Friday, November 27, 2015

Against a common border with Australia

This morning in an editorial the Herald proposes that we resolve our problems with Australia by means of a "common border":

Its proposed solution to that problem was a common border, which appears to mean migrants would face the same criteria for entry to both countries. Those applying under the skills category would need to persuade the (joint) immigration agency they had skills that were in short supply in both countries. That would give New Zealanders priority for filling skill shortages in Australia, and vice versa.
This is an Australian obsession, born of their idea that the trans-Tasman travel arrangement makes New Zealand "a backdoor to Australia". Because obviously, the only reason anyone would want to come here is to gain access to our corrupt, militaristic, racist neighbour. But while the Herald phrases it in terms of rules for skilled migrants, its more far reaching than that. Firstly, it would mean effectively ending immigration from the Pacific, except under limited and exploitative "seasonal guest worker" schemes. Australia's concern is that we have always "let in" far too many brown people, not understanding our connections with the Pacific, the fact that many of them are New Zealand citizens as of right, or indeed that Maori were here first and that there was no genocide here (unlike Australia). A common border effectively means adopting Australia's de facto white Australia policy.

Secondly, of course, it means adopting their refugee policy, under which no-one is effectively allowed to claim (let alone receive) asylum. It means ignoring our obligations under the Refugee Convention, not to mention human rights and the rule of law, and sticking refugees in offshore gulags and torturing them until they "decide" to go "home". In other words, it means actively joining in on a crime against humanity.

I don't think either of these proposals is consistent with New Zealand values or acceptable to New Zealanders. As with the idea of Australian statehood, our answer to a common border should be "no thanks".