Auckland gets more religious

February 4th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stats NZ reports:

Auckland had the largest percentage of religious people in New Zealand at the 2013 Census, results from Statistics New Zealand show. The region also had more religious people than at the last census, in 2006.

Across New Zealand, the number of people who affiliated with a religion in 2013 fell 5.5 percent since the 2006 Census. Regional data released today shows that this trend was reflected in every region except Auckland, which had a 1.2 percent increase in the number of religious residents.

“Auckland was the only region with more religious people in 2013 than in 2006,” Government Statistician Liz MacPherson said. “It also had the highest proportion of people with a religion, at 59.6 percent, though this fell from 63.5 percent in 2006. Nationally, 55.0 percent of the population had a religious affiliation in 2013.”

I wonder why this is. A few theories.

  1. Most new immigrants come to Auckland, and new immigrants are more likely to be religious than those already here
  2. Auckland is home to more evangelical churches and they are being successful in converting people, especially in South Auckland
  3. Religious types are moving from other areas to Auckland

I think No 1 is most likely.

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If truly in love, she could move to India?

July 5th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A couple’s age gap of nearly 40 years is being cited as one of the reasons Immigration New Zealand declined an Indian man’s visa application – a move he says is “ageist”.

Balwinder Singh, 22, met New Zealander Glyn Kessell, 59, at a hair salon in Glenfield last year.

The relationship started with texts, progressed to “intimacy” within three weeks and then marriage two months later.

And just by coincidence he wants residency?

I think Immigration should be suspicious of any marriage that occurs within three months of meeting. And it is not ageist to consider a difference in ages. It is common sense.

Immigration NZ area manager Michael Carley denied the decision was ageist or racist. It was made “after an extremely detailed and thorough assessment, which included visiting Mr Singh and his wife at their home and interviewing them both”.

“The couple got married after an uncommonly short three-month courtship. It was noted during a visit to the couple’s home that their living arrangement appeared to be akin to a boarding situation.”

Not surprised.

He said Mr Singh could take the matter to the Immigration and Protection Tribunal should his appeal to Immigration NZ fail.

He might be deported if the tribunal decided against him.

But if this is true love, I am sure Ms Kessell will be happy to move to India so they can be together.

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What Winston didn’t tell you about those sinful Chinese

May 27th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Winston’s recent attack on Chinese immigrants was appalling. He takes a few cherry picked examples and portrays an entire race as being bad for New Zealand. Vernon Small summarises:

Despite his disclaimers that his party was not anti-immigration, you could not read the speech and miss the message: Chinese immigrants (or at least a demonised subset of them) drive up house prices, stretch infrastructure to breaking point, break the law, access health and superannuation they have not paid for, and import corruption and depravity.

We actually have an immigration policy that is blind to people’s race and ethnicity – which is how it should be. With the exception of a small quota for the Pacific, immigrants are not judged on their race or ethnicity. That is as it should be. It is appalling to judge someone not as an individual, but based on their race. That is why immigration decisions are based on skills, work offers, education, assets, family status etc. There will always be changes we can make to our immigration settings but I absolutely reject Winston’s approach of pilloring Chinese immigrants.

In his speech he had a few “horror” stories about some Chinese businessmen building a brothel, and Chinese tourists who like to gamble etc.

What Winston will never tell you is that overall Chinese New Zealanders commit far far fewer crimes than other New Zealanders, and contribute highly to the economy.

People may be surprised by how significant the difference is in crime rates, by ethnicity. These graphs are based on Stats NZ data from the Police. It is the number of apprehensions for each ethnicity, per 10,000 population.

Let’s look at the overall offending rate.

crime1

Yes the Asian crime rate is 52 apprehensions per 10,000 population. Caucasians are five times higher at 254, Pacific 10 times higher at 545 and Maori sadly at around 25 times the rate at 1,240.

Maybe Winston will just claim that the problem is the Asian criminals are much smarter than the other criminals, so don’t get caught as much!

crime2

The overall crime rate is not a very useful figure, so I also thought I’d look at four common and penacious categories. The worse tends to be violent and sexual crimes and as you can see the Asian rate for violent crimes is less than a third of caucasions and one seventh of the overall violent crime rate.

crime3

 

The sexual crime rate also relatively very low.

crime4

And when it comes to robberies, the rate is one twenty fifth of the overall NZ rate.

crime5

 

And for burglaries, the rate is one fortieth the overall NZ rate!

So the next time Winston goes on about how Chinese immigration is turning Auckland into a city of sin, remind him how crime is a sin – and that his xenophobic scaremongering is repugnant.

 

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Winston declares war on China

May 24th, 2013 at 3:41 pm by David Farrar

Winston has proclaimed:

John Key and his ministers have made it clear that our future lies with the Peoples’ Republic of China. …

The Government is talking of a million more people in Auckland soon and there is no prize for guessing where most of them will come from.

It’s the Yellow Peril!

But to this government it’s a great chance to bring in rich Chinese tourists through a half-baked – fast track, special treatment visa scheme.

Not available to you or any other nation.

Absolute lies. Scores of countries do not need any visa whatsoever. The only scheme in place for China is allowing airlines (including Air NZ) to use frequent flyer status as a proxy for a certified bank statement.

And when the so-called rich tourists have finished at the blackjack tables or the pokie machines there’s another attraction nearby.

If Winston is suddenly against gambling, why then as Minister of Racing did he double taxpayer support for racing – one of the most destructive forms of gambling.

The Hong Kong born Chow brothers are thoughtfully providing a fifteen storey brothel, in what used to be an historic building, just across the road from the casino in the heart of Auckland!

Those evil Chinese – also building brothels. There were none in Auckland of course before the Chinese got here.

One concerned citizen sent me a copy of that scurrilous magazine Truth.

It’s chocker with page after page of sex ads – most based in this fair city.

