Immigration or invasion flyers in Christchurch

The Press reports that flyers titled “Immigration or Invasion” has been distributed in Christchurch by a group called New Zealand Right Wing Resistance.

Some thoughts on the arguments presented:

“If current trends continue, whites will soon be a minority in this country”.

That’s a well-known fact. Not just in New Zealand. Around the world white people are having fewer kids. So it’s no surprise that the proportion of whites will continue to dwindle.

I imagine similar conversations happening in Christchurch in the 1800s along the lines of “If current trends continue, Maori will soon be a minority in this country”.

“Uncivilised immigrants are turning New Zealand into a third world slum. They come to take advantage of our welfare systems, they take our already scarce jobs, they disrespect our culture and have no interest in the wellbeing of our once great nation.”

These “uncivilised immigrants” are the very people propping up the New Zealand economy. Globally, it’s

well acknowledged that immigrants give more than they take as a whole. If immigrants uproot their lives in order to move their family to New Zealand, don’t you think perhaps they may want to contribute towards their adopted home, in order for a brighter future for the kids? It’s preposterous to suggest

immigrants come to New Zealand to sabotage this country so that their kids have no future here.

Some of us “uncivilised immigrants” take it a step further; creating jobs, paying taxes, paying people who pay taxes, buying from local suppliers etc.

Hon Jonathan Coleman, Minister of Immigration, commenting on the Department of Labour research on the economic impact of immigrants to New Zealand, says: “Without current levels of inward migration, both our population base and economy would shrink dramatically. By 2021, our population would drop by 9.6 per cent and our GDP would drop by 11.3 percent. There would be a 10.9 percent drop in the available labour force and the export sector would be savaged with volumes dropping by 12.9 percent.

“What this research tells us is that immigration contributes significantly to every New Zealander’s per capita income”.

“They bring crime, spread previously foreign diseases inter-breed with our people, and are increasingly taking over our schools, putting our own children at a disadvantage.”

Anyone who has ever attended a school prize-giving ceremony in any urban New Zealand town will see that there is a disproportionate number of Asian immigrant kids winning prizes. If that is what is meant by “taking over our schools” I’m not sure if that’s a bad thing. After all, the people complaining are supposedly the the very people who champion meritocracy and complain about affirmative action for Maori. It’s no secret. The reason immigrant kids are “taking over our schools” is simply because they work harder, in spite of English often not

being their first language, and in spite of many having come from humble family backgrounds. Encouraging people to succeed in spite of adversity is supposedly a very Kiwi value. So I’ve heard.

“Don’t allow yourself to be misled by this corrupt financially useless, multiculturalist, perverted Government! Stop sitting back on the sideline, DO SOMETHING for your people and your nation! Send them home and close the borders!

Ahh… when all arguments fail…there’s always the standard line: Ching Chong, go home.

I suppose there’s only a very small minority who share the sentiments of this white supremacist group. What’s worrying however is the number of people who have voiced their support for this group in the comments section of The Press article.

At Euroasia, our corporate vision has always been about “connecting people across cultures”. Though we are in the business of providing foreign language courses for Kiwis, in reality we do more than that. We help New Zealanders better understand people from other cultures, and vice-versa. 9 times out of 10, misunderstanding occurs because of a lack of communication between parties, and unchallenged misconceptions about the other party. We are now offering our language courses in Christchurch. Hopefully we can play a small role in bridging the gap between immigrants and locals in Christchurch.

INVASION?

or

INVESTMENT?

Posted via email from Euroasia

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Why NZ needs more immigrants in recessionary times

There are some sectors calling out for a reduction in the number of immigrants to New Zealand as the economy slows down and jobs become more scarce. This will intensify in coming months as the unemployment rate creeps up. Unions and out-of-work locals will no doubt pressure government to tighten immigration policy. We may see an increase in protectionist measures; more funding for Buy New Zealand made and government bailouts of uncompetitive firms.

