This is why we should promote citizenship

November 9th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Radio NZ reports:

Lilian Turner, 95, who faced deportation to Britain, where she had not lived since after the end of World War II, has been granted residence.

The widow’s case comes as the Law Society and immigration lawyers say they are seeing an increasingly tough stance on deportations by Immigration New Zealand.

But the agency said while it was focused on immigrants with criminal convictions, and those who posed a threat to national security, it had no intention of deporting Mrs Turner.

The appeals tribunal decision brings to an end a 13-year battle for Mrs Turner to regain the residence status she had nearly 40 years ago.

Mrs Turner and her husband moved to New Zealand in the 1970s, but their permanent resident status lapsed when they moved back to Africa.

Of course it is right she keeps her residency status, but for me this highlights why we should be promoting citizenship more, and restricting certain rights such as voting to citizens. If Mrs Turner had become a citizen during her 30 years living here, then she’d never have to worry about residency. But many do not become citizens because there are so few benefits in doing so.

Should residents or citizens vote?

October 27th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Kate McMillan writes at NZ Herald:

New Zealand is uniquely liberal in giving the right to vote in national elections to permanent residents after one year’s residence.

But we shouldn’t be too surprised or worried if not all eligible migrants exercise this right immediately. What we should be worried about is if they, and their children, do not ever develop the voting habit.

With the overseas-born making up more than 25 per cent of New Zealand’s population, low levels of electoral participation among immigrants and their descendants will not be good for our electoral democracy.

I wonder if low levels of participation occur because migrants gain the right to vote with no effort on their part. As Kate says, most countries require you to have lived far longer in a country or be a citizen.

Eligibility in different countries is:

  • Australia: citizens
  • Canada: citizens
  • UK: citizen of UK or citizen of Commonwealth country and resident
  • US: citizens
  • Germany: citizens
  • France: citizens

The reason I back an eligibility change to citizens is two-fold:

  1. It would give residents an incentive to become citizens, and I think encouraging citizenship is important. We are one of very few countries that have few legal distinctions between a resident and a citizen. We should have more to encourage people living here to become NZ citizens
  2. If you are forced to enrol once you have been living here for a year, you are less likely to actually vote as you are not fully engaged in NZ. You may not have decided yet whether you plan to remain here. And hence you start off with a pattern of non voting. If however you only get the vote once you commit to New Zealand, then I think you are far more likely to use it, and keep using it.


The Australian Citizenship Test

August 29th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Australia has a 20 question citizenship test, which you have to pass (at least 75% needed) to gain citizenship. I think NZ should do the same. It is a good way of ensuring new citizens understand the country they are joining. has published a practice test, which is copied below:


1. What do we remember on Anzac Day?

a. The landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps at Gallipoli, Turkey