Is that what you voted for?

Whale Oil will be pleased Winston reads Truth. As far as I know Truth has had sex ads in it for 40 years or so. Blaming it on the Government or the Chinese is rather pathetic, but probably lapped up the a few dottery people.

Winstoncloud

 

This is a word cloud of Winston’s speech. To think he was once Foreign Minister!

Of course some Chinese immigrants are criminals, are involved in the sex trade etc etc. But Winston cherry picks a few horror stories to effectively demonise several hundred thousand New Zealanders. No mention of the fact Asian crime rates are far far less than other ethnicities. No mention of the fact their educational achievements are way higher than other groups. No mention of the fact they tend to have a lower unemployment rate etc.

It’s classic old Winston. Find a group and make them the scapegoat for everything wrong in society.

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Swedish riots

May 22nd, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The headline in Stuff was:

Stockholm rioting continues after shooting

Sweden is not normally a country you associate with rioting. When I saw the headline, I thought that it was almost inevitable that the rioting would be by immigrants. I felt a bit guilty over jumping to such a conclusion but the story starts:

Some 200 youths hurled rocks at police and set cars ablaze in a largely immigrant suburb of Stockholm today, the second day of rioting triggered by the fatal police shooting of a man wielding a knife.

Dozens of windows were smashed, 10 cars and several containers were set on fire, and seven police officers were injured. Cars and containers were also set ablaze in another of the Swedish capital’s suburbs, Fittja, although police said it was not clear whether the two events were linked.

The unrest began Sunday night in response to the May 13 shooting, in which police killed a 69-year-old man who had locked himself in an apartment in Husby, west of Stockholm. Police refused to give the nationality of the victim.

It sounds like France.

I am an absolute fan of immigration, but it has to be done in a way where new citizens integrate into their new country, not form enclaves. Few countries in Europe have managed this. I’m pleased to say that New Zealand largely does.

Reinfeldt added that Husby – where around 80 percent of the roughly 11,000 residents are first- or second-generation immigrants – has been going in the right direction during his seven-year tenure, with employment increasing and crime falling.

An 80% concentration of immigrants is not healthy in my opinion. As I said above, integration (which is different to assimilation) is the key.

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Air NZ looking at South China visa scheme

December 6th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Grant Bradley at NZ Herald reports:

The Government says its fast-track visa scheme will be considered for other airlines besides China Southern, which already uses it, and Air New Zealand, which is in discussions to use it.

It isn’t actually a fast track. There is no priority given for processing. There are no different requirements. The only change is the sort of document you have to attach to prove you are not a penniless who has less than $4,000 cash is a frequent flyer status showing you have flown 40,000 kms in the last year rather than a bank statement.

A spokesman for Immigration Minister Nathan Guy yesterday said the discussions between Air New Zealand and Immigration New Zealand were in their early stages.

“Similar arrangements with other airlines will be considered to increase tourism and trade with China.”

Excellent. South China took the initiative and proposed the arrangement, as they saw it as a good way to get more wealthy tourists flying here on their airline. Of course you’d allow any other airline that sees benefit to do the same.

China Southern Airlines gold and silver frequent flyer card holders no longer have to produce evidence of sufficient funds to support themselves, as long as they can show their flight records over the previous two years.

They would still need to get a visa, and still need to meet health and good character checks.

A minor and trivial change.

It is worth recalling that this is about getting more tourists to NZ, not immigrants. Tourists are great for our economy. They incur almost no expenses in terms of health, education or welfare and spend considerable amounts of money boosting the tourism sector economy, and tax from both corporate profits and GST. The more (especially) high spending tourists we get, the better for the economy and jobs.

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Snedden on Chinese visas

November 22nd, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

I blogged last Friday on the beatup over so called skipping or border checks for South China Airlines frequent flyers, and that in fact there was no relaxation of any border checks at all. The only thing that had happened was that customers could use their frequent flyer status as proof of not being poor, rather than a bank statement.

Martin Snedden of the Tourism Industry Association writes in the Herald on this issue:

Although citizens of 57 different countries who want to holiday in New Zealand can turn up at our airports and be issued with on-the-spot visas, Chinese visitors cannot. Immigration NZ has assessed the risk of criminal activity or absconding as being too high. But this risk attaches to only a very small number of Chinese visitors, so Immigration NZ is continually looking to adjust its screening processes to ease the way for visitors who fit within a high-value, low-risk profile.

A key point again – 57 countries are visa free. A check against criminal activity applies to all visitors, so really the issue is we require visas for people from countries where we are concerned they will try and remain in NZ illegally due to our higher standard of living. Hence why they need to prove they have $1,000 of funds for every month they plan to be here.

These visitors still have to meet criteria much more stringent than for most visitors. On arrival, they are still subject to the same border security processes as every other arriving passenger.

Yep the only difference is no bank statement required.

The profile of these Pearl cardholders is seasoned international travellers, generally in sound economic health, with strong ties to their homeland, and who, in the course of their international travels, will have successfully passed through many visa and security processes.

Exactly. To get frequent flyer status they are individuals with considerable funds and a history of travelling without problems.

This China Southern initiative should not be stand-alone. The principles of this agreement can, and should, be applied in a number of other high value, low risk target areas.

We benefit massively from people visiting New Zealand and spending money here. I’m all for expanding the agreement to other airlines.

Some in this country will always see something sinister in anything to do with China, but those of us in tourism are congratulating Immigration Minister Nathan Guy and Immigration NZ on this positive decision.

Xenophobia is what fueled this story, planted by NZ First.

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The great China Southern Airlines beatup

November 16th, 2012 at 9:15 am by David Farrar

A typical story on this issue has been this Stuff one:

 SkyCity boasted about bringing high-rolling gamblers to New Zealand aboard China Southern Airlines through a fast-tracked visa process a year before Immigration New Zealand recommended that the Government sign a deal with the carrier.