In my view, this would be the worst possible response to an already dire situation.

I came across an interesting article in the New York Times by the author of “The World is Flat”, Thomas Friedman a few days ago. He says

If there is one thing we know for absolute certain, it’s this: Protectionism did not cause the Great Depression, but it sure helped to make it “Great.” From 1929 to 1934, world trade plunged by more than 60 percent — and we were all worse off.

Immigrants to New Zealand work the hardest, get paid the least and put their hard-earned money to good use: investing in local businesses and saving for their children's education. Immigrants are less likely to splurge on non-value-adding plasma TVs and imported Italian designer furniture.

Immigrants, by their very nature, tend to be ambitious and enterprising. Why else would they travel thousands of kilometres to a distant land, far away from their families, to start over?

More than half of Silicon Valley start-ups were founded by immigrants over the last decade. These

immigrant-founded tech companies employed 450,000 workers and had sales of $52 bill

ion in 2005, according to research by Vivek Wadhwa,  in an essay published this week on BusinessWeek.com.

The fear that many ordinary Kiwis have is that immigrants will steal their jobs because they are willing to work for next to nothing. Even if this was true (which it is not), so what? We all need to wake up to the new reality. We cannot afford to rest on our laurels and become increasingly less competitive on a global scale. We need smart, resourceful, connected and hard working immigrants in New Zealand. Current immigration policy does not give much scope for low-quality immigrants to enter New Zealand in any case.

The other myth is that immigrants make no economic contribution to New Zealand. Recent studies show the net impact for having an immigrant here is $3.29 billion, or $3547 per capita, while the net per capita contribution of a New Zealand-born is just $915. Immigrants are 4 times more valuable than locals.

Immigrants are willing to work harder and not mind getting paid less. Is that such a bad thing? Are we crying exploitation because we are genuinely concerned for the welfare of immigrants or simply because we don't want anyone to rock the cushy boat?

Smart, ambitious and hardworking immigrants are good for this country. Having more such immigrants in New Zealand would increase not just the number but quality of jobs, resulting in a more prosperous nation in more ways than one.

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Who should immigrants vote for?

I just received an email from an old friend who now lives in London with the subject line: “Any recommendations on who to vote for?”  This came after my sister asked me last night, “how does one decide on whether to vote for National or Labour?”

“National's colour is green right?… oops no, that's National Bank”

I then asked my sister what's the first thing you think of when I say National? “John Key”

She could be the odd one out. On more than one occasion, I have been asked by migrants: “Is John Key National or Labour?” Apparently, my sister's friends at uni like the Greens because they have cool posters. I like their billboards too, not too sure about their policies, but yeah, they have nice artwork.

It got me thinking, how do people decide who to vote for? This question is particularly relevant for immigrants who have limited experience of New Zealand politics. Even more so for migrants who don't understand the Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) system. And what if you don't have much experience with the democratic process?

In many countries, politicians do not necessarily think of themselves as the people's representatives, forgetting that the real bosses are the people who put them there.  In any case, in more corrupt democracies (oxymoron?), election results can be rigged.  As such, perhaps many immigrants may not understand the power in their hands.

In this article, I attempt to answer the frequently-asked-question “who should I vote for?” with a 5-point checklist for migrants.

For those of you too busy to read the long version, please scroll to the bottom of this article for a 3-point shortcut version that is applicable to Europeans, Maori, Pasifika, Asians and migrants of every ethnic group.

1) Register to vote.

This is first base. If you're not registered to vote, you can't just turn up to vote. Last day to enrol is 7 November (election next day on 8 November).  In New Zealand, even permanent residents are entitled to vote, not just citizens. Many PRs have told me they didn't realise that. You have to be 18 years or older and have lived in New Zealand for one year or more without leaving the country.

2) Understand the New Zealand electoral process.

Each voter has two votes …

… a party vote and an electorate vote.

youhave2votes.gif

Your party vote …

… helps decide how many seats each party gets in parliament. 

