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

 

Cause For Concern As New Bill Gives Unbridled Power To Minister Of Immigration

The Minister of Immigration introduced a Bill into Parliament yesterday that proposes to radically change the Immigration New Zealand approach to management of both resident and temporary visas in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The potential consequences of this new Bill give unprecedented and far reaching powers to the Minister and will become law on Friday 15 May. This presents significant concern to migrants and their employers, in the opinion of immigration experts.

Lane Neave Immigration partner, Mark Williams says the need for this Bill is in part no surprise, given that 1,000 employees of Immigration New Zealand are still not able to work at home under Alert Level 3. But the haste with which it has been drafted, the swift track through Parliament and the broad discretionary powers bestowed on the Minister should be a cause for concern.

“What we have here is a radical Bill with significant discretionary powers extended to the Minister of Immigration, and those powers appear fairy unrestricted in the current Bill. This is very concerning given that as at 27 April 2020 there are approximately 350,000 temporary visa holders onshore who may be subject to the exercise of discretionary decision making on their visas,” said Williams.

Adding to the concern are the 80,000 temporary work visa holders whose visas were automatically extended under the Epidemic Management Notice, which will expire on 25 September 2020.

“The Bill appears to be in part an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. Based on INZ’s current inability to function at a reasonable level he has identified that a radical solution appears to be required in part to rescue the operational situation and prevent a disaster in late September rather than simply responding to the COVID-19 situation,” adds Williams.

While it has been expressed that the Bill has been introduced in good faith and some of the examples raised for use by Immigration New Zealand are necessary and positive for migrants, discretionary powers are discretionary. There is little to prevent the Minister utilising the powers outside the direct response to COVID-19, particularly in the absence of appeal rights for the exercise of these powers.

It appears some of the powers, for example suspending some Expression of Interest draws, have nothing to do with the COVID-19 environment. Mr Williams advises that “They appear to be required because Immigration New Zealand is not able to function at present to deal with some of those applications that are not even relevant to COVID-19 or an altered labour market. What is required here is to simply get more Immigration New Zealand employees back to work.”

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Why Todd Muller Needs To Own The Privacy Leak Scandal


Whenever a political scandal breaks, party leaders have two basic options. They can confess to being in boots and all, and try to brazen it out : nothing to see here, move on. This tended to be the John Key approach. Very hard to pull that off in this case, given that it involved violating the privacy of sick New Zealanders for party political gain.
The other option is to claim innocence of this terrible, no good, highly regrettable “error of judgement” and apologise profusely for the sins of others, while absolving your own good self of any responsibility. This has been Todd Muller’s chosen path.... More>>
 

National Departures: Press Statement From Michelle Boag

Today I am announcing that I have resigned my membership of the NZ National Party. The last few days have underscored for me the unhealthy relationship I have developed with politics. For 47 years, I have devoted much of my professional and personal ... More>>

ALSO:

Govt: Statement From Rt Hon Winston Peters

Deputy Prime Minister and New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters has announced he is taking a short stint of medical leave this week. More>>


Isolation: Government And Air NZ Agree To Manage Incoming Bookings

Bookings for seats on Air New Zealand flights into New Zealand will be managed in the short term to ensure the Government is able to safely place New Zealanders arriving home into a managed isolation or quarantine facility, says Housing Minister Megan ... More>>

ALSO:

Government: New Investment Creates Over 2000 Jobs To Clean Up Waterways

A package of 23 projects across the country will clean up waterways and deliver over 2000 jobs Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Environment Minister David Parker announced today. The $162 million dollar package will see 22 water clean-up projects ... More>>

ALSO:

Government: David Clark Resigns As Health Minister

The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has accepted David Clark’s resignation as Health Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Election 2020: Green Party Unveils Income Policy

The Green Party is today unveiling its Poverty Action Plan, which includes a Guaranteed Minimum Income to ensure people have enough to live with dignity. The scheme resets income support payments to ensure everyone not in full-time paid work gets at least ... More>>

ALSO:


Conservation: New Protection For Dolphins

Extensive new protections are being put in place as part of an updated plan to look after New Zealand’s native Hector’s and Māui dolphins, announced Minister of Fisheries Stuart Nash and Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage today. More>>

ALSO:

Auckland: Water Consent Referred To Board Of Inquiry

Environment Minister David Parker has today “called in” Auckland’s application to the Waikato Regional Council to take an extra 200 million litres of water a day from the lower reaches of the Waikato River for Auckland drinking water and other municipal uses... More>>

ALSO:


Foreign Affairs: New Zealand To Review Relationship Settings With Hong Kong

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced that the New Zealand Government is reviewing the settings of its relationship with Hong Kong. “China’s decision to pass a new national security law for Hong Kong has fundamentally changed the environment ... More>>

ALSO:


Covid-19 Patient Info Leak: Hamish Walker - A Personal Statement And An Apology

I have spoken to National Party Leader Todd Muller and informed him that I passed to members of the media, by email, information containing Covid-19 patient details that was given to me by a source. I did this to expose the Government’s shortcomings ... More>>

ALSO:

PM: Labour Will Extend Loan Scheme 'lifeline' For Small Business

Labour has announced its plans to extend the Small Business Loan Cashflow Scheme and spend $162 million on a waterway clean-up package. More>>

ALSO:

Economy: Infrastructure Investment To Create Jobs, Kick-Start COVID Rebuild

A new package of infrastructure investments will help kick-start the post-COVID rebuild by creating more than 20,000 jobs and unlocking more than $5 billion of projects up and down New Zealand. Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Infrastructure Minister ... More>>

ALSO:

Covid-19: Isolation System To Be Beefed Up After Stress

A range of improvements are already underway to address issues identified in the rapid review of the Managed Isolation and Quarantine system released today, Housing Minister Megan Woods said. The review was commissioned just over a week ago to identify ... More>>

ALSO:

Election 2020: Parties Get Into Gear

ACT has today announced its list for the 2020 General Election. “The calibre and experience of our candidates will impress voters of every persuasion. We have candidates from all walks of life. People who have built their homes, families and businesses ... More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 


 

InfoPages News Channels