Immigration Minister Nathan Guy was this week forced to reveal an agreement with the airline, which comes into effect next week, for its gold and silver frequent-flier cardholders to skip normal border checks after leaked documents were released by NZ First leader Winston Peters. …

Mr Peters said yesterday that SkyCity had been pushing for the scheme for years. “Their high-rollers already operate under these new rules, which means a casino and a communist government airline have under [Mr Guy's] deal with them, now acquired privileges for their customers not available to any other group of people anywhere else in the world.”

Police listed common offences by Asian crime syndicates as extortion, drug trafficking, identity fraud and people smuggling, he told Parliament.

This story may be the biggest beat up of the year. The media seemed to have gone out of their way to be as non-specific as possible as to what has been agreed, because the truth is boringly mundane. Here are the facts.

  • This agreement has nothing to do with anyone in China getting a work visa, a residency visa, a long-term visa or even citizenship (apply via Dover Samuels). It is purely about being able to visit New Zealand temporarily.
  • 57 countries can have their citizens visit New Zealand without any visa at all. So what Peters say about privileges not available to any other group of people in the world is absolute nonsense. If you are a citizen of any of those 57 countries you can visit NZ without even needing a visa so long as you are not a criminal or been deported from another country
  • Those countries for which we require a visa, tend to be relatively poor countries. We do not allow unrestricted visiting rights because of the well documented risk that they then become overstayers, illegal immigrants etc as the standard of living in NZ is much higher than those countries.
  • So Chinese citizens need to get a visa to come here.  To get a visa they need to provide the following:
    • Proof of good health
    • Proof of good character
    • A proper purpose for visiting
    • Proof they plan to leave
    • Proof of funds to cover stay in NZ ($1,000/mth), and departure
    • Not have a serious criminal record
  • The application form for a visa is 16 pages long. A China Southern Airlines frequent flyer still has to fill in the entire 16 page form.
  • As I understand it, the only “variation” is that their status with China Southern Airlines is taken as proof of sufficient funds rather than have to provide certified copies of bank statements, letters of credit etc. Now considering that you have to have flown around the world at least twice in the last year to get frequent flyer status, then it is not a bad assumption that they have funds in excess of $1,000 a month!
  • That’s it. That’s what this is all about. A decision that proof you have flown twice around the world recently is a good proxy for you have sufficient funds to cover your expenses while in NZ.

So, an absolute beatup. And also consider that if you are visiting from say Mexico or Taiwan you don’t even need proof of funds, as we assume all citizens of those countries have sufficient funds to be allowed to visit NZ.

As I understand it, the initial concern by someone in DIA was based on thinking there was going to be a general visa waiver or the like. There is not. The ONLY thing agreed to here is that proof you fly so often to get frequent flyer status is acceptable proof that  you have funds in excess of $1,000 a month!

Sky City has not engaged with the Government at all on the South China Airlines arrangement, according to both them and the Government. They support it, as it makes it easier for high rollers (who are in no way exempt the good character test) to avoid the hassle of proving they have NZ$3,000 (when in fact they have several million dollars) each time they visit. These high rollers then spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in New Zealand, boosting the tourism sector and tax revenues.

Again, an absolute beat up of a story. What annoys me is that the media could have made clear in their stories that the so called “skipping border checks” is no such thing. They get treated no differently at the border. They still need a visa in advance. The only difference is what document they have to supply in advance with their visa application – proof of frequent flyer status rather than proof of funds. But that isn’t as sexy a story.

This is in fact a very smart arrangement. South China Airlines is the third largest in the world. It means they will promote NZ as a destination to their customers on our behalf. The Tourism Industry Association thinks it is great. It doesn’t mean a single person will be allowed to visit, who doesn’t fully meet the rules. It is simply saying that you can use a frequent flyer status as proof of funds, rather than a bank statement.

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This seems wrong

September 21st, 2012 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A teenage immigrant is worried about his family’s safety after learning they will be sent back to Fiji from Taranaki because he stood up to domestic violence.

He and his family join others who have left volatile surroundings only to find they effectively became illegal immigrants because they had no independent visa status. …

Late last year, he woke to find his father beating his mother but instead of cowering in a corner he called police.

His father was arrested and jailed last year, and then deported a few months ago.

The wife was attached to her husband’s work visa and was now fighting a losing battle to remain in New Zealand with her two sons.

Immigration New Zealand turned down his mother’s application for a work visa because a Kiwi can do her job, and the family could be deported as early as the beginning of next year.

Racked with guilt, Nick now wishes he had gone back to bed and said nothing about the incident.

“If I knew this would all happen, I wouldn’t have called the police. I will never call them again.”

The last thing we want to do is discourage people from reporting domestic violence. I hope the immigration authorities show some common sense, or compassion.

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Boat People Laws

May 1st, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Claire Trevett at NZ Herald reports:

Prime Minister John Key says there is an increasing risk that boat people will make it to New Zealand’s shores and new changes to the immigration law are needed to deter people smugglers and cope with a possible mass arrival of asylum seekers.

And the changes:

  • will apply to illegal immigrants who arrive in a group of 11 or more.
  • will be detained under a group warrant, rather than individual warrants.
  • if accepted as refugees, will not get residency for at least three years after their refugee status is reviewed.
  • will only be able to sponsor immediate family members to NZ, not extended family such as adult siblings or parents.

A key thing to understand is the difference between genuine refugees and what might be called economic refugees.

A genuine refugee is a person who flees a country because they face persecution “on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or because they are a member of a persecuted ‘social group’.” A Jew fleeing Nazi Europe is one example. A political dissident from China could be another.

“Economic refugees” or “Economic migrants” are those who seek to move to another country because it has a higher standard of living. Their motivation is quite understandable – your family are likely to have a much better life in Australia or New Zealand than in say Indonesia.

