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Thursday, August 26, 2004

Calling a spade a spade?  

When Act MP Richard Prebble said the Government was deliberately letting in "illiterate Afghani camel drivers" at the expense of English-speaking immigrants it drew criticism from Amnesty International and numerous others, including one writer published on Scoop who mentioned there had been an anti-racism march "barely a day before" in Wellington.

I'm no fan of Act and its policies, although I respected Prebble for having the guts to come to Auckland University's quad several years ago- where he was egged - and debating/defending his principles.

Not often you see politicians prepared to cop such a hostile audience - Don, Helen!!

While his "illiterate Afghani camel drivers" comment might be offensive to Afghanis, I feel he's got a point.

When I finished tertiary education and was looking for a job I applied for the dole as I had numerous unpaid "work experience" days lined up with different organsiations over a four or five week period.

When I went to the compulsory dole sign-up day I was rather bemused to see that 1) I was the only one who had a solid grasp of english there and 2) I was the only NZ European as the census brackets me.

Probably six or so were elderly Asians while the other two or three were Middle Eastern in origin.

I feel it is noble and considerate that we let in 750 vulnerable refugees each year; refugees who understandably may not have a good grasp on english.

However, if my WINZ experience is anything to go by, - and I take it the other 9 were not all exclusive vulnerable refugees - then we're letting in, and the public is paying for, a whole lot more than 750 non-english speaking people who never had a realistic chance of employment.

It's not even english that is the key here either, if a french speaker wants to come here, has work lined up, hey that's cool.

But what seems really shit is that recently I had a British flatmate who was working happily as a secretary for a three-person business and the Immigration Department denied her an extension on her work permit, and residency, and she had to leave.

This was despite her employer writing to the immigration service and saying that her presence was essential to their business.

It seems counter-productive that New Zealand will deny constructive members of the workforce a place in our country while promoting and subsidising the inclusion of those who are, by comparison, economically worthless - or often worse than worthless as the case may be.

Prebble's illiterate afghani camel driver comments might have been a cheap shot but I there are a hell of a lot more than 750 immigrants coming here each year and living off the State.

Saw a couple of interesting things in the Herald about this issue. The one about the refugee who won a top award at his law school in Auckland and the other about sod al refugees finding work. A bit too tipsy to try linking to them.

I'd like to know how these 'bludgers' for want of a better word get into the country. I assume they are parents of migrants who came earlier and now have NZ residency in many cases.

In Korea the dole basically DOES not exist. There's no way in a million years I could get any money from the government in Korea. Either I have a job here and contribute taxes or I'm on the first plane out of the country.

What benefit they do have is very recent and is limited to people who have been laid off by large company restructuring and is only paid out for about 6 months with people being able to get a small extension in some circumstances.

I much prefer the generosity of the NZ system over the you're in the gutter system in Korea but the cultures function so differently that it's fairly useless comparing.

But there is no doubt that if migrants attain NZ residency that there should be restrictions, if not on the family members that they can bring to the country, then certainly on the amount of money they are eligible to receive. The families should have to take on more of the burden I feel.
Before bestowing too many laurels on Prebble, let's not forget that his criticisms of immigration policy really have all the makings of a "White New Zealand" policy. Just like the "White Australia" policy, it is couched in terms of "language skills". And he throws in a bit of environmental determinism for good measure (y'know those black fellas don't like the cold!). Which only supports my call for more (i.e., any) international cricketing fixtures in Dunedin.

Getting back to the issue, see:

In Early 2002, Mr Prebble, reportedly stated that "instead of taking refugees from "desert cultures" such as Somalians, New Zealand should take "refugees who would have no difficulty integrating into New Zealand society - for example, white farmers being driven off their land in Zimbabwe."

In January 2002 Mr Prebble had suggested replacing refugees from "desert cultures" with "refugees who would have no difficulty integrating into New Zealand" and then cited white farmers in Zimbabwe being driven off their land as a good example. A month later in February 2002 Mr Prebble had this to say.

"White farmers being driven off their land in Zimbabwe are real refugees and they'd make good citizens but they'd never be selected by this politically correct government."

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