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Speaker: Low-quality language on immigration

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  • mark taslov, in reply to Farmer Green,

    But you weren’t saying that an anti-immigration bias is necessarily racist, I thought.

    In theory, I guess, anti-immigration bias isn’t always definitionally racist but in practice the exceptions are rarer than the kakapo.

    I can’t disagree with much in that article.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Farmer Green,

    The historical example is just history . Nothing unusual at the time .

    And extrapolating from the antics of the political class?

    You could do worse than read K.Emma Ng's Old Asian, New Asian, published by Bridget Williams Books. It's not "just history" we're talking about, and it's nothing unusual at this point in time, and it's not just the antics of the political class. Or you could do something as simple as ride the bus to work with my wife every morning. She's noticed that even in this very ethnically diverse corner of Aotearoa certain drivers tend to treat people of Asian appearance with less courtesy than they do others. Or let me show you how certain Pakeha kids, even at a school where several Asian languages are spoken, talk about or to their Asian classmates. None of this is "just history", it is still very much the present.

    No, xenophobia doesn't have to be racist - and I did once see Winston Peters question the right of a man with a scottish accent to question him at a political event at Otago University, and I thought, "Well, at least Winston has the decency to be an equal opportunities xenophobe, at least on this one occasion". But in the context of NZ society, "foreign" is all too often a code for "Asian", and comes loaded with negativity. Not always, but all too often.

    It would be nice to see an immigration debate stripped of any and all racism and xenophobia. I very much doubt that will ever happen, but it would be nice to see. It would also be nice to see a party with an immigration policy based firmly in humanitarian principles. Some come close, but none have won my trust yet, and NZ has spent decades reducing everything to a monetary value.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    It would also be nice to see a party with an immigration policy based firmly in humanitarian principles.

    Yes, and one which gives real consideration with respect to our shared governance with Maori. Not sure if I've posted this before, but it's a really interesting perspective from Ranginui Walker;

    http://www.thesocialcontract.com/artman2/publish/tsc0402/article_316.shtml

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Lynn Yum, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    This is the kind of reason why I kind of zoned out of this discussion, in addition to me forgetting the password here. Some people refuses to acknowledge this kind thing happening, even when there are credible testimony supporting it. I don't feel like I want to cry "racism!" every single time. It is taxing.

    I probably know a lot MORE Asian assholes simply because my social circle is a lot more Asian than your average Kiwi. Do I conclude, based on my data, that Asians are more likely to be assholes? No I don't. It is just people. Some people are just assholes. It has nothing to do with race. So whatever data people have on "Asians are asshole" have a perfectly good alternative explanation: it is just people.

    All we anti-racists ever ask for is to treat each individuals on their own merit, and make no prejudice based on skin colour. Hence I have every sympathy towards Maori and notice the subtle racism towards them in all section of NZ society (thus giving a free pass to politicians to diss them at will with little repercussion, chicken and egg).

    Auckland • Since Dec 2016 • 38 posts Report Reply

  • Neil,

    Having just watched the leaders debate Ardern wants to cut immigration because she's concerned about immigrants.

    Why cut immigration when you can make life easier for immigrants.

    Refugees often face a hard life. The answer isn't to decrease the number of refugees.

    Since Nov 2016 • 351 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Neil,

    You’re confusing two very different things there. Cutting immigration does not entail accepting fewer refugees. To put things in perspective: as of 2016, NZ had accepted only 33000 refugees in total since World War 2, but had had more than that number of immigrants in the past year alone.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1886 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Neil,

    Having just watched the leaders debate Ardern wants to cut immigration because she’s concerned about immigrants.

    Agree with linger, you've confused our high volume immigration policy with our dismal refugee quota. And I don't think Jacinda was referring to refugees in the debate. I think instead she was alluding to the exploitation of many of our recent immigrants, both migrant workers and migrant students - e.g., the article I posted earlier;

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/337158/the-outcome-of-these-10-years-is-not-even-zero

    and this;

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11766210

    The difficulty she has in being really forceful and pointed in explaining herself is that many of the employers and institutions that have been doing and benefiting from the exploitation vote too. It is a disgusting underbelly that has grown beyond belief under this National government and many NZers know that their livelihoods depend on this sad state of affairs. At the same time they also know that the current practices (often unlawful) are both unethical and unsustainable. So, they are the somewhat conflicted fence-sitters - embarrassed that they have taken part in the exploitation but unable to imagine an alternative.

    If we have a change in government it will take years to reverse this 'race to the bottom' damage that National has wrought and to wean ourselves back into a productive economy.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    it will take years to reverse this 'race to the bottom' damage that National has wrought

    I dunno, National has in other areas demonstrated a willingness to change the law when asked, then apply those changes very vigorously to the people who asked for them. Sure, it's usually "the dole is too low" and the change is to lower it, but the principle is there.

    I suspect even the fence-sitters would agree that reform is needed, everyone needs clear guidance and violations need to be punished. My understanding is that the minister could change the guidance and increase enforcement to solve the problem without even a law change - it's already illegal to pay below minimum wage etc.

    We've seen in Australia that it doesn't take much effort to find the violations, and action on those is generally easy. What's missing is political will, and usually a tiny bit of common sense. When you say to someone "I'm from the government, if you have this problem tell me and we will deport you"... that's not going to work.

    A tiny tweak to the departmental guidelines saying "exploited workers in this situation will not be deported for complying with illegal demands" would work wonders. Although from a government perspective, the wrong sort of wonder: many more complaints, evidence of widespread, systematic lawbreaking... from the donor class. Ooops.

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1193 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody, in reply to Moz,

    What’s missing is political will, and usually a tiny bit of common sense.

    Yes, lucky for our exploited migrants, certain international markets have the will and the ability to force change;

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/95595998/NZs-apple-and-pear-industry-goes-pip-squeaky-clean-on-labour-exploitation

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • Moz, in reply to Katharine Moody,

    certain international markets have the will and the ability to force change

    That's good news. I especially like that they're using their anti-slavery laws against us, because NZ likes to think of itself as above that sort of thing (the fishing industry {cough}).

    There is a certain circularity is stagnant/lowering wages putting pressure on people to buy cheaper food etc, which lowers margins in the food industry and puts pressure on wages. But then I look at where the money goes, and the percentage of GDP going to the owner class, and I think "like that, but the other way round". More money going to the richest, less for wages, less for food, fewer people can afford to say "slavery? no thanks".

    Sydney, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 1193 posts Report Reply

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