However NZ and Australia do not have open borders. They have criteria for immigration based on education, skills, wealth, age etc. Allowing anyone who can make the journey over to stay, undermines that. Hence when “boat people” turn up, they are often detained until it is clarified that they are legitimate refugees, or “economic refugees”. It is not particularly nice to do such a thing, but the reality is that if not detained, then it may be very difficult to locate them again if they are meant to be deported.

We have been fortunate not to have had a significant issue to date, but I think it is inevitable we will have a fairly large boat or two arrive at some stage.

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How many people do we want?

March 9th, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Eric Crampton blogs:

New Zealand, population 15 million. That’s the target for 2060 in a new NZIER working paper making the case for substantial New Zealand population growth.

The paper says:

A population target of 15 million by 2060 (2.5 times that now projected) is not only “feasible”, it is also likely to be sufficient to achieve the benefits from scale. It would allow four main cities with a population of three million or more each. This would foster competition within New Zealand to create conditions amenable to building local firms that can foot it internationally. It would bring New Zealand’s population into close proximity of the Netherlands (but still nowhere near the population density of that country).

Eric proposes:

Potential policy moves that encourage immigration, and especially higher-skilled immigration? First on my list would be immediate permanent residence for any foreign student completing a Bachelor’s degree at one of the New Zealand universities. This will not only boost foreign student enrolments (helping to cross-subsidize domestic students) but also provide a nice selection mechanism for those who are most likely to really make a contribution. We could also draw in high skilled American migrants by not losing our comparative advantage in civil liberties and sane copyright legislation.

Complementary to increased immigration would be fixing local land use policy that forces up housing prices, but that’s also well worth doing for its own sake.

I broadly agree. I’m not sure about 15 million, but think 10 million is a reasonable target.

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Does Labour want poor unskilled immigrants who go on welfare?

March 5th, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Many on the right sometimes think that Labour wants to get a majority of the population dependent on the state, so that they will have a majority who will always vote for greater state spending and dependency.

This story gives fuel to that suspicion:

Immigration categories are to be changed in an effort to “reduce the number of unskilled migrants who find it difficult to get jobs and are more likely to get benefit payments”.

Who could be against that?

Applications from parents seeking residency to be with children already in New Zealand will be placed in the slow processing lane if their children-sponsors are not “high-income” people.

Parents will no longer be able to bring in dependent children and applicants who are poor in English will be required to pre-pay for language lessons.

The changes are outlined in a Cabinet paper obtained by the Labour Party, which says the plan creates a divide between the rich and famous and ordinary migrants wanting to move to New Zealand.

Labour is.

Let’s be very clear about this. Migrating to NZ is a privilege. We absolutely should be favouring migrants who have wealth, skills, education etc. We allow a quota of refugees in, where income or wealth is not a factor. But to suggest wealth should not be a factor for migration is economically stupid.

 

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Barbarism in NZ and Canada

January 31st, 2012 at 4:18 pm by David Farrar

In my blog at Stuff I blog:

I doubt I was the only person upset and angered at the story of the 17-year-old girl in Wellington whose parents tricked her into a forced marriage. She was imprisoned at home for several months, until she escaped.

Her parents have gone back to Pakistan, but the father is reported to have said he would kill her if he saw her again.

Sadly this can’t just be dismissed as hyperbole. Canada has just had a conclusion to a trial in which a father, with help from other family members, killed his three daughters and one of his wives. This was a so-called “honour” killing. Of course honour had nothing to so with it. Secret wiretaps revealed the father saying “God curse their generation, they were filthy and rotten children,” and “To hell with them and their boyfriends, may the devil s**t on their graves.”

The 17-year-old girl in Wellington may be lucky she escaped such a fate. As New Zealanders, we need to ask ourselves what we can do to minimise this occuring in New Zealand.

You can comment over at Stuff on my thoughts on how we can minimise this.

 

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A NZ forced marriage

January 30th, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

A ghastly story at Stuff:

For months, in an ordinary house in a Wellington suburb, a 17-year-old Pakistani was held hostage, trapped in a marriage forced on her by her parents and threatened with death.

The woman, who does not want to be identified, was married in 2010 without her consent or knowledge after her Muslim parents learned she had a Hindu boyfriend and became concerned she was too westernised.

If they think she was too westernised, they should not have moved to New Zealand.

The Wellington teenager refused to go ahead with the marriage, despite months of family threats of deportation and violence.

Then her parents took her to the Internal Affairs Department to sign what they said were visa documents but which she later found were marriage papers.

That night a ceremony was held at her parents’ home. She was told it was an engagement ceremony and, if she did not attend, she would be deported. After the ceremony she said her father told her she was married and was to go to her husband’s house in Newtown with him that night.

“I was crying all day and night. I didn’t want to get married. I don’t think any 17-year-old girl would want to get married.

“I was freaking out. I was still in shock and told the guy not to touch me. He was trying to be forceful to me sexually but, when I warned him about the police, he backed off.”

Smart girl. Smart guy also for backing off, realising we have rape laws.

For two months she was held in a kind of prison with her husband and his family. They would not let her leave the house or use the phone and always supervised her. They demanded she sleep with her new husband and have a baby.

Her own parents visited once a week but barely spoke to her.

She finally did escape, and went to the police and ethnic women’s support organisation Shakti. Her marriage has since been annulled and her parents have gone back to Pakistan.

Before leaving, her father told her he would kill her if he saw her again. “I wanted to die. My dad was saying that to his own daughter, I couldn’t believe it.”

I’m glad the parents have left, as they should be deported if they had not. I also think her “husband’s” family should be checked out. There is no room in New Zealand for people who condone forced marriages.