b. The arrival of the first free settlers from Great Britain

c. The landing of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove

2. What are the colours of the Australian Aboriginal flag?

a. Black, red and yellow

b. Green, white and black

c. Blue, white and green

3. Which official symbol of Australia identifies Commonwealth property?

a. The national anthem

b. Australia’s national flower

c. Commonwealth Coat of Arms


4. Which of these statements about Australia’s system of government is correct?

a. The Queen of Australia chooses people to form the Australian Parliament

b. The government is elected by the people

c. The Prime Minister chooses our Members of Parliament

5. Which of these is an example of freedom of speech?

a. People can peacefully protest against government decisions

b. Men and women are treated equally in a court of law

c. Australians are free to not follow a religion

6. Which of these statements about government in Australia is correct?

a. The government does not allow some religions

b. Government in Australia is secular

c. Religious laws are passed by parliament

7. Which of these is an example of equality in Australia?

a. Everyone follows the same religion

b. Men and women have the same rights

c. Everyone belongs to the same political party

8. Which of these is a responsibility of Australian citizens aged 18 years or over?

a. To attend local council meetings

b. To vote in elections

c. To have a current Australian passport

9. Which of these is a responsibility of Australian citizens aged 18 years or over?

a. To do local community service

b. To carry a passport at all times

c. To serve on a jury if called to do so

10. Which of these statements about passports is correct?

a. Australian citizens can apply for an Australian passport

b. Permanent residents can hold an Australian passport

c. Australian citizens need a passport and visa to return to Australia


11. Which of these statements about voting in Australian elections is correct?

a. People are free and safe to vote for any candidate

b. Voting is by a show of hands

c. People must write their name on their vote

12. What happened in Australia on 1 January 1901?

a. The Australian Constitution was changed by a referendum

b. The Australian Constitution came into effect

c. The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps was formed

13. What is the name of the legal document that sets out the rules for the government of Australia?

a. The Australian Federation

b. The Australian Commonwealth

c. The Australian Constitution

14. What is a referendum?

a. A vote to change the government

b. A vote to change the Australian Constitution

c. A vote to change the Prime Minister

15. Which arm of government has the power to interpret and apply laws?

a. Legislative

b. Executive

c. Judicial

16. Which of these is a role of the Governor-General?

a. The appointment of state premiers

b. The signing of Bills passed by the Australian Parliament

c. The appointment of the Head of State

17. Which of these statements about state governments is correct?

a. All states have the same constitution

b. Each state has its own constitution

c. The states have no constitution

18. What is the name given to the party or coalition of parties with the second largest number of members in the House of Representatives?

a. The Government

b. The Opposition

c. The Senate

19. What is the name of a proposal to make a law in parliament?

a. Royal Assent

b. Bill

c. Debate

20. Who maintains peace and order in Australia?

a. Public servants

b. Police

c. Lawyers

I got 19 out of 20 correct. Did not know the colours of the Aboriginal flag.

Many of the questions could be used in NZ also.

The answers are over the break.


Another Liu citizenship issue

March 13th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A wealthy Auckland businessman was given New Zealand citizenship against official advice after a Government minister lobbied the colleague who made the decision.

The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) recommended that the citizenship application of Donghua Liu be declined on the grounds that he did not spend enough time in New Zealand or meet English language criteria.

However, one of Mr Liu’s business partners approached Mr Williamson and John Banks — the Mayor of Auckland at the time — and they wrote to the Minister of Internal Affairs, Nathan Guy, asking him to grant citizenship against the official advice.

“Invested in NZ and a lot of support”, was a file note for the case released under the Official Information Act.

Mr Guy, who is no longer the Minister of Internal Affairs, told the Herald that he made the final decision on more than 800 citizenship cases and regularly received correspondence from family and supporters of applicants.

He considered all of the evidence and said of Mr Liu’s application: “I considered at the time that, on balance, the potential benefits to New Zealand warranted the granting of citizenship.”

The official recommendation of whether citizenship should be granted was ignored in 61 of the 1011 cases between 2009 and 2011.

That’s useful to know, so around 6% go against advice.

But the 2010 case was one of several that caused concerns among DIA staff, who raised the possibility of favouritism with the Office of the Auditor-General during an inquiry into a citizenship decision made by Labour MP Shane Jones.

Mr Jones was criticised in the report last year but cleared of any corruption over his decision to grant citizenship to a wealthy businessman who had strong links to Labour. …

Electoral donation records show that Roncon Pacific Hotel Management Holdings Ltd — of which Mr Liu and Mr Goodwin are directors — made a $22,000 donation to the National Party in 2012.

Personally I don’t like a donation occurring from someone who got a favourable Government decision.  The donation was two years after the decision, and I’m not suggesting they were linked. But personally I’d discourage such a donation. However it is quite possible that until this story, National HQ were unaware that the company had a director who had received a favourable Ministerial decision on citizenship.

Mr Mottram confirmed he approached Mr Williamson and Mr Banks to support Mr Liu’s citizenship bid as he was making a very significant contribution as a businessman in Auckland, particularly in the construction industry.

