housing crisis.

In June, Andrew Little wanted a review of the levels of immigration and demanded the National-led government take a tougher stance on migrant workers. Little, like Winston Peters, has continuously used this tactic to try and appeal to both the working class and middle New Zealand by framing migrant workers as a threat to ‘Kiwi’ job security as well as straining housing infrastructure and social services.

James Shaw, co-leader of the Greens, tried to distance his party from Labour’s anti-immigrant position four months ago by saying that it was scare-mongering and damaging to the ‘fabric of New Zealand society’. Fast forward to October and Shaw has pledged the Green’s allegiance to the xenophobic scapegoating of immigrants. In fact, Shaw has come out swinging against the government’s plan to reduce residency approvals by 5000, saying it doesn’t go far enough. The Greens co-leader has demanded a more rigorous approach and calls for a more ‘sustainable immigration policy’.

Like most statements propagated by politicians, Shaw’s remarks lack any critical analysis of geopolitics and power structures.

Firstly, REA denounces the constant commodification and dehumanisation of people who are migrating/who have migrated to Aotearoa New Zealand, especially communities of colour. The increase in migration levels has more to do with the instability and displacement caused by Imperialism, Colonialism, and Capitalism, which has forced people to migrate for work and survival.

Secondly, REA criticises the constant attack on the migrant working class and/or migrant students. The immigration policies from Labour and the Greens favour the movement of middle and upper-middle class migrants, which perpetuates the discrimination against the global working class.

Thirdly, REA locates the housing crisis within the historical context of Colonisation. This is Indigenous land that was invaded, confiscated, and pillaged by mainly British colonists. The Colonial-State have displaced Tāngata Whenua for the past two centuries. Just as the xenophobic stance has pitted the ‘Kiwi’ working class against migrant workers, it has also tried to pit Tāngata Whenua against recent migrants.

REA unreservedly states that recent immigration to Aotearoa, especially from non-European communities, is not the same as Colonisation and should not be equated.

Labour and the Greens, and their policies on immigration, fall short of creating a counter-narrative that builds racial equity and social justice in Aotearoa.

REA calls:

For all political parties to review their immigration policy, in collaboration with Tāngata Whenua, with Te Tiriti o Waitangi and Tikanga at the centre;

For all political parties to actually put migration, and population levels, in proper historical context when making statements;

For all political parties to stop dehumanising migrant communities with racist and xenophobic rhetoric; and

For all political parties to engage in dialogue with Tāngata Whenua about transforming the constitution, to honour Te Tiriti and Tikanga, over the next two elections.


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