Friday, May 21, 2004

No way to treat friends

The Greens are wrong here, but they have a point. While the denial of New Zealand citizenship to Western Samoans born or resident in that country after Independence is strongly supported in international law, the way in which we did it was overtly racist and in the context of our history and close relations with Western Samoa, not morally supportable.

While repealing the law or extending or offering citizenship is not the right solution, we can do a hell of a lot better. Western Samoa is an ex-colony for god's sake, as well as one of our closest Pacific neighbours - and yet they need a visa to travel here and immigration is controlled by strict quotas. Why?

Instead of restricting the travel of Samoans, we should be welcoming them. Australians are allowed to visit and live here without any requirement for a visa or permit; we should extend the same privileges to Samoa. Our past history means that they're not just friends - they're family.