“John’s support was just a matter of course because the activity was in Auckland City, he was the mayor and he was supportive of things that were good for Auckland,” said Mr Mottram.

“Obviously, if you’re the Minister of Building and Construction, you would want to promote building and construction, which we have been involved with for a long time.”

Mr Mottram said the requirements for New Zealand citizenship, which include the amount of time spent in the country and language requirements, were out of date.

“A lot of active, global businessmen are never in one place for any length of time … People who have global businesses are global citizens.”

The decision for citizenship seems justified. Unlike the other Liu case, this one is not wanted by Interpol, wanted in Australia and China, and using fake names. He seems to be entirely reputable. However a donation two years later from him isn’t a great look. However let’s look at what is and is not the same between this and the other Liu case.

The same

  • A Chinese national called Liu
  • A citizenship decision that was granted by the Minister against the Department’s recommendation
  • Lobbying by other MPs in favour
  • A donation to the party in Government

Not the same

  • This Liu was not a wanted alleged criminal, who had broken the law in China and Australia and had been a permanent resident since 2005
  • This Liu did not have multiple identities
  • The MPs advocating on his behalf appear to have done so purely on the basis of his business contributions, not through any personal relationships or friendships such as Samuels had with the other Liu
  • The Minister making the decision wasn’t lobbied time and time again by an MP – the only interventions it seems, were letters in support (which are common)
  • Departmental staffers are not contradicting what the Minister said
  • The donation was two years later, not before the decision was made
  • This Liu was not granted his citizenship in a special ceremony in the Labour Party caucus room!

So as a certain Minister says the optics are not good, and I’m personally uncomfortable with donations being made by entities or people who have had a favourable Government decision, but this is not the Bill Liu case.

A solution for Miss Universe New Zealand

June 17th, 2012 at 8:25 am by David Farrar

The HoS reports:

Beauty pageant winner-in-limbo Avianca Bohm was spotted out shopping yesterday, apparently with time on her hands as a dispute over her eligibility is sorted out.

The newly crowned Miss Universe New Zealand may be stripped of her tiara because she was born in South African and is not yet a New Zealander. She has yet to fulfil any assignments as the crown holder. Yesterday, she told the Herald on Sunday she could not comment. However, a friend said the 22-year-old was looking forward to the situation being resolved and she was remaining positive.

The waitress has called in lawyers after being told to give up her tiara by organisers. The Herald reported pageant director Val Lott delivered a letter to Bohm, advising her that she was ineligible to represent New Zealand.

Miss Bohm should file a dispute with the WTO, claiming barring her is a trade barrier against South Africa.

It is understood Bohm’s citizenship is unlikely to come through in time for Donald Trump’s Miss Universe pageant.

Why not? If Bill Liu can get his, why not Avianca Bohm? A quick citizenship decision by the Government could be a popular move!

Didn’t donate enough

June 6th, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reported:

Australian-born Miss Otago Monique Cooley assumed she qualified for Miss New Zealand automatically after living here for 12 years.

The Queenstown 22-year-old has been dragged into a beauty contest citizenship row after it was revealed newly crowned Miss Universe New Zealand Avianca Bohm may be stripped of her tiara because she is a South African.

Organisers today revealed Miss Cooley, the third runner up, was also ineligible for the crown because she is an Australian.

Australian-born Miss Otago Monique Cooley assumed she qualified for Miss New Zealand automatically after living here for 12 years.

The Queenstown 22-year-old has been dragged into a beauty contest citizenship row after it was revealed newly crowned Miss Universe New Zealand Avianca Bohm may be stripped of her tiara because she is a South African.

Organisers today revealed Miss Cooley, the third runner up, was also ineligible for the crown because she is an Australian.

No, no, no. Citizenship s only automatically granted if you donate to Labour.

Liu arrested

July 4th, 2009 at 11:13 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Police have charged a multi-millionaire businessman, who was granted New Zealand citizenship in controversial circumstances, with making false declarations on immigration papers and using fake identities to obtain a passport.

