The government has apologised for the dawn raids featuring the Prime Minister’s trade mark compassion.
I’m not doubting her sincerity. But apologising for actions of previous governments that took place before she was born is so much easier than the apology, and amends, she owes for the inhumane treatment of families split by the Immigration Ministry’s intransigence over reuniting them:
Only 560 people qualified for a border exemption that the government announced in April to reunite split families.
Today, one man will get to hold his 18-month-old son, whom he has not seen since he was four days old.
Meanwhile, his family’s friends are having to explain to their six-year-old girl why waiting on a visa decision meant she could not yet be reunited with her father while her friend is.
Olivia Constable has started doubting her Mum’s promise that “we’ll see Daddy again one day, but not sure which”.
“She asked my friend Debbie whether the phone conversations she has with Bart on FaceTime ‘is that pre-recorded, is it like a movie?'” said her mother Caroline Waldron. “Because it feels to her like they are saying the same thing every time. And if it’s a recording of some sort she is listening to, and is her Dad actually dead?” . .
This is cruel and unusual punishment for people with skills the country desperately needs and their families.
Henco de Beer, whose family are among the few permitted entry, explains the consequences of keeping families apart:
“I know of many people who are going through divorce cases, families falling apart, and children who are seeking psychological help, children who refuse to speak to their parents, getting up to nonsense, being involved with the wrong groups of friends. And these are good people, but the position has really, really warped their lives into a whole different direction.”
The number of split families is hard to calculate, but Immigration New Zealand (INZ) received 6559 requests for border exceptions on humanitarian grounds between August and April. . .
That is 6559 partners and children of valued workers whose family bonds are deemed to be less important than a whole lot of people anyone with a heart would regard as less in need of a space in MIQ.
The cruelty is being noticed overseas. Candice Matthews ,a Kiwi in Canada, writes, immigrants are our people:
. . .They are not papers, but people. If you define people by their status, whatever that status may be, you are no different to those politicians that have put horrible policies in place during the last century in the name of something, anything, nothing.
Immigration New Zealand smells of nothing learned from other crises, nor other countries’ dirty hands, nor other groups of people’s exclusions in the name of this-is-all-new-to-me-so-if-I-mistake-and-break-families-up-then-that-is-a-reasonable-cost-for-my-lack-of-understanding.
Actually, Immigration New Zealand smells of America. Would you like to supersize that with your order of common sense, sir?
It is not acceptable to determine the worth of a person based on a permit she holds in her purse.
We do not accept your future apology.
After Covid, hundreds of documentaries will be made on the impact of Covid-19 on the Government’s power to make makeshift policies and break broken people.
One day, a documentary will cover New Zealand. One day, all the immigrants that you legally allowed into this country, and then left to weep, beg, barter and pay to play in your lottery of who looks the least bit immigrant and who has the most money, will have a say in this documentary. . .
Do not come to us begging for forgiveness when Kiwis learn what you did and didn’t do for those who call New Zealand home. Our tallest-poppy syndrome will quickly turn to a wickedest-politician syndrome.
Covid requires caution, controls and risk-mitigating policies, but not at the absolute cost of common sense.
When I read an article about an immigrant woman who hasn’t seen her baby in almost two years because Immigration New Zealand deems children being raised by persons other than their parents acceptable, I start to wonder if Covid is code for colonisation.
Do you remember when we kept children away from their parents in the name of colonisation? If you don’t, ask any Māori family.
We do not accept your future apology. We demand action. Now.
Let those actions make news here in Canada, instead of having to hear another horror story about Immigration New Zealand and how they allowed characters from a children’s show into their country, but not the woman from South Africa who is waiting for your department to decide whether being a mother is a true necessity to her children.
If you would like to barter with our people’s lives, you should start by bartering your own. Send your child away and have her only come home when the last immigrant family’s child is finally reunited with their parents in New Zealand.
I would strongly advise you to accept not seeing your child for the next three years at the rate you are going. We challenge you to live without your child for two years, Jacinda. . .
What makes the continuing refusal to reunite families worse, is that the government is still criticisng Australia for its treatment of its illegal immigrants and offering to bring some here.
How on earth can another country’s illegal immigrants have more right to come here and be a higher priority than the families of people who came here legally, bringing skills we need and doing essential work New Zealanders can’t?
What’s happened to the be kind mantra we were all exhorted to follow?
The apology to Pacifica people for historical wrong-doing for which this government wasn’t responsible looks like hypocrisy when there’s absolutely no compassion being shown about keeping families apart for which it is responsible.