Brash on the rebuild

January 21st, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Olivia Carville at The Press reports:

The Government should turn a blind eye to illegal migrants working in ’s rebuild because the city needs all hands on deck, former high-profile politician says.

Brash, a past leader of both the National Party and ACT Party, believes officials should focus on rebuilding the city rather than hunting down unlawful workers.

“I want local and central government to show more urgency on the rebuild of Christchurch and if that means taking a lenient attitude toward people whose immigration status might not be up to scratch, in the peculiar situation which Christchurch faces, I would be all in favour of that,” he said.

I wouldn’t advocate employing people with no right to work in NZ, but what the Govt could do is allow those here illegally to gain a work visa if they are willing to work in Chch.

However, his controversial comments have been slammed by the city’s migrant agencies as “gutless”.

Patrick O’Connor, the co-director of Peeto, Christchurch’s Multicultural Learning Centre, labelled Brash’s suggestion as “anti-New Zealand”.

“It is totally hypocrisy coming from a man who was the head of ACT (which is an acronym for the Association of Consumers and Taxpayers). If he is so mindful of protecting the rights of taxpayers in New Zealand, how can he turn around and advocate for illegal migrants who evade tax?” O’Connor asked.

I don’t think Don is saying they should be employed under the table, rather than they be allowed to work legally despite not being entitled to be in NZ.

Brash posted: “I have to say that I couldn’t give a damn about so-called illegal workers helping to rebuild Christchurch . . . If I had somebody helping to rebuild my home after almost two years of waiting for anything to be done, I wouldn’t care what their immigration status was.”

Brash, who now lives in Auckland, grew up in Christchurch and told The Press he was frustrated to hear his retired sister, who has been living in a caravan since the February 2011 earthquake, would not have her house repaired before Christmas.

“My feeling is, if this were war, everybody would be saying: ‘Look, we want all hands to the pump and if anybody is willing to work hard to help that’s fantastic.’

If we do not have enough people to fill up the jobs available, then we should make it easier for people to work here.

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46 Responses to “Brash on the rebuild”

  1. nasska (9,489 comments) says:

    A better idea would be to force some of the workshy no hopers we pay to sit on their arses with their hands out to move to Christchurch & take up employment. Something along the line of “last dole payment next week but here’s a one way ferry/train ticket to Christchurch.

    It is absolutely ridiculous that we pay able bodied people to waste their lives demanding handouts while we debate the rights & wrongs of turning a blind eye to overstayers & illegals.

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  2. Reid (15,524 comments) says:

    And who would be the first to scream when the ChCh rebuild was over and we found ourselves with a whole lot of poorly educated labourers who had similarly poorly educated large families who were then entitled to bring them into the country and the whole lot of them become lifelong beneficiaries forever after living on the health, education and welfare systems their taxes had never and will never contribute to?

    That’s what people don’t seem to get about immigration. For every human you give residency to you’ve got a trail of humans behind them who get in through that person. And I know we’re not talking about residency in Brash’s suggestion, but what precisely ARE you going to do when the rebuild winds down, if you have thousands if not tens of thousands of illegal immigrants?

    If we do not have enough people to fill up the jobs available, then we should make it easier for people to work here.

    Which I assume is already happening and if it’s not working well enough we sure don’t have to change the rules in the way Brash suggests to get the job done.

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  3. hamnidaV2 (247 comments) says:

    I didn’t know Brash was from Christchurch.

    You learn something new everyday.

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  4. Weihana (4,475 comments) says:

    Brash is right. But the problem with Immigration New Zealand is that it is a bureaucracy and the rules in place do not necessarily reflect reality. Sure they have a Canterbury Skill shortage list, but it’s not a simple process. The requirements in the first instance include various NZ qualifications and licenses. Now if there were a bunch of people out there with NZ qualifications in those areas then there wouldn’t likely be a shortage. So many people might have overseas qualifications which need to be assessed and compared to NZ qualifications and then a bureaucrat has to make a judgment as to whether the qualifications are “comparable”.

    Of course there are also plenty of people who don’t have formal qualifications but simply learned how to do certain trades on the job. But that isn’t good enough because the requirements generally stipulate formal qualifications. Some stipulate qualifications AND experience and sometimes that work experience can be tough to prove. If they’re illegal in NZ then it might be hard to prove work experience in NZ (illegal work is not recognized) and proving work overseas is not always easy.

    Personally I’ve always thought the “protecting local workers” argument to be tenuous in many cases. It’s the classic finite pie economic view which ignores the fact that an additional worker contributes to the overall productivity of a nation, he isn’t taking away something from someone. That’s not to say that importing a large number of unskilled people from overseas wouldn’t affect the job market for locals, but this concept is treated as some sort of sacred cow by our immigration policy. In my view the government should dump the qualification/work experience requirements and focus more on random verification of the job itself. We shoot ourselves in the foot trying to ensure every individual case is 100 percent perfect.

