Tuesday, June 21, 2005



It's the politics, stupid

I think the chief aspect of concern in the whole Zaoui saga is the political aspect. This has been there all along, but with an election so close, it has become more prominent. As Deborah Manning said,

"Mr Zaoui's fate could be determined by a politician and we have seen in this election how peoples' human rights become political footballs... Mr Zaoui's fate could be decided by a future Minister of Immigration and for all we know that could be Winston Peters."

But its not just Winston. If things go quickly, then it's all too easy to imagine Labour selling out Zaoui in an effort to cling to power. But if they do that, then they simply do not deserve to be in government.

10 comments:

While it's true, as you say, that "if they do that, they simply do not deserve to be in government", that will be precious little comfort to Mr Zaoui if he has been sold out for political purposes as you suggest may happen. I doubt the knowledge that the Labour party didn't deserve to be in government will make him feel any better at all. And by then, of course, it would be too late.

Posted by BerlinBear : 6/21/2005 08:01:00 PM

I think the SC judgment is a cop out. We need the Courts to function as an independent arm of government and protect fundamental human rights, not defer to the executive. Parliament is not sovereign in our system, the executive is and it is too easily dominated by corporate interests.

Posted by Anonymous : 6/21/2005 08:15:00 PM

Frankly, I don't see that a political sell-out would help Labour.

They may do it anyway, but for reasons of groupthink - there appear to be people in power who convinced themselves he should go, their group position does not appear to be able change once they'd reached that view. (sticking to your guns despite logic is a fairly normal way that people are irrational, especially bad if its done by a group instead of a lone individual)

But frankly, I don't see kicking him out to be a vote-winner. Not compared to a rational response of "he is staying, here's a 250-word precis of why the law requires that".

Posted by Icehawk : 6/22/2005 08:36:00 AM

In terms of votes I doubt Zaoui leaving will effect Labour. What, will Zaoui supporters vote National?

None of Zaoui's supporters have considered the fact that actions such as Zaouis undermines the refugee processing system. And no one has been able to explain what happened in Malaysia that forced him out. Apparently his family are living there safely. Why did he leave them?

Posted by Sock Thief : 6/22/2005 09:24:00 AM

Anon: the law says that the executive has the final say. While the courts can ensure that the Bill of Rights is applied, they can't overturn that.

Icehawk: It's not just groupthink. Some key Ministers seem to have invested a lot in getting rid of Zaoui, and having done that they seem unable to back down.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 6/22/2005 10:23:00 AM

Sock Thief: well, they can always vote Green or Progressive. It won't affect Labour's chance of forming a government, but will very definitely affect the direction of that government and act as a strong check on abuses like this. Remember, under MMP we have real options for change...

And as I've said before, Zaoui fled Malaysia because he believed he was about to be deported. The Algerian government wants him; not his family.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 6/22/2005 10:26:00 AM

So Malaysia was going to deport him. Or, more accurately, we have Zaoui's cliam that that was the case. If we take this to be true, then why?

Malaysia is a functioning democracy with a predominantly moderate Muslim political involvement. Just the place where one would think Zauoi would be welcomed. And yet, so we are to believe, they were going to deport him. What was he up to?

Posted by Sock Thief : 6/22/2005 10:36:00 AM

I assume the govt are under great behind the scenes pressure to conform with the immigration 'norms' of Aus, UK, + the US ie err on the side of paranoia.
Like the nuclear-free stance, a popular, principles-based stance by NZ undermines our traditional allies and I assume will be resisted in the same way.
Helen is walking a realpolitik tightrope.. Labour voters may not vote National over the issue, but may vote Greens or worse, not vote.

Posted by Huskynut : 6/22/2005 11:38:00 AM

I think the man has suffered enough, let him live in some small town in NZ, I'm sure it would be easy enough to keep an eye on him. Let their family be back together.

Posted by muerk : 6/22/2005 02:41:00 PM

As I understand it, neither Malaysia nor Vietnam are signatories to the Refugee convention - meaning that there's little point in saying (to quote the former IGIS) "I'm a refugee keep me here" becasue they simply don't recognise the concept. Hence Zaoui being allowed to apply for Refugee status here - normally it has to be done at the first port of call.

Will Winston be the next Minister of Immigration? Hard to say - if he was he would be a very activist and hands-on type minister and the role would quite easily monopolise his time leaving little room for any other protfolio - such as "Treasurer" or Deputy PM or (dare I even think it) PM.

Posted by Anthony Trenwith : 6/22/2005 07:33:00 PM