I don’t think our immigration laws should discriminate on the basis of religion (well except scientologists :-) but I do think we need to make very clear to potential immigrants that there are certain aspects of New Zealand culture and laws which are important to New Zealanders such as separation of state and religion, equal rights for women, no forced marriages, democracy, freedom of expression etc etc. And equally the message should go out that if you have a huge problem with any of these things, then you might not want to live here.

I just hope the poor 17 year old girl prospers in New Zealand, despite being abandoned by her family.

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Mutu says ban white immigrants

September 4th, 2011 at 10:22 am by David Farrar

Marika Hill in the SST reports:

A Maori academic says immigration by whites should be restricted because they pose a threat to race relations due to their “white supremacist” attitudes.

The controversial comments come in response to a Department of Labour report, obtained exclusively by the Sunday Star-Times, which found Maori are more likely to express anti-immigration sentiment than Pakeha or any other ethnic group.

Margaret Mutu, head of Auckland University’s department of Maori studies, agreed with the findings and called on the government to restrict the number of white migrants arriving from countries such as South Africa, England and the United States as they brought attitudes destructive to Maori.

“They do bring with them, as much as they deny it, an attitude of white supremacy, and that is fostered by the country,” she said.

At this stage I’m wondering whether Mutu qualifies as a brown supremacist? If a white person called on the Government to restrict the number of brown migrants, they would probably be called a white supremacist.

In my world immigration should ignore skin colour. Migrants should be assessed as individuals, and decisions should be based on their level of skills, experience, education, wealth etc etc. Of course you would also filter against people with criminal convictions and those with extreme anti-democratic views.

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The Sri Lankan asylum seekers

July 12th, 2011 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Prime Minister John Key’s message that 85 Sri Lankan asylum seekers intercepted in Indonesia are “not welcome” has the backing of many in New Zealand’s Sri Lankan community.

The Tamil asylum seekers were detained on Saturday by the Indonesian Navy as they apparently tried to make their way to New Zealand by boat. …

United Sri Lanka Association spokesman Chula Rajapakse said there should be no reason for there to be refugees from Sri Lanka at the moment, as the country was “as peaceful as Wellington”.

“There’s no violence there right now, the violence there caused by Tamil terrorism has been quelled, it’s been put to rest two years ago.

“We have always taken the position that, when it comes to this queue-jumping by people-smugglers, New Zealand should not be seen to be taking a soft hand.”

The Tamils are not at fear or risk of their lives. They are economic refugees, not genuine refugees. If they actually reached NZ, then a tribunal would have to determine that, but I don’t think it is a close call.

NZ takes in several hundred refugees every year – those who go through official channels. I don’t believe you reward queue jumpers, because doing so will just encourage more and more people to do the same.

UPDATE:

Phil Goff agrees with John Key.

Labour leader Phil Goff holds a similar view and says we can’t run immigration policy on sympathy and let everyone that turns up her into the country.

He says the way to go is meet our responsibilities with our refugee quota, not promote gain for people smugglers who’re making money out of the misery of others.

I suspect not all in the Labour caucus will be happy with that call.

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Multiculturalism

October 26th, 2010 at 7:26 am by David Farrar

Tapu Misa writes in the Herald:

So multiculturalism has “failed, absolutely failed”, according to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. It is dead, declared another German politician. Did I hear “I told you so” from the xenophobes who claimed all along that multiculturalism was doomed to failure?

The crowing may be a little premature. The trouble with multiculturalism is that it seems to mean different things to different people.

In many parts of Europe, it has failed. In some countries it has been a disaster. Yet in other countries it has worked well – the US is an excellent example of that. As is NZ.

For Merkel, “multikulti” is the idea that “we are living side by side, and are happy about it”. (Which implies, I think, that multicultural nirvana was meant to happen naturally.)

For others, multiculturalism is that ill-defined policy which holds that a single country can accommodate new and disparate cultures peacefully and equitably, even when certain aspects of those cultures clash fundamentally with its own cherished traditions and values.

The former seems an increasingly distant liberal fantasy, and the latter a recipe for resentment and discord.

I agree with Tapu Misa. I think a blending or integration of cultures is a good thing, but if the cultures fundamentally clash on core values, then you get the problem – resentment and discord.

Disenchantment with multiculturalism isn’t new. In 2006, the then British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, told immigrants they should “conform … or don’t come here”.

Conform isn’t the word I would use. But there does have to be a general acceptance of the way of life of the country you move to. For example, if the sight of females in bikinis terribly upsets you, then don’t move to Bondi Beach – or Australia generally.

There is a key difference between integration and assimilation. The former is about adopting or not resisting the core values of a country. The latter implies to me abandoning your previous culture entirely.

Blair said that the July 2005 suicide bombings in London, carried out by British Muslims, had thrown the concept of a multicultural Britain into “sharp relief”. While multiculturalism should be celebrated, it had to be accompanied by a duty to share “essential values – belief in democracy, the rule of law, tolerance, equal treatment for all, respect for this country and its shared heritage”. “Our tolerance is part of what makes Britain Britain,” Blair said.

“So conform to it, or don’t come here. We don’t want the hate-mongers, whatever their race, religion or creed. The right to be different. The duty to integrate. That is what being British means.”

Tolerance is almost the most important aspect. And that includes tolerance of those who do not share your religious beliefs – and in fact even criticise them.

I was chatting at the rally yesterday to a Jewish friend (who gently scolded me for the joke I blogged a couple of days ago, before admitting it was very funny) and talked about Sarah Silverman. Silverman is a Jewish comedian, probably best known for her hilarious “I f**ked Matt Damon” video to her boyfriend. In her TV series she has offended almost all religions by not just having sex with God, but dumping him afterwards. A reporter asked her if she would ever play a part where she had sex with Mohammed. Her reply was no she would not, as she did not wish to be killed. A very sad reflection on the world we live in.

Anyone who wants to kill someone because they are disrespectful to your religion fails my tolerance test. In fact even wanting to change the law, so it is illegal to disrespect your religion, fails my tolerance test.

