I do want to comment on the broader issue around how New Zealand deals with this issue of cultural tolerance, because, yes, we want to be a country that welcomes a diverse range of countries. I am one of those of the view that we are a richer country for the wide range of people that come to our country. Today, there’s been a very significant celebration in my own community of those that have come from Burma as migrants, as they’ve marked the “8/08/88” of their communities and the harshness, and their culture. But where is that line that we need to find as a Parliament between being culturally sensitive to people that may not see things in the way in which New Zealand’s own cultures have developed, and, on the other hand, being firm enough that, actually, no, these things, regardless of culture, are not right.
This is a key issue. One should welcome our blend of cultures and tolerate or even appreciate the differences. I have no problem saying I do support multiculturalism. But not at the expense of our core beliefs – you don’t kill apostates, stone gays, treat women as second class citizens, do arranged marriages of children etc.
The vast majority of migrants do integrate into New Zealand and we are fortunate that at almost every workplace and school in NZ, we have a diverse range of people and cultures.
But we do see in Europe areas that integration has not worked in some countries are areas. Where the cultures do not integrate, but clash. That is what we need to avoid.