Thursday, September 17, 2015

Losing their way?

Yesterday the house debated Denis O’Rourke's New Zealand Superannuation and Retirement Income (Pro Rata Entitlement) Amendment Bill. The bill would basicly shut the door on NZ super, paying out only a fraction of it to migrants (and kiwis) who have not lived in New Zealand for the whole period between age 20 and age 65 (those over 65 - NZ First's core voter base - would of course be unaffected, regardless of how much time they spend holidaying in Australia). The bill is part of NZ First's wider political project to denigrate migrants and make them legally second-class citizens (as opposed to their elderly, insular, suspicious, stay-at-home voters); its also a great example of the old trying to pull the ladder up after them and deny everyone else the benefits they had. And it was found to breach the Bill of Rights Act, violating both the right to be free of discrimination on the basis of nationality and age, but also the freedom of movement of New Zealand citizens.

So far, so NZ First. But what's surprising is that the Greens voted for this. And I'm simply appalled by that. This bill and the bigotry and division it promotes are lightyears from Green values around human rights, and contrary to the Greens' expressed immigration and human rights policies, which call for all migrants to be treated with dignity, compassion, and respect and for the elimination of prejudice.

While there's a need to find ways to work with other parties, this is not an area of common ground, and these are not values the Greens should compromise on to "get along". As long as NZ First persists in putting up bigot legislation, the Greens should vote against it.

(I'd make the same argument of Labour, except that to be honest, I don't care about them. They've got no values, and we all know it.)