Where does that leave us? I’d like to think our version of the multicultural society is just as respectful of difference, and inclusive, without being overweeningly deferential.

What does being a New Zealander mean? We’re still working it out. But if a shared sense of identity and citizenship is a sign of multicultural health, then we can take heart.

NZ I think has managed the challenge pretty damn well. But this may have been by as much good luck as good management. I do think our immigration system needs a “tolerance” test and also we need to make sure prospective immigrants are well informed on what are the “essential values” of New Zealanders, and that as aspiring NZers, they share them.

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Overstayers

August 24th, 2010 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Overstayers are turning themselves in after finding life here to be “unbearable”, says an immigration adviser.

The number of overstayers has been steadily declining since 2004, the Department of Labour says.

It estimates there are 15,760 overstayers in the country, down from 15,880 last October.

This is good. Overstayers undermine those migrants who move here legally. Overstayers should not be able to gain employment or welfare, and should be deported as they are located.

New Zealand takes in tens of thousands of migrants legally, plus 1,000 or so refugees a year. We should support those who follow the correct process, and get rid of those who do not.

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Dyer on Arizona crackdown on illegal immigrants

May 3rd, 2010 at 8:31 am by David Farrar

Gwynne Dyer writes:

But suppose I went to Mexico as a tourist and then stayed there illegally, taking work that might otherwise have gone to some deserving Mexican citizen. I would not be treated more gently by the Mexican authorities.

Why does Mexico believe that its own citizens who are illegally in the United States deserve better treatment?

Generally speaking an illegal immigrant has few rights – they are in a country in defiance of that country’s law. It annoys me that many stories do not distinguish between immigrants and illegal immigrants. There is a world of difference.

Each year the number of permanently resident illegal immigrants grows. Even in Arizona, where there is not a huge demand for agricultural labour, there are now an estimated 460,000 illegal Mexican immigrants, about 7 per cent of Arizona’s total population.

Some argue that they are doing jobs nobody else wants, but that is only a possible reason for letting them stay. It certainly does not give them the right to stay.

There is certainly no right to say.

Having said that don’t think trying to evict every illegal immigrant in the US is productive or practical. I would support an amnesty for illegal immigrants who have work to come forward and become legal immigrants. This should be a one off opportunity. The reality is many immigrants are providing valuable labour and goods and services.

Following the amnesty, then there should be a serious effort at minimising future illegal immigration, and detecting and deporting quickly illegal immigrants

Arizona is calling time on that system, and intends to seek out and send home people who are in the state illegally.

In most parts of the world, that would not be regarded as unreasonable. What is different in Arizona’s case?

The implicit charge is racism. The assumption is that American citizens of Mexican origin, and legitimate Mexican visitors, will also be stopped and asked to prove they are legally in the United States – and that they will be chosen for questioning on the grounds they simply look “Mexican”.

That is a legitimate concern.

Simply enforce the same rules that apply in airport security queues to ensure that nobody feels they are being “profiled” because of their ethnicity.

In the airports, they make sure that heavily bearded young men who look “Middle Eastern” face no greater risk of being selected for special examination than paraplegic grandmothers.

I’ve never been convinced this is a particularly sensible policy. And yes I know that is contradictory a bit to the above, but I regard your right to board a plane without facing a couple of questions as far less a right than walking down your local street without harassment.

The Arizona police should be instructed to stop 13 white, black and Asian people and check that they are legally in the state for every person they stop who looks “Mexican”.

Then nobody will have anything to complain about.

That might well be what they do. Of course I suspect it will be fairly ineffective and we will just see a lot of illegal immigrants shift to other states.

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Editorials 16 March 2010

March 16th, 2010 at 10:24 am by David Farrar

The Herald looks at the Iraqi elections:

Iraq’s national elections were some distance removed from the type of poll associated with a smoothly functioning democracy. They were conducted amid an intimidating campaign of violence, and in the aftermath there have been accusations of fraud.

Even now, only partial results are available because of disorderly vote-counting. Yet the pluses of the election far outweigh the negatives, especially in indicating that Iraq may be ready to turn its back on years of sectarian strife.

The results announced so far show the Prime Minister, Nouri Maliki, edging ahead. His State of Law coalition leads in seven of the country’s 18 provinces. …

If a coalition is cobbled together relatively quickly, it will clear the way for the smooth pull-out of more American troops by the end of August, and a final exit by the end of next year.

The new government will have its hands full preserving Iraq’s fragile security, continuing to resolve its sectarian tensions and repairing shattered public services.

But, at the very least, this election marks a promising start. Iraq has defied the many doomsayers by moving further along the road to democracy and reconciliation.

It is going to be fascinating to see what Iraq is like in 2020. Will it still have major sectarian violence and terrorism, or will it be a relatively well functioning democratic state?

The Press talks football:

The Wellington Phoenix football team has provided one of the sporting highlights of the past year. For the club to have made the A-League playoffs for the first time, and to have got within one match of the grand final, was an achievement all New Zealanders can be proud of. As Phoenix coach Ricki Herbert has noted, this has been a breakthrough season for the club. It also augurs well for the 2010-11 season.

Although the dream run ended on Saturday night, thanks partly to a handball goal by a Sydney player, the Phoenix’s successful season helped to heighten public interest in football, as shown by the crowds of up to 33,000 that the team attracted.

Maybe the Warriors would do better if they were Wellington based also :-)

The Dominion Post talks league tables:

One thing is for sure in the wake of the publication of Health Ministry statistics comparing the performances of 80 primary health organisations.

Total Healthcare Otara, the PHO with the poorest record of immunising two-year-olds, will be taking immediate steps to improve its performance. Public ignominy is a powerful motivating tool.

