Peters views damaging to migrants: Professor Shameem
Massey University's new migrants director Professor Shaista Shameem says New Zealand First leader Winston Peters risks serious harm to new migrant communities in New Zealand with his speech on immigration yesterday.
"Mr Peters does not realise just how much distress he is causing the new migrant communities in New Zealand when he takes to the podium to make the kinds of remarks he made in his state of the nation address in Auckland," Professor Shameem says.
"Such speeches have the effect of encouraging and facilitating outright racism against new migrants in New Zealand and cause serious harm to the safety and security of minority groups who have made their home here.
"Before launching his anti-immigration missiles, Mr Peters should take a moment to consider how his words can make migrant children suffer as targets of racial violence in the playground and classrooms. He should also consider how his speeches have the effect of causing direct and indirect discrimination in the workplace. Many employers, fuelled by the words of an accomplished politician such as Mr Peters, make life very difficult for their new migrant workers through exploitation, humiliation and abuse.
"Immigration to New Zealand does not benefit only migrants, as Mr Peters alleges. While many of them face tough challenges at first, most end up making a better life for themselves and their families and, in the process, help make New Zealand more cosmopolitan and vibrant. We all know that new migrants contribute to expanding the cultural capital of New Zealand.
"Mr Peters should also realise that his speeches against immigration have the inevitable effect of causing harm to the already vulnerable members of migrant groups. Women and children of minority populations in particular are not in a position to protect themselves from being targets of racial hatred caused by the thoughtless and dangerous comments that Mr Peters often lets loose on the general public.
"Mr Peters may well have a point or two to make about past and present governments' migration policies; however, he should try to make those points without encouraging entrenchment of existing ethnic prejudices in our society."
Senior New Migrant leader appointed: Professor Shaista Shameem
Massey University has appointed Professor Shaista Shameem to the newly created role of Director – New Migrants. Assistant Vice-Chancellor Māori and Pasifika, Dr Selwyn Katene says the new role is essential to meet the needs of the changing demographics of Aotearoa New Zealand.
“People from a number of different ethnicities now make up our country, and as a university of the new New Zealand, we need to ensure we consider the needs of these communities. This position will be integral to ensuring how Massey works effectively with new migrant constituents — especially in the Auckland region. Professor Shameem has strong academic law background both in New Zealand and internationally. She has worked with the United Nations on international human rights issues so she is fully equipped to lead," says Dr Katene.
Describing the position as both progressive and exciting, Professor Shameem says it shows Massey is looking to acquire new ways of thinking from new migrants. “New Zealand attracts new migrants all the time, making the country more vibrant and cosmopolitan. New migrants often bring with them a wealth of knowledge and experiences. Massey University - especially because of the work that Distinguished Professor Paul Spoonley has completed - is streets ahead of any other institution in New Zealand to understand and address new migrant issues in a comprehensive way,” she says.
“I look forward to working with Massey colleagues to support and enhance the work the university has started, and to build on that excellent foundation.” A key focus for the incoming director will be to connect with and investigate how Massey can help ease issues for new migrants to New Zealand,
“New migrants face enormous challenges when they go to any country to study, and New Zealand is no exception. Having been a new migrant myself, I know from first-hand experience the issues that are encountered.”
According to Statistics New Zealand, in June 2013 Auckland’s population grew by over 21,000 people, with 32 per cent of this growth coming from net migration into the region.
Peters on Immigration:
"With immigration, few of the former objectives are present today. Previously, immigration filled skills gaps in employment, education, science, medicine and industry.
We bought in young men and women, young families who would reinvigorate our population and make a lifetime of contribution to our economy. They never embarked from offshore without first having a job and a house to live in.This policy resulted in a second generation proud to call themselves Kiwis.
For the past three decades New Zealand governments have adopted policies of open door immigration. Over the past five years the New Zealand population has had a turnover of twelve per cent.
In total half a million people have moved into and out of New Zealand. That is a staggering figure for a small country. New Zealand has gone from a nation of united people to an urban collection of communities, many clinging to where they were, rather than where they are now. We have the Chinese community, the Pacific Islands community, the Sri Lankans, the Indians - the list is endless. All hyphenated New Zealanders.
Now let’s be clear. A great number of these people have been enormous contributors to New Zealand’s economic and social life, but there has been a huge cost in infrastructural, educational, health and governmental demands.
All of these costs are being overlooked in an attempt to tell you that if only we increase our population, economic boom times will come. Well we’ve done that for the last 30 years, so where is the boom?
We are all proud of our heritage – we all come from somewhere else, even the Māori, but when we are here we should be New Zealanders. It’s as simple as this.
Our last census had boxes for virtually every race on earth. Except one. There was no box for you to tick that you are a New Zealander. There are more than 75 languages catered for by the Auckland health board.
Now, there are three official languages for New Zealand – English, Maori and New Zealand Sign Language. When people come to New Zealand, New Zealand First says they should fit in and contribute to our laws, our values, our culture, language and traditions.
That doesn’t mean abandoning identity. The Irish, Scots, Welsh, Dalmatians never did, nor did the Dutch, but if you look at our successful immigration programmes in the past, they were based on the critical things that people need – a house, health, education and skills, jobs and first world wages.
Sadly, New Zealand is losing many of its young, trained workers and replacing them often with untrained, unskilled immigrants. The very people who say today that we’ve got a population aging problem, by some intellectual gymnastics defend the policy that allows more than forty per cent of immigrants to New Zealand from one country to be over 50 years of age.
This policy is economic lunacy. Which New Zealand prime minister in the hundred years prior to 1984 would have tolerated this?
One of the disastrous consequences from this policy now sees hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders in Australia being treated as second class citizens.
And when you hear politicians and commentators complaining about it, please ask them – what did you do, before or after 2001, to prevent this happening? No doubt they will cough and splutter and move on to a different subject.
And whilst we are at it, why is the Government issuing tens of thousands of work permits to foreigners when New Zealanders can’t get jobs?
Last year, just one example, endlessly repeated, the Government issued 49 essential work visas to foreigners to be checkout operators!
There is the old Greek saying – ‘those the gods would destroy, they first make mad’.
These unfocussed immigration policies and handing out of work visas like an eight-armed octopus happen because it means a flow of cheap labour that drags down wages and conditions.
Ladies and gentlemen, the next government must make serious changes to immigration.
The next government must focus on people we need, not people who need us.
Economics, like charity, begins at home."
Championing Migrant Rights in New Zealand: Professor Shaista Shameem slams Winston Peters racist Open Door Immigration speech