Events, National Party, New Zealand First

National Party and New Zealand First no-shows at migrant and refugee rights forum

MARRC forum

Nicola Willis of the National Party and Andy Foster of New Zealand first both snubbed a migrant and refugee rights forum having previously indicated that they would attend. The forum held at 19 Tory St on Saturday the 26th of August featured speakers Iain Lees Galloway (Labour Party), Teall Crossen (Green Party), Jessica Hammond Doube (The Opportunities Party) and Gayaal Iddamalgoda (Migrant & Refugee Rights Campaign), emceed by Murdoch Stephens of the Doing Our Bit – Double the Quota campaign. Around 80 people attended.

“We received a last-minute email apology from Nicola Willis of National, and no apology at all from Andy Foster of New Zealand First,” says Gayaal.

“We can understand that candidates have busy schedules. However, candidates from the Green Party and the Labour Party who were unavailable sent other representatives. The fact that the ruling party could not send a single representative does not send a positive message.”

“New Zealand First has a particularly bad record of xenophobic scapegoating. This no-show, with no apologies, from a speaker who had indicated he would attend, shows a continuing lack of willingness to take migrant and refugee concerns seriously.”

The event also saw debate over Labour’s immigration policy, with Gayaal criticising proposed immigration cuts as unacceptable scapegoating.

Housing crisis, National Party

Racist obfuscation of the slumlord problem

slumlords

Tertiary Education Minister Paul Goldsmith’s comment about Indians owning multiple properties is a racist obfuscation of the slumlord problem, says Migrant and Refugee Rights Campaign spokesperson Gayaal Iddamalgoda. Goldsmith made the comment in response to 25-year old Thomas Maharaj, who correctly pointed out that many National MPs own multiple properties.

“Goldsmith’s comment is not only racist, it also evades the real issues driving the housing crisis,” says Gayaal.

“According to information released in late 2016, 80 of our 121 MPs have an interest in more than one property,” Gayaal continues. “The three MPs who own the most property are in the National Party, and 2 out of 3 are European-descended, yet no MP stereotypes Europeans as the cause of the housing crisis.”

“Young students like Maharaj aren’t likely to own property – in fact Goldsmith is a much likelier face of the slumlord problem in this country, as a European-descended National Party MP in his 40s.”

“This continues an alarming trend where the causes of the housing crisis are racialised, whether by blaming Chinese or Indian buyers.”

“If we’re serious about addressing the problem, we need to understand it’s a problem caused by slumlords and other profiteers – regardless of their surnames or the colour of their skin.”

Gayaal for Wellington Central, Migrant and Refugee Rights, National Party

Changes to ‘low-skilled migrant’ category bound to keep work insecure

DSC_8296

The Migrant and Refugee Rights Campaign has come out against changes to the rights of ‘lower-skilled’ migrants. The group says that setting a maximum duration of three years for ‘lower skilled’ work, and further shaping seasonal work around peak labour demand, will exacerbate the insecurity of migrant workers’ conditions.

“Although the changes are fairly superficial, they are taking things in the opposite direction from where we need to go,” says Gayaal Iddamalgoda, Wellington Central candidate and spokesperson for the campaign.

“By exacerbating the insecurity of so-called ‘lower-skilled’ migrant workers, these changes will enable further abuse by employers,” says Gayaal Iddamalgoda, Wellington Central candidate and spokesperson for the campaign.

“Fruit pickers, care workers, and other migrant workers perform essential services, and should be justly remunerated with secure contracts.”

“Migrant workers are already illegally underpaid under the Regional Seasonal Employer scheme, and these changes will only exacerbate this problem. Increased security of work would mean that migrant workers are more confident to raise concerns, and reverse the race to the bottom.”

“These changes will only allow employers to drive down wages and conditions, making the existing problem worse.”

The Migrant and Refugee Rights Campaign has called a May Day March for migrant and refugee rights in Wellington. The event will begin with speeches on Cuba St, midday on Monday the 1st, before marching on Immigration New Zealand to deliver a written statement. Groups participating in the march include Changemakers Refugee Forum, the Public Service Association (PSA), the International Socialist Organisation, Peace Action Wellington, Fightback and Doing Our Bit – Double the Refugee Quota.

 

Gayaal for Wellington Central, Migrant and Refugee Rights, National Party

Immigration policy based on ‘alternative facts’

Information released this morning shows that recent immigration policy is based on ‘alternative facts’, says Gayaaal Iddamalgoda, Wellington Central candidate for the Migrant and Refugee Rights Campaign.

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse had blocked parents of existing migrants, based on a claim that parents were costing the taxpayer tens of millions of dollars in welfare. However, a report released to Radio New Zealand under the Official Information Act found that less than 2 percent of parents were taking up welfare payments.

“It seems Michael Woodhouse is basing his policy on ‘alternative facts’,” says Gayaal, “Otherwise known as lies.”

“This shows the xenophobic atmosphere surrounding policy-making, both in New Zealand and internationally.”

“Migrants are a net benefit to the New Zealand economy,” continues Gayaal, “Both in terms of GDP and taxes paid.”

Woodhouse says the block on new parents will continue.

Like Gayaal’s campaign on Facebook.