So it should be. The release of the data highlights yet again the benefits of comparing the performance of organisations doing essentially the same job, whether they operate in the health sector, the education sector or any other area. Not only is the information useful to decision-makers and the public, it is also useful to the organisations themselves. As Helen Rodenburg, the chairwoman of a clinical quality board that oversees four PHOs in Wellington, told Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report yesterday, before the publication of the data, PHOs did not know how their performance compared with those of similar organisations in other parts of the country.

The primary teachers’ union, the New Zealand Educational Institute, should take note.

This is exactly why the NZEI is so opposed.

Of course there are limitations associated with the way the data is collected. Of course it is important to compare like with like and, of course, it is important to consider the different environments in which schools operate. Just as a PHO in Wellington City could be expected to outperform a PHO in Porirua on many measures, so children at a decile 10 primary school in Khandallah could be expected to perform better in tests than children at a decile 1 school in Cannons Creek. The children in wealthier neighbourhoods are more likely to come from homes in which English is the first language, there is space for a dedicated homework area and the shelves are stacked with books.

But instead of flatly rejecting the introduction of national standards as the NZEI is doing, it should be devoting its energies to ensuring the tests measure something useful.

NZEI be constructive? Sure, and Satan has this nice little ski chalet for sale.

The ODT focuses on investor migrants:

The Government is rightly taking a hard-headed look at the domain – New Zealand is not so wealthy as to be able to offer refuge to thousands of migrants who bring little other than “diversity” to their new country, but neither should it push these policies so far that, in effect, the prize of New Zealand citizenship is being sold to the highest bidder.

There are, after all, many values – honesty, pride, diligence, community-mindedness, intelligence, aspiration, entrepreneurialism among them – besides an already accumulated wealth that will colour the future contribution of any migrant, including those in the new parent and temporary retirement categories, to his or her adopted country.

Dr Coleman and the National-led Government are evidently determined to implement immigration policies that pay.

The ambition is laudable, but wealth is relatively easy to measure, other desirable qualities less so.

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Editorials 12 March 2010

March 12th, 2010 at 2:12 pm by David Farrar

The Herald talks government funding cuts:

Predictably enough, Labour has tried to make a mountain out of the Government’s announcement of funding cuts in the Education Ministry. According to its education spokesman, Trevor Mallard, these will harm education quality because there will be less research and less teacher and curriculum development.

In reality, he is talking about a molehill. The ministry has been asked to make just $25 million in savings by 2012-13. That is a surprisingly small amount, which is being sought in the right area, rather than at what used to be called the chalkface.

All government-funded organisations are being told to cut costs because of the tough economic climate. Cue cries of anguish and alarm.

The key to achieving the savings without fulfilling the grim forecasts of these critics lies in targeting areas that will not disrupt a sector’s core responsibilities. Commendably, this is what the Government is seeking to achieve in both education and health, two of the leading recipients of its spending.

Labour has never met a spending cut they didn’t oppose.

The Dominion Post swipes at NZUSA:

The University Students Association is to be applauded for its egalitarian instincts. They accord with the New Zealand ethos.

However, the association, long a training ground for Labour Party apparatchiks, would enhance its credibility if it spent less time bleating about the cost of university studies and more focusing on the quality of the education on offer.

It makes a habit of engaging its mouth before its brain. The most recent instance occurred on Tuesday when co-presidents David Do and Pene Delaney issued a statement condemning new Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce, the Government’s tyre-kicker-in-chief, for saying that from 2012 a percentage of the state funding provided to tertiary institutions will be linked to their academic performance and for adding that he’d also like to restrict student loans to students who pass their courses.

David Do is a former Chair of Princes St Labour.

Here is a newsflash for the association: the quality of the education available to its members, and students at other tertiary institutions, has gradually been eroded over the past couple of decades by underfunding and a bums-on seats-policy that rewards institutions according to the number of students enrolled rather than their performance.

The Government does not have a magic pool of money into which it can dip to make up the shortfall. It is effectively borrowing $200 million a week to maintain existing levels of public services, debt that will eventually have to be made good by the the association’s members and generations yet unborn.

If improvements are to be made to the system, the money has to come from within the existing tertiary education budget. Mr Joyce is doing exactly what the association should be imploring him to do – looking for poor-quality institutions and courses so that money can be redirected from them to institutions and courses that provide value for money.

He is proposing to do the same with students. Good on him. Every student who is not turning up to class, repeatedly failing or using a student allowance or loan to subsidise a lifestyle that has nothing to do with study is wasting money that could otherwise be used to provide a better education for students motivated to make the most of their opportunities.

The association should forget about trying to score political points and focus on advancing its members’ real interests. Students should ask themselves whether they would rather buy a clapped-out jalopy with a wound-back odometer for $25,000 or a modern, reliable warranted vehicle for $35,000.

Mr Joyce knows the answer to that question. It is to buy a quality vehicle that will stand the test of time. The same holds true for education. Forget cheap; think quality.

A wonderful editorial.

The Press talks immigration:

Graven on a tablet within the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty in New York is the poem with the famous words “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses”. The latest immigration policy development in New Zealand is somewhat different to this. The new temporary retirement immigration category is more a case of New Zealand being given and welcoming elderly migrants, provided they have enough money to invest here.

Under this scheme foreigners aged at least 66 years can move to New Zealand on an initial two-year permit if they have good health and character, agree to invest $750,000 here, have an income of $60,000 and $500,000 worth of assets.

By international standards the financial criteria for coming here are not huge, which might encourage a reasonable uptake. But even if this did occur the amount which must be invested is also comparatively modest, which suggests that the scheme might not make the contribution to economic growth which the Government hopes would occur.

Rather than encouraging the wealthy elderly to come to our shores, the focus should be on promoting New Zealand as a migration destination for younger people with skills. This would help address this nation’s serious skills shortage and contribute more meaningfully to economic growth.

I don’t think it is an either-or. One can encourage both.

