Greens counter Peters with welcoming immigration policy

Anti-immigration feeling has no place in the Green party Immigration and Population policies released today, Green MP Keith Locke says.

“Our policy is the opposite of Winston Peters’,” the Party’s Immigration Spokesperson Keith Locke says.

“We have no fear of migrants. The Green Party says ‘Welcome Home – this is your country now’. Our welcome extends to the families of new migrants. The Green Party policy is fundamentally humanitarian, not exclusionary like Mr Peters’.

“Rather than foster suspicion about refugees, we want New Zealand to do more to provide a safe haven for those fleeing from oppression. Our policy proposes an increase in annual refugee intake from the present 750 to 1000 by 2010.

“We also want New Zealand to prepare for a new category of refugees, those from Pacific nations whose low-lying countries are threatened by climate change.

“The Green Party policy is not based on prejudice, but an objective analysis of what level of migration is compatible with a sustainable New Zealand.

“Racism has no place in the selection of migrants. Unlike Mr Peters, we don’t start with an assumption that ‘Kiwi values’ are somehow superior to those of new migrants.

“In fact, more effort needs to be put into educating New Zealanders about the cultures and religions brought here by new migrants.

“This will help overcome the discrimination that new migrants often confront in the job market. We would particularly assist migrant professionals to get jobs in the areas they have been trained for. We need them.

“The Green Party wants more resources put into settlement programmes for new migrants, including a more generous provision of English language classes.

“It is important that New Zealand isn’t seen as anti-migrant. After all, the number of Kiwis migrating to other lands is roughly equal to the number of migrants coming here. Migrant-bashing will only put off the skilled migrants we need to fill the gaps left by departing Kiwis,” Mr Locke says.

Follow links to the policy summaries: