Second class citizens?

The political events of the last week took away any possibility of other news items becoming mainstream, and that is very dangerous. One event, in particular, is something we need to be aware of.

Newstalk ZB ?reported last week that Scott Morrison (the current prime minister of Australia, in case you had lost count) has announced that he is open to allowing refugees on the island of Nauru to be sent to New Zealand, as Jacinda Ardern so desperately wants, but there is a catch. He is only prepared to do so if legislation is passed closing any ‘backdoor entry’ to Australia for these people. quote.

Morrison said legislation that would prevent anyone transferred to New Zealand could not travel to Australia would need to occur first.

“There is a bill still sitting in the Senate from 2016 that would close the back door from New Zealand to Australia, which is opposed by the Labor party and the Greens and the crossbench senators preventing that protection being put in place,” he said.

“I would urge them to reconsider their position on that.” end quote.

This bill, if passed, would prevent any asylum seekers who arrived by boat from mid-2013 onwards from being able to apply for an Australian visa. In other words, the boats may come, but none of the people on board will ever qualify for Australian residency. This would be a smart move by Australia to halt the people smugglers forever. It is not only about controlling immigration – it is also about stopping people travelling to their deaths in leaky boats once they had paid for their passage.

As?Mike Hosking?pointed out, in an interview with Winston Peters, this would create a second class of citizens in New Zealand.

At the moment, all New Zealand citizens are allowed to travel freely to Australia without a visa. However, if the Australian senate passes this bill, and the 150 refugees that Jacinda wants are brought here, they will never have that right. Not ever.

In the interview, Winston Peters was fairly circumspect, pointing out that the Wentworth election was (at the time) still to be held, and this might have an impact on whether or not the bill would eventually be passed by the senate. He conceded that it would create a group of ‘second class’ citizens which, as Mike Hosking says, is not the way we generally do things in New Zealand.

I think we have to face the fact that the Australian administration is being pressured to do something about refugees held both on Manus Island and in Nauru; but our problem is that we have a government that would open the doors to the lot, no matter what their physical or mental condition and also no matter whether their refugee status is genuine or not.

Mike Hosking has thrown us a lifeline, by pointing out that going down the ‘kindness’ route is going to create a lower tier of New Zealand citizenship for those refugees. This gives Winston Peters a great opportunity to refuse to take them on the grounds that creating ‘second-class citizens’ is not the way we do things here.

Like many of you, I do not want these people brought to New Zealand. We have enough problems trying to house and provide for our own people, and for those that come here legitimately. There is no doubt that this matter is going to come to a head for Australia at some point. Maybe this will be our lifeline to refusing them entry after all. Jacinda won’t mind, because taking them on any basis will make her look good at the UN, and then she can still wag her finger at Australia for being uncaring but Winston might want to prevent this knowing that there is little desire among the voters to bring these people here. We all know he could pull it off if he has a mind to do so.