And the ODT focuses on regional rates:

A rare piece of good news emerged for beleaguered ratepayers this week: the Otago Regional Council draft annual plan shows no increase in the general rate. The ORC chairman points out it is a draft budget only, but nevertheless, how refreshing. Why can’t other councils do the same?

Indeed. Most businesses have had to contain costs, as have most households. Even the central Government is doing so. Local Government should follow.

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Less leaving and more staying

March 1st, 2010 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The turnabout in New Zealanders leaving New Zealand has been remarkable.

The Herald has reported that “number of people arriving permanently or long term in this country exceeded the number of departures by 2500 in January, the highest net gain for a January month since 2004.”

Now I don’t tend to place too much emphasis on the overall PLT flow, as arrivals for non New Zealanders is a function of immigration policy.

A key stat for me is what is happening with New Zealand nationals as they have the right to come and go without immigration barriers.

In 2007 and 2008, the net departures exceeded 35,000 and was heading to 40,000. In just 15 months it has plummeted to under 15,000.

The global recession is probably part of the change, but what is pleasing is that not only are fewer Kiwis leaving, significantly more of them are returning home.

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First positive migration October for NZ nationals since 1992

November 24th, 2009 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

oct09plt

This graphs shows the net permanent and long-term departures (departures less arrivals) of NZ nationals (citizens).

In October 2009, kiwis returning home outnumbered kiwis leaving for overseas. The last time this happened in an October month was in 1992.

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Should Beenie Man be banned?

November 15th, 2009 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Charles Chauvel blogs at Red Alert a letter to Associate Immigration Minister Kate Wilkinson:

Invitation to Anthony Moses Davis (alias “Beenie Man”) to perform at Big Day Out 2010: Request to Decline Entry Visa

Anthony Moses Davis (born Kingston, Jamaica, August 22, 1973) is a reggae performer, notorious for his lyrics and other statements promoting the killing of gay and lesbian people.

The lyrics to one of his songs include: “I’m dreaming of a new Jamaica, come to execute all the gays”. In another, “Mi Nah Wallah”, he says he would like to cut the throats of all gay men.  In “Bad Man Chi Chi Man” he instructs listeners to kill gay deejays, and in “Han Up Deh”, he advocates hanging lesbians, with a long piece of rope.

It is reported that the organisers of the Big Day Out, a music festival, have invited Anthony Moses Davis to perform at their 2010 event.

Since 1994, gay and lesbian New Zealanders have had the protections affirmed by the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act.  These include the right to freedom from discrimination.  That right cannot be given practical effect if people who rejoice in advocating violence towards us, especially in a public way, are welcomed to this country.  As one of our parliamentary colleagues has recently observed in this context, music that denigrates gay men and lesbians in the most extreme way imaginable sends some very powerful signals both to young gay and lesbian people but also to their peers.  It is now well-document that many young lesbian and gay people suffer violence, harrassment, lowered self-esteem and the consequent health and social problems that stem from the denigration that many of them experience.  It cannot be conducive to social cohesiveness, good order and desirable public policy that these outcomes are facilitated.  Granting an entry visa to Anthony Moses Davis would constitute such facilitation.

It appears that Anthony Moses Davis is a Jamaican passport holder.  As such, he does not enjoy the right to visa-free entry to New Zealand.
I ask that you decline an entry visa on the grounds set out in para
Y3.1 viii of the Immigration Manual, which notes that “people will normally be refused entry to New Zealand if they…are a threat to security or public order in New Zealand”.  For the reasons set out above, Anthony Moses Davis constitutes such a threat.

Okay, where to start. My thoughts:

  1. Beenie Man is a despicable piece of scum.
  2. The organisers of Big Day Out should be pilloried for inviting him
  3. Arguing that his attending Big Day Out is a “threat to security or public order” is a very big stretch – especially as Beenie Man no longer sings lyrics promoting killing homosexuals
  4. The best response to hate speech is more speech, not less.
  5. I think the situation is similar to that of David Irving. Don’t ban then from coming here, but protest against them when they are here.
  6. Better responses would be for people to organise a boycott of Big Day Out for inviting him, or to arrange suitable protests at BDO – sell anti Beenie Man t-shirts and/or try and co-ordinate a sit down when he plays.
  7. Beenie Man is again a despicable piece of scum
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More free speech under attack from Immigration Act

October 15th, 2009 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

I think the Government is making a mistake by not conceding the law (passed by its predecessor) needs changing. The Herald reports:

The Immigration Advisers Authority has issued 18 warning letters to people it says are breaching the Immigration Advisers Licensing Act since it became law on May 4.

But a director of a defunct migrant workers support centre which received a warning says the authority is using the act to “attack migrant support services” rather than police dodgy immigration advisers. …

Mike Bell said he was forced to close the Skilled Migrant Resource Centre, a registered charity which operated as a drop-in support centre for skilled migrants, after being served a letter from the authority’s solicitor in July.

“I was told the reason I was sent the warning letter was because of my appearance on a TV3 news report where I apparently presented myself as an immigration adviser,” he said.

“Being served a notice like this, with up to seven years’ jail as a penalty, I took it very seriously.
“As a result, New Zealand’s only dedicated facility for skilled migrants was closed down.

Great.

Registrar Barry Smedts denied that the legislation was being used to target non-advisers, but would not say how many of the warning letters had been issued to unlicensed fee-charging advisers.

“The act is in place to protect migrants from poor advice from would-be experts. Forewarning letters have been sent to individuals whose activities appear to breach the act,” Mr Smedts said.

And this is the wrong focus. The focus should be to protect migrants from scamsters who offer a commercial service to assist people with gaining residency or work permits. By claiming their job is to protect against poor advice, suggest the Govt is guaranteeing all advice given will be “good”. I think most people can understand the difference between advice on a blogsite, or someone giving opinions on a TV interview, and a professional immigration advisor.

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