Wednesday, May 27, 2020

NZ First's policy of starving migrants

While the government has dealt with the pandemic spectacularly well, it hasn't been perfect. One big flaw in its response has been its treatment of temporary migrants. The government has the power to extend social welfare benefits to temporary migrants during a pandemic, and the Epidemic Response Act clearly expects that that will happen. But that power has not been exercised. The reason? NZ First, who views the pandemic as an opportunity to force migrant workers to return home:

NZ First MP Shane Jones sympathised with the plight of many migrants, but said he believed the Government should pay for their flights home and not let those trapped outside back in.

"There is a humanitarian duty upon me as a minister. Something akin to having a Christian disposition towards the struggle that a lot of the migrants find themselves in right now.

"My overarching feeling is that they should go home. And if it's possible for us to assist them to go home then that to me is a very Christian thing to do.

The result is people living on the street and going hungry. Most New Zealanders will be deeply ashamed of that. But Shane Jones probably sees it as a bonus in his racist campaign to cleanse the country of those he sees as "undesirable".