The government will be formed by one or more parties with the support of enough seats to win important votes in parliament.

Parliament is currently made up of 62 general and 7 Māori electorate seats, plus 51 seats allocated from party lists, giving a total of 120 seats.

Your electorate vote…

… helps decide who becomes your local MP. 

Each electorate has a different selection of candidates to choose from.

Electorate candidates can include independents and candidates from parties not contesting the party vote. 

The candidate who gets the most votes wins the seat.

(Source: Elections website)

Most migrants understand the electorate vote, but many migrants have no idea what the party vote is. The party vote is critical because every vote goes towards a pool and at the end of the day, they work out the % of votes each party obtained. This is roughly the % of seats the party will have in Parliament.

More details can be found on the elections website.

[poll id=”2″]

3) Decide what is important to you

What are you most passionate about? Education? Student loans? Economy? Health etc?  

What would you like to see changed? What are you absolutely certain about?

You want to choose a candidate/ political party that fights for what you believe in. BUT you would not be able to find a single candidate or party who would agree with you 100%. This is why you have to decide on what is important, and what you can compromise on. 

There are 2 main political parties in New Zealand. The current Government is led by the Labour Party (under Helen Clark). Polls indicate that National Party has a good chance of winning. Then again, last time around, the polls said the same thing, and Labour Party still managed to form government. Look through the political party websites to see what they stand for. 

National Party: http://www.national.org.nz/About/standsfor.aspx

Labour Party: http://www.labour08.co.nz/policies/

There are many other minor political parties including New Zealand First, Maori Party, Act Party, Greens etc. You can google them.

4) Check out the candidates and parties.

Find out who is standing in your electorate. Attend political talks and debates. You can look at the political party websites to see where the next seminars are. A good source of information is your local community newspaper (eg. Central Leader), which advertises the upcoming political debates, rallies and seminars.

Keep up with the elections news. TV and newspapers are the traditional sources of information. Check out the blogs too. Google Blogs: elections NZ

One of the great things with living in this country is seeing ordinary folk walking up to MPs, complaining about footpaths being too narrow, high food and petrol prices and schools not teaching enough maths, languages etc. What's more amazing is how attentive politicians are, even when it's not election season. Do not be afraid to talk to politicians and ask hard questions. Don't worry. No one will laugh at your English.

Just because you're Asian doesn't mean you need to vote for an Asian. In fact, the pakeha guy may be more Asian-friendly than the Asian 🙂 Similarly, European New Zealanders shouldn't be afraid of voting for Asian politicians. This relates to the previous point: What is important to you?

5) Go with your heart.

The messages voters get are really confusing. It's very hard even for born-and-bred Kiwis to decide on who to vote for, let alone migrants. Ultimately, after having done your research, you will then need to decide on which candidate or party that is closest to your ideal.  

Perhaps one reason I get asked by migrants who to vote for is because they are trying to seek confirmation that the candidate/party they have chosen is the “right one”. The fear is that because they don't understand the New Zealand political process, perhaps there's the risk of choosing the wrong party (say one which is anti-immigration).

My personal view is that both the main parties are not that far apart policy-wise.  Although I have decided on who to give my party vote to, I don't think it's the end of the world if either of the big party forms government. 

As for my electorate vote, I'm still having a tough time deciding between Richard Worth and Rodney Hide. 

p/s: Don't ask who I'm voting for. I'm not saying 🙂

Who to vote? The 3-point version

OK you're here because you're too lazy to read my 5-point checklist, let alone do the research, so the shortcut way to decide on who to vote for is to:

1) Find 5 friends/family members who share similar values with you

2) Ask them who they are voting for and why

3) If you agree with their views, go with the majority vote.

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Asians with small hands: A study in political correctness

I didn't personally find National MP Lockwood Smith's comments about Asians having small hands offensive. Of course, one would assume that senior politicians would be a bit more guarded with public comments.  Apparently, Maori Party co-leader Tariana Turia said the comments were racist and she does not think he could now be immigration minister.