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  5. Weihana (4,475 comments) says:

    Reid (12,819) Says:
    January 21st, 2013 at 9:28 am

    And who would be the first to scream when the ChCh rebuild was over and we found ourselves with a whole lot of poorly educated labourers…

    Why is a tradesperson “poorly educated”? And what’s the difference whether they have a piece of paper if they can get the job done?

    …who had similarly poorly educated large families who were then entitled to bring them into the country

    I’m not sure you understand the meaning of “temporary visa”. If they become entitled to residence it is only because they would have met the relevant criteria which would remain unchanged.

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  6. Weihana (4,475 comments) says:

    nasska,

    Something along the line of “last dole payment next week but here’s a one way ferry/train ticket to Christchurch.

    Except you’re living in fantasy land if you think it would be that simple. We’d have to create a plethora of new rules to ensure it was implemented fairly and then employ some more bureaucrats to manage these new rules. And of course people will always find ways around the rules put in place. And then what have we gained?

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  7. GPT1 (2,042 comments) says:

    I suspect the issues are around deciding what is to be rebuilt and how. EQC keep saying the drilling process is going well and that they are progressing this and that. The reality is there are thousands of houses out there that are barely or unliveable and nearly two years on there is not even concrete advice as to when the home owner will be told what is going to happen to the home let alone a rebuild timeline.

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  8. thedavincimode (6,105 comments) says:

    nasska

    In the last week or two, Key “declined to dismiss the possibility” of requiring unemployed to relocate to take up work. That would help Christchurch as well as the Kaweraus, Muraparas and Kawhias of this world.

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  9. BlairM (2,266 comments) says:

    Don’t you get the impression that Brash could have been advocating free puppies and kittens and ice cream for everyone, and this knobhead O’Connor would still have found something bad to say about it?

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  10. Auberon (816 comments) says:

    I don’t think there was a shred of evidence for the original story, which suggested scores of illegals were working on the rebuild, and that dopey story has simply been compounded by broadcasting the views of someone completely irrelevant.

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  11. mikenmild (8,770 comments) says:

    Are Brash’s opinions about rebuilding Christchurch and immigration as relevant as McVicar’s on gay marriage and crime? Shouldn’t they both just shut up and enjoy retirement?

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  12. thedavincimode (6,105 comments) says:

    milky

    I don’t see either of them as being suited to employment in the public service.

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  13. Scott Chris (5,675 comments) says:

    Yeah, Brash is right. Hell, if people want to work and can do a reasonable job without getting into trouble then throw out the welcome mat I say.

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  14. Weihana (4,475 comments) says:

    mikenmild,

    In my view someone is as relevant as their ideas are worthwhile. Given the last suggestion I heard from Brash was to revisit Cannabis prohibition, I’d say he is 2 for 2.

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  15. mikenmild (8,770 comments) says:

    DVM
    Not sure either of them would be up to it, quite frankly. Not team players, too old, and stuck with outdated ideologies.

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  16. hj (5,677 comments) says:

    Wonder what Brash thinks of the Savings Working Groups report (the one that noted that the policy choice of increased population appears to have worked directly against the adjustments the economy needed to make).
    The old immogrants don’t affect the labour market they only [insert rhetorical phrase] is trotted out as “classic” economics or as ” all the research suggests”… yeah, right. I would suggest no one should look too closely.

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  17. krazykiwi (9,188 comments) says:

    nasska –

    It is absolutely ridiculous that we pay able bodied people to waste their lives demanding handouts while we debate the rights & wrongs of turning a blind eye to overstayers & illegals.

    +1

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  18. nasska (9,489 comments) says:

    thedavincimode

    That is good news….let’s hope it’s a taste of things to come. There are few votes to be lost by forcing the workshy to do something.

    Weihana

    Management of those determined not to work would be tricky but it is one of those rare situations where making up rules & conditions on the hoof would be no bad thing. Also if you scrape up a thousand unemployed & railroad them into a work/starve situation you free up a few public servants for new roles.

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  19. hj (5,677 comments) says:

    One worker plus wife plus inlaws = 6 .
    NZ is seen as a backdoor toAustralia, if it wasn’t for that Aust could have functioned as a safety valve for the NZ economy.

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  20. mikenmild (8,770 comments) says:

    “if you scrape up a thousand unemployed & railroad them into a work/starve situation”
    Sounds a bit like resettlement ‘in the East’.