Yong Ming Yan – also known as Bill Liu, Yang Liu and William Yan – was supported in his citizenship bid last year by Labour MPs Dover Samuels and Chris Carter, and National MP Pansy Wong.

To be fair to Chris Carter and Pansy, they had no idea he was dodgy. Dover did know of the allegations but chose not to believe them. But most of all Shane Jones had all the details from his departments about Liu, including a very firm recommendation that he not be given citizenship. In fact even then they were talking about prosecuting him.

He appeared in Manukau District Court, and is facing 12 charges in relation to false declarations on his immigration papers, having false passports and using deception to gain citizenship.

Yan entered no plea to eight charges under the Crimes Act, two under the Passport Act and one under each under the Immigration Act and Citizenship Act.

And authorities have obviously decided there are sufficient ground to prosecute.

He was granted citizenship in a VIP ceremony in Wellington last year after lobbying from former Labour MP Dover Samuels, who regards him as a close friend.

Rick Barker, the then Internal Affairs Minister charged with approving citizenship applications, was also on the list of politicians who knew Yan. Because of this, he passed the file to another minister, Shane Jones.

Mr Jones overruled Internal Affairs advice that Liu – now Yan – did not meet character requirements and granted him citizenship.

Mr Jones, now the Opposition spokesman for economic development and the environment, last night declined to comment.

Sooner or later Jones need to explain why he over-rode the advice from officials. Citizenship is not a right for people not born here, and those who get it should be of sound character. DIA did not think he was. Was Jones influenced by Liu’s donations to political parties and candidates? Was he convinced by his mate’s lobbying? Whatever it was, we need to know. If Liu is convicted, there should be a formal external inquiry into why he was granted citizenship.

More on Yang Liu

October 19th, 2008 at 10:25 am by David Farrar

The HoS has more details on Yang Liu:

  • donated $5,000 to Cabinet minister Chris Carter’s Te Atatu electorate
  • donated $5,000 to National
  • Had letters of support from Dover Samuels and Pansy Wong. Wong says she never knew of the issues around his past, while Samuels does (but not sure when) and says they are politically motivated from China
  • His citizenship application took three years to approve as officials were against it, but SHane Jones granted it, over-riding his officials
  • Liu was wanted in China for alleged embezzlement
  • Charged in Australia with operating bank accounts under a false name and in November 2006, the Supreme Court of New South Wales ordered Liu to forfeit more than $3.3 million

Liu’s restaurant has hosted fundraisers for Asian candidates from Labour, National and ACT. It seems clear that he built up connections across the political spectrum. The two key issues are:

  1. Did any MP write a letter of support knowing about the false passports, the court orders in Australia?
  2. Why did Shane Jones grant him citizenship?

New Labour billboard

October 18th, 2008 at 12:07 pm by David Farrar

Labour’s official billboard.

Labour’s new billboard done by Whale and myself to reflect the citizenship scandal 🙂

Is there anything not for sale by Labour? Taito Field was allegedly selling off immigration permits in exchange for free work on houses, and now we have allegedly privileged treatment given to an applicant for citizenship who was a Labour party donor.

Citizenship Scandal?

October 17th, 2008 at 5:41 pm by David Farrar

Just listened to Ian Wishart on Newstalk ZB with Larry Williams. The story seems to be:

  1. A Chinese gentleman has had problems with Australian immigration as he travels under different names, different passports with different dates of births.
  2. This was known to NZ authorities
  3. He applied to be a NZ Citizen
  4. DIA recommended he be turned down due to the multiple aliases
  5. The Minister approved it, despite the dodgy aliases and the recommendation
  6. The gentleman’s application was supported by a Labour MP and is known to a couple of Ministers
  7. He attended a fundraising function for Labour and probably donated to them, but impossible to know for sure as they do not record who donated what – people just throw cash into a hat or something.

This is all off listening to Ian on the radio.