David Seymour dares me to say it like it is


On Saturday Whaleoil raised awareness of a survey that ACT’s David Seymour is running.

He wrote to me about the comments Whaleoil had published below it and I provided some clarification. But as he had my attention, he put a challenge to Whaleoil:

I also wonder if you might like to do a run down on party positions on refugees. Off the top of my head they are:

  • Nats: 600 additional Syrian refugees plus ongoing extra 250, took multiple positions to get here
  • Labour/Greens/UF/MP: Double the quota
  • NZF: Would increase quota if immigration reduced, no detail as usual
  • ACT: Consistently, the quota should be indexed to population growth, rebased on 1987, giving a quota of about 1050 today. We have also said that all permanent arrivals should have to sign a NZ values statement.

I took the opportunity to reply to him that the issue is about a lot more than refugee numbers. I wrote:  

Most people aren’t against immigration and/or refugees in principle. The fear that is building is that we are letting people live here who simply can not integrate with our way of life because their belief system/way of life explicitly forbids it. Then, once they have the power of numbers, will use democracy to try to change our lives to be more like theirs. The extreme of this would be Sharia. An example is the enclaves in democratic Europe.

For some people that is too nuanced so they just go for all refugees and/or all immigration.

There are votes for a party that manages to make the distinction clear.  [ACT’s] values statement is simply something that can be signed. As a country, we need to have a solution where people who do not believe in equal rights for women, who can not have their children swim with our children, who segregate their schooling and who promote different standards for men and women at all levels of society.

To which David replied:

Yes, but it is rather difficult to sanction people according to values they’ve never actually agreed to. Half the NZ media was having a go at me for the values statement release.  HDPA even compared me to Hitler, which should tell you something. Gay NZ defended it but not a peep from WO. If you believe what you’re saying [above], and I have no doubt you do, then how ‘bout a little support, eh?

I know David follows Whaleoil, but he can’t have been here on the many days it has taken a very similar position. But no, we didn’t support ACT’s Values Agreement for immigrants specifically because it is a pointless document.

In the end, what we are all trying to desperately avoid saying are the I and the M words. The Values agreement is easily signed by a German immigrant, but also by one from Somalia.

But Whaleoil, or me for that matter, doesn’t dance around the issue. Yes, Muslims are living in harmony, by and large, with the rest of New Zealand society. It needs to be realised, though, this is because their numbers are few. When I parent help on school outings, even the Muslim girls who go to state schools are prevented by their culture and religion from participating in a number of activities that the rest of us would consider part of normal life, like a swim.

When we have 13 and 14-year-old girls running around in bikinis and their Muslim peers are covered head-to-toe while reading a book or playing on their phones, hidden away in a corner, I can’t see integration.

All I can see are the seeds of a problem that we have seen planted and mature in Europe.

Voters are looking for a party with the courage to represent this point of view. It is based simply on the idea that there are people in the world who can not integrate with Kiwis without compromising on a large part of their own deeply held beliefs. After all the fighting New Zealand has done for women and gay rights, we are now going to turn a blind eye by importing cultures that don’t value women and gay as equals, and go as far as to subjugate them or even kill them in the countries they come from.

I believe Whaleoil and its readers would, by and large, support the doubling of a refugee quota if there was a guarantee that refugees are culturally compatible with integration. The fear is that by importing certain Muslim refugees we are asking people to compromise on their deeply held beliefs in exchange for being able to live in a safe country. And since telling apart the integrating Muslims from the devout ones isn’t easy, we must in the first instance err on the side of caution.

With Europe as the backdrop and the example, New Zealand has the opportunity to do better here.  Voters are looking for a champion, a champion who is going to be called racist and compared with Hitler. That’s the limit of the argument of those who think that defending New Zealand stops at having customs and few frigates on fisheries’ patrol.


– Pete

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