Newly formed political group Migrant And Refugee Rights Campaign (MARRC) has announced today they will run a candidate in Wellington Central. Gayaal Iddamalgoda, a legal organiser for FIRST Union, will stand for migrant and refugee rights.
“I am standing to challenge the major parties on migrant and refugee rights,” explains Gayaal.
“Many New Zealanders are rightly horrified by Donald Trump’s attacks on Muslim and Mexican migrants,” Gayaal continues. “But we can’t be so naïve as to think that couldn’t happen here.”
“Political parties here also use migrants as a political football.”
“According to Ipsos polls, 47% of New Zealanders recognise that migrants are a net economic benefit to New Zealand,” adds Gayaal. “But unfortunately the Opposition Parties do not consistently stand up for migrants.”
MARRC is seeking an endorsement of its kaupapa by political parties, particularly Labour and the Greens. “We have contacted Labour and the Greens and asked for their support, but have not received any reply,” says Gayaal.
MARRC is critical of the use of migrant workers as cheap labour. “We demand full rights for migrant workers,” Gayaal explains. “That includes a Living Wage, in addition to all the basic rights afforded to New Zealand citizens.”
MARRC also supports the call to double the refugee quota. “Our current quota is pitiful,” according to Gayaal.
MARRC will hold a screening of The Zookeeper’s Wife as a fundraiser for Gayaal’s campaign, on May the 4th, 6:30pm at Lighthouse Cinema Wellington.