Green party condemn Immigration NZ for using data in a similar way to insurance companies

The Green party have condemned Immigration NZ for using statistical information based on immigrants personal data to assist them with deciding if they should be granted citizenship. List MP Golriz Ghahraman has stated that, “The use of identifiers such as race, age and gender in determining access to resource or opportunity is a clear breach of the New Zealand Human Rights Act.”

As the immigration spokesperson for the Green party, Ghahraman has written to the minister for immigration, expressing concern about what she calls the ministry’s “discriminatory use of immigrants’ personal data”.

Insurance companies use personal information about people’s gender, race and age to make decisions about what they can and can’t offer them all the time. How is it discriminatory to use statistical data to make a decision? If it is a statistical fact that a certain gender, race and age are most likely to be a drain on our health system in the future then why shouldn’t that be taken into consideration when weighing up different applications from immigrants?

If certain races and gender are statistically more likely to stay on welfare and to have lots of children and not contribute to New Zealand’s economy then why shouldn’t that be taken into consideration when comparing various applications?

If a certain gender, race and age is more likely to commit crimes and end up filling our already overflowing prisons then why shouldn’t those statistics, from both here and overseas, be used in order to assist the immigration officials to make a decision?

Gaining access to New Zealand is a privilege, not a human right and I expect Immigration New Zealand to pick immigrants who will contribute to our society and our economy. New Zealand is not a charity and we owe immigrants nothing.

Ghahraman, who in her press release could not resist mentioning that she is an ex-human-rights lawyer, said, “This latest breach by Immigration NZ is heartbreaking. Immigrants are not data points in an algorithm, they are people who contribute to our communities and to our economy. government departments should treat them accordingly.”

Statistics don’t lie and not all immigrants are equal. It is a complete falsehood to say that all immigrants contribute to our communities and our economy. Some only contribute to our crime and unemployment statistics.

Something tells me that Ghahraman and the Green party are worried that statistically, white immigrants and non-Muslims may come out with better scores than more ‘diverse’ immigrants if an unemotional statistical algorithm is applied to their personal data.


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