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  21. Manolo (12,618 comments) says:

    Comrade mike, NZ should leave the task of reconstructing Christchurch to the spinster Clark and her wonderful UNDP. It would be her crowning achievement.

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  22. MT_Tinman (2,790 comments) says:

    A couple of people who know about these things told me that the illegal-immigrant-worker-in-Christchurch problem solved itself months ago along with the cowboy-builder-from-Jafaville problem.

    Mr Brash once again is out of date and irrelevant.

    No wonder the good looking and intelligent are looking for another right wing liberal party to support.

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  23. Scott (1,614 comments) says:

    I too am worried about immigrants coming in to rebuild Christchurch when our unemployment level is higher than its been since 1999. What about people that are unemployed relocating to the garden city to get work? Our youth unemployment is over 25%. How about some temporary accommodation for young people and transport assistance with the proviso that they start work and get off the dole? What about temporary youth rates so employers and builders in Christchurch could afford to hire young unskilled workers and get them into the workforce?
    Like why is this government so popular? They don’t do anything to solve our nation’s problems, like huge unemployment and hiring overseas workers with over a quarter of young New Zealanders not working! I know John Key is a likeable fellow but seriously people!

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  24. backster (2,000 comments) says:

    During the second world war the Government had a scheme whereby they could ‘manpower’ anyone not in the Armed Forces anywhere to fill an essential job. I see no reason why the scheme could not be applied to long term un-employed.
    http://www.nzhistory.net.nz/media/sound/manpower-are-me

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  25. Paulus (2,293 comments) says:

    Having worked in the Avocado Industry both as Grower and in a Packhouse (including Kiwifruit) I have seen those sent to do a shift in the packhouse.
    They work one or two sort of shifts then make a stuff up which impinges upon the rest of the workforce as a dangerous practice so they can get the boot and back on the dole.
    Often they are stoned anyway, which makes working around machinery very dangerous.
    To “force” jobs in Christchurch will not change attitudes – stop the dole first.
    Ask them to drug test then they will not turn up.

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  26. Scott (1,614 comments) says:

    Definitely understand where you are coming from. But there are plenty of people, including young people who want to work but can’t find any. At the minimum wage of $13 per hour they are too expensive when you can pay the same money for an experienced worker. But I say give the youth a chance. They need the work and Christchurch needs the workers. If they do what you have seen, deliberately do a poor job they should be dismissed. And not be eligible to go back on the dole. People must work if they can do so. They cannot expect others to allow them to be idle.

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  27. wreck1080 (3,522 comments) says:

    The govt has instituted wage controls for the chc rebuild which are already causing problems. Price controls are shown to usually fail which is why we are even arguing about this issue.

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  28. Moist_Crackhead (2 comments) says:

    Looks like Dr Brash has been on the hash again..what a stupid idea.

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  29. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    It is hardly surprising to hear of Brash endorsing dishonesty..Whose back door is he slipping around these days?

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  30. Jack5 (4,216 comments) says:

    I’ve defended Don Brash in Kiwiblog and elsewhere for years, but either I’ve been wrong or Brash’s brain has only recently begun to deteriorate.

    Brash wants hands off for illegal foreign workers in the quake recovery. As pointed out in the Christchurch Press today, these illegals don’t pay tax. They also freeload on overloaded State hospital care, State schooling, and the scores of other welfare benefits in NZ.

    Brash is a director of Oceania Dairy Group and its owners Oceania Dairy. These are selling the unfinished Canterbury milk processing plant to Chinese, interestingly based in Inner Mongolia, a region colonised by China in the last three-quarters of a century and racially re-engineered for Han Chinese, so the ethnic Mongolians are now a tiny minority. A bit like Tibet.

    Perhaps Brash hopes to return as a National MP.

    Adding to the tax-dodging illegal workers Brash defends, it’s notable that Prime Minister Key is accompanied on his visit to the Antarctic by the head of Ngai Tahu, whose businesses don’t pay tax either.
    Then there are the tax breaks given to the film industry. You can conclude the Government is as feckless as Labour in shooting the tax base to hell.

    Never mind, NZ will just borrow more.

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  31. pq (728 comments) says:

    Even though the ACT party is dead, the truth is not dead,
    those of us who live here in Christchurch fight for ourselves everyday,
    long ago the EQC became some dribbling phone answer service,
    this is what happens, we pick up our tools every day, we ignore them.
    we keep on working,
    we irgnore the politic, and we harden,
    it is every man for himself

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  32. pq (728 comments) says:

    only answer here if you live in Christchurch,
    do not pontificate from Auckalnd ,

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  33. wat dabney (3,435 comments) says:

    Once again Brash says something admirable and morally defensible and is denounced by the fearful little bigots.

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  34. big bruv (12,327 comments) says:

    pq

    The rest of us have a right to answer, we also have a right to tell you what to do.

    Remember pq, we are the ones paying for your rebuild.

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  35. wiseowl (571 comments) says:

    Time Brash went to the retirement beach and stayed there.
    I say do away with the minimum wage for a start.

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  36. Jack5 (4,216 comments) says:

    PQ posted at 5.25:

    …the truth is not dead…

    PQ’s right – just right. Truth’s on Whale Oil’s respirator.

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  37. Nostalgia-NZ (4,685 comments) says:

    Excellent suggestion by Don Brash. Only idiots stand back and discuss who should do a job in an emergency, just get in and do it with what ever manpower is at hand. Brash is touching upon the reality of the Ch Ch rebuild, it has long since become an ‘old boys’ network, a very expensive network and administration. When it comes to making sense Brash is NZ’s Ron Paul, no wonder JK panicked and set the Banks dog against him.

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  38. adam2314 (377 comments) says:

    @ backster 11:34

    You are right !!..CH-CH is an emergency.. and the Country is in a Finacial Emergency..

    What better for the Young of this country who are long term un-employed to be ” Seconded “.. to help with the situation..

    Barrack style living quarters.. Uniform that they can wear with pride.. ( one for Working and One for Liberty time )..

    Not to strict.. But with standards ..

    Not to much pay..

    They will look back on the time with pride..

    What more can you give a young man.. ??

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  39. Jack5 (4,216 comments) says:

    If the Christchurch rebuild should be thrown open to the world’s illegals, then al-Qaeda should be invited to do the preliminary demolition work.

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  40. Jack5 (4,216 comments) says:

    And if the world’s illegals and al-Qaeda were authorised to recreate Christchurch, then NZ’s psychiatric health should be run by Scientologists, brain surgery should be perfomed by Papua New Guineans who have developed a taste for the subject in the highlands bush, Russian mafias should be allowed to bid for contracts to police NZ and run its prisons, the Taleban should supervise equal opportunity for NZ women, and Japanese and Norwegians should protect NZ dolphins and whales.

    By the way, perhaps it would be best if al-Qaeda were required to bring its own planes.

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  41. Nostalgia-NZ (4,685 comments) says:

    Jack5

    Speaking of ‘llegals’ it’s not illegal to a have brain Jacko, or to have an optimum work force.

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  42. Mark Craig (17 comments) says:

    I wonder if it would be too much trouble to ask the Ministers of Social Welfare and Immigration to get their departments A into G and get this sorted ,illegal immigrants deported and fit healthy unemployed manpowered to Ch Ch .Since the Key lead shower have been in power 200 000 have fled long term to Australia ,this in spite of the Brighter Future promised.They are truly hopeless,if the boot was on the other foot Muldoon would have shredded the Labour party for their complete uselessness.Fewer photo ops ,less sports tour/holidays with family,no gangnam,no maggot eating ,nose down and bottom up and start acting like you give a damn.

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  43. Jack5 (4,216 comments) says:

    Nostalgia-NZ posted at 10.08:

    ..Speaking of ‘llegals’ it’s not illegal to a have … an optimum work force…

    I’m sure that was the official view in Confederate States of America, Nostalgia-NZ. Did them bugger-all good.

    The way NZ is kowtowing to the Beijing Reds, it wouldn’t be surprising if a flow of illegals into Christchurch has been started by the Snakeheads of Fujian. Wouldn’t surprise me if our naive NZ leaders soon were to nominate for business awards as “friends of NZ” Cheng Chui Ping and Guo Liang Chi, a.k.a. Ah Kay. Cheng Chui Ping is known in the Western police and underworlds more often as Sister Ping.

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  44. Jack5 (4,216 comments) says:

    Whoops, I didn’t realise that Sister Ping was in prison. Several other Snakehead gangs continue the traffic.

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  45. V (660 comments) says:

    I don’t see anything wrong with bringing in people on temp. work visas. But first the govt should forceably get some of these bennies out on the job site, even if all they do are limited jobs.

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  46. Jack5 (4,216 comments) says:

    Re V (12.50 post):

    Agree that it’s time to get the NZ bludgers working.

    But temporary work visas need watching. They began as exchange scheme for young backpacker types. Now its labour. Next it will be snakehead-trafficked people.

    All, IMHO, to cover up political numbskull decisions such as the balls up in torpedoing apprenticeships a decade or two ago, welfare instead of workfare, interest-free student loans and the “academicisation” of so much of our training (compare it with Germany).

    If we need any overseas expertise, it’s central bankers from Switzerland.

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