I don't know if we're

all being oversensitive here, but do other Asians mind that Lockwood Smith mentioned what is widely accepted anyway ie. Asians have smaller hands than Europeans.

But just because this was widely accepted doesn't mean it's right, so I googled “do asians have smaller limbs?” Voila. First on the list: Journal of Applied Physiology study to back up Lockwood Smith's case. For those of you more scientifically inclined, feel free to download the journal article for bedtime reading.

Skeletal muscle mass in prepubertal Asian children has not been examined previously. The aims of this study were to test the hypotheses that 1) prepubertal Asians have less appendicular skeletal muscle (ASM) mass compared with African-Americans and Caucasians, and 2) ASM is less in prepubertal Asian girls compared with Asian boys.

Anyway, my point is I'm struggling to figure out what is inherently wrong with him passing a comment like that in the context of a suggestion on how to solve the labour problems growers have. We have all heard stories of fruit rotting on trees because Kiwis don't want to be fruit pickers.

I'm sure Lockwood Smith would have learnt from his mistakes, and next time he'll say Asians make better surgeons because they have small hands, in which case, no one would complain.

Is anyone else tired of all the PC mumbo jumbo gobbledygook or is it just me?

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Asians go home!

Yes,

it must be election time again. And once again it's time to pick on the Asians.

Why is it that it's always Asians and Arabs that get picked on? How come no one's calling for Pacific Islanders to be sent home? Is it because they are bigger and hence more likely to win a fist-fight?

I expect comments like those made by New Zealand First Deputy Leader Peter Brown to increase in frequency as the general election approaches.  Of course migrants need to integrate. It goes without saying. Why else would they come to this faraway land and leave their friends and family behind if they had no desire whatsoever to integrate? In any case, effective settlement does not depend on immigrants adopting a new set of values and behaviours and ditching their own.

It must be a 2-way process. Most migrants are not interested in building “Asian mini-societies”. I think those who do have no choice, having been rejected by the host community. Browsing through the Herald reader responses to Peter Brown's comments, I think I can safely say that the sad fact is a significant number of locals believe Asian migrants should drop everything they believe in and adopt “Kiwi” ways of life – whatever that means. I have come to the conclusion that when locals say you have to “be Kiwi”, in reality the message is “be like me”. One respondent said “with the influx of immigrants from different ethnic groups, our culture and values are changing. It seems, so as to not offend these newcomers, our public Christmas celebrations have been watered down!” Another: “Silly that we let so many people into this country that can speak little if any English at all”.

The fact is most migrants can speak English, and can speak it well, some even better than locals. If we measure the desire to integrate on the basis of language ability, my guess is 90% of migrants speak good enough English for most jobs. However, 90% of born-and-bred Kiwis speak only one language well, ie English. So who's not really wanting to integrate here? Of course you would argue that this is an English-speaking country, but doesn't the fact that most Kiwis can't speak any other language and have little desire to do so a sad indictment?

I feel a little uncomfortable writing this, seeing I have many good friends who are of New Zealand European or Maori descent, and I can't say that they have ever told me to be more Kiwi in a derogatory way. OK maybe sometimes, when I express my dislike for vegemite or weetbix.  It would be most unfair for me to tar all Kiwis with the same brush, in the same way that those people who have responded on the Herald website have concluded about Asian migrants.

Many Asian migrants are sick and tired of all this rubbish. They don't want to be treated in this manner anymore. Especially not in the new New Zealand, where 1 in 4 residents was born overseas.

This could explain why Asians and other immigrants are swinging to National in this election at twice the rate of any other group, according to a Herald survey. Of 38 “Asians and others” asked, 21 said they voted Labour last time, and only 8 are staying with the party this year. Whether this is fair, I don't know.

But I'll be Kiwi now and just call it like I see it.

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