At the very end of a report in the Sunday Star-Times today, we learn that Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman has no immediate plans to change the country’s immigration approach.
“New Zealand’s immigration policy is firmly focused on attracting migrants who can contribute to New Zealand.”
That’s as it should be.
Well, almost as good as it should be.
It can be an ominous sign when a Minister says he has no immediate plans to do something.
But it’s bloody absurd to imagine immigration policy should be changed on the strength of (a) the urging of a stroppy Maori academic and (b) a survey showing Maori antipathy to immigrants.
The SST story was a follow-up to its report last week recording Maggie Mutu’s controversial call to curb white immigration.
Her comments were triggered by a Department of Labour report
…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.
Wow. Did that get us going?
According to the SST, the Race Relations office has received 30 complaints about her remarks and there have been calls for her sacking.
Dealing with those should keep Boris de Bres busy for a few hours.
Meanwhile the university is backing her right to free speech.
Good for them, although exercising the right to free speech can have consequences, and Alf would lose no sleep in this case if Mutu’s dismisal was the consequence.
He is by no means surprised, however, that Mutu is unmoved by the howls of outrage against her racist remarks (no doubt because in her bizarre view of things she is incapable of making a racist remark).
Mutu, head of Auckland University’s Maori studies department, is standing by her claim in last weekend’s Sunday Star-Times that immigrants from countries such as South Africa brought white supremacist attitudes with them.
A bloke called Mike Bell, founder of migration advice website Move2NZ, hits the nail on the head when he says Mutu’s comments are a sideshow.
“The real issue here is the Government report and the issues that have been highlighted by the report. That is quite a serious issue and needs to be looked at.”
Dunno if Mutu is shifting her ground in one respect.
Today she is quoted as saying she agrees with the Government report’s findings.
“Maori are desperate to get their own issues sorted out and feel very threatened as more groups come in and swamp them,” she said.
There’s a hint here that her objection is to all immigration, and not just white immigration.
Oh, and another prominent Maori academic, Ranginui Walker, is calling for New Zealanders to have a “rational” discussion about whether the immigration policy was fatally flawed.
He says many Maori feel the Government allows too many immigrants to enter the country, at the expense of the indigenous population.
But what would New Zealand be without immigrants?
Maori – after all – were migrants too.
And so were Alf’s great-grand parents.
Come to think of it, how long do you have to reside here before you can be called indigenous?
And why – in a modern democracy – should descendants of the first waka-loads of immigrants be treated differently from the descendants of those who came in sailing ships – or the ones who came in steam ships or airliners?
If we are going to debate immigration, let’s debate that too.