Winston’s immigration antics would make Saddam proud

The Government has effectively surrendered New Zealand’s immigration policy to the xenophobic clutches of Winston Peters, says Green MP Keith Locke.

“Who is the Minister of Immigration, Swain or Peters?” asked Mr Locke, the Green Party’s Human Rights Spokesperson.

“Political interference in due process is exactly what we used to see in Iraq. If his recent behaviour is anything to go by, Winston Peters would take some of his leads from Saddam Hussein if he ever got to lead our country.

“It is simply not acceptable for an Immigration Minister to force the cancellation of the visitor’s visa of someone applying for residence under the family reunification programme. It is very dangerous for immigration processes to be politicised in this way and undermines the rights of intending residents to due process.

“We now find that even the new Iraqi government has given the former diplomat, Omar Mohammed Al-Omar, a clearance. We all know that many officials in the new Iraqi government also served under Saddam Hussein. Such civil servants, including diplomats, are not necessarily considered to be criminals, or direct participants in the barbaric acts of Saddam’s regime.

“Mr Al-Omar, who naturally enough is seeking to be reunified with his New Zealand citizen son, may or may not be an appropriate person to be given residency. But he should at least be given the courtesy of his application being properly assessed without Ministerial pressure,” said Mr Locke.