Olivia Carville at The Press reports:
The Government should turn a blind eye to illegal migrants working in Christchurch’s rebuild because the city needs all hands on deck, former high-profile politician Don Brash 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.Tags: Christchurch, Don Brash