Petty Politics – immigrants & free speech

Hehe – blogger David Farrar correctly has a go at the Asian students apparently responsible for stealing 800 copies of Auckland University student mag Craccum (which featured a Falun Gong ad the students disagreed with), then Farrar castigates NZ First (for attacking Asian immigration levels).

While I agree with Farrar – Peter Brown of NZ First was borderline racist in implying Asian migration is bad while European migration is fine – we all know this is just NZ First dogwhistling (saying something acceptable, while meaning something unacceptable if publically said) in election year.

However, Farrar does not seem to have noticed the irony in lambasting NZ First for their asian immigration views, while highlighting the very concerns that NZ First sometimes express about Asian immigration.

That is, the socially conservative NZ First has concerns¬†that widespread migration of people from non-pakeha/Pacific background will result in a big chunk of the NZ population who do not value and respect traditional ‘Kiwi’ values, like freedom of speech (say, the freedom to run a Falun Gong ad).

While Farrar critiques NZ First’s hidden message to pakeha voters (vote for NZ First, because we won’t let in people of other cultures), he fails to notice the validity in the ‘overt’ message NZ First sent in his previous post. Namely, that there is a real concern that some migrants have little regard for liberal western values like freedom to speak, assemble, dissent, protest, etc as shown by the Craccum theft.

I suppose it is too much to expect Labour or National to properly fund migrant training in classic liberal values?


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5 Responses to “Petty Politics – immigrants & free speech”

  1. dpf Says:

    Actually I was aware of the contrast. The students who stole the Craccums may not be residents incidentially, and only here on temporary student visas.

    I just don’t think you judge a race or culture on some misguided individuals.

    I do fully support the idea of funding what I suppose is values education to prospective migrants, so before people decide to apply they are fully aware of our freedom of speech, freedom of religion, etc etc,

  2. squaredrive Says:

    Good point DPF – the students may not be permanent residents, or citizens, in which the irony rather vanishes… However, almost all international students become residents after the 2 years (now 3), so they only have to pay domestic fee levels.

    I had assumed any migrant training would be done after people arrived in NZ (which could be before or after they apply for residency) – it would be interesting to know if it would be viable to do such training prior to migration. This seems dangerously close though to the government’s ‘pre-screening’ centres (in Thailand) where we stop ‘undesirable’ migrants before they can get to NZ and apply for refugee status under NZ laws.

    I don’t think you could dismiss the attitudes shown by many Chinese (in China and NZ) towards Falun Gong practitioners (or Tibetan independence, say) as “judg[ing] a race or culture on some misguided individuals”. The attitude of hostility to free speech for Falun Gong seems to often expressed by too wide a number to be ‘a few bad apples’. Witness the decisions in Wellington and Auckland to ban Falun Gong from parades – decisions taken fairly obviously with an eye on Chinese government views.

  3. squaredrive Says:

    And No Right Turn has also posted on this topic. Like DPF, he critiques the NZ First 3-year awakening from their slumber.

    The original release by NZ First ends with the claim that Asian migrants represent:
    “people who have no intention of integrating into our society. The greater the number, the greater the risk. They will form their own mini-societies to the detriment of integration and that will lead to division, friction and resentment.”

    These are serious issues for discussion, and no-one could argue with communities having a say on what numbers of people move into their community. Just that NZ First’s recipe seems to be saying ‘what mix’ of people should move in, which is a thorny question.

    Should nations aim to be homogenous (culturally, ethnically, religously, etc), which is what the break up of Yugoslavia created (states formed on roughly homogenous religous groups)? Or should nations strive for a theoretically diverse ‘mix’?

  4. D Says:

    Those Chinese students who stole those mags were ignorant. Ignorant people, who I wouldn’t want to hang out with. Similarly, this post, is ignorant and offensive.

    What ticked me off is this post saying that it was “Asian students” who stole those mags, when it should’ve accurately said something more like, “Chinese students,” or perhaps, “extreme Chinese students”.

    As being of South Korean ancestry , I can confidently say that South Koreans are as ignorant of F Gong as ordinary New Zealanders: “Fu what? Never heard of it…”. Most likely, I could say the same for other students who didn’t come from China.

    Going down another stream here, but New Zealand media seem to really simplify things relating to Asia. It’s usually downright ignorant, and offensive. (Especially to me since I lived here in NZ since kindy- i’m a kiwi). It’s offensive cuz it’s usually something negative, comming from China (or Chinese), yet it must affect all Asians. I don’t understand why it must simplify things.

    (Sure; Asians are Asians, fine. But I feel obliged to say that Asia is a one huge continent, with very different nations; not everything’s China. Some are very rich, while some are dirt poor, and guess what; there’s always a language barrier. We don’t all speak a Chinese language. We’re not all suppressed; some do have these “liberal western values” (just see what’s happened in Seoul a few weeks back), and guess what; some can be considered “western” countries. These differences shouldn’t be ignored, since they’re too different.)

    Heck SquareDrive, I think it’s absurd that you’ve asked whether nations should aim to be homogenous, presuming that you’re a Kiwi. What is New Zealand without the mixing?

    No doubt NZ’s doing better internally (first thing that comes to mind is infrastructure) and externally, as it developed with the immigrants (since ages ago). It will develop more, providing that people try to get along and go as one.

    I’m not too fond of groups like the “Asian Club” and the “Hispanic Club” at uni, but at the same time I condemn people, especially ‘leaders’ like Peter Brown, who overlook how some immigrants try very hard to ‘fit in’ into mainstream NZ society, and make tasteless comments.

  5. squaredrive Says:

    @ D,

    Sorry you feel miffed about the post D, but I think you should reread it. I only used the term “Asian students” because it was not known when I wrote if they were from China (though it seemed a safe bet, and it turned out they were Chinese students, I believe).

    Please note I do not agree with NZ First’s immigration views, nor did I think it ridiculous to ask the hypothetical question of what NZ would be like if it went down the same path as Yugoslavia (in trying to create a homogenous nation).

    What would NZ be like without the mixing? (I assume you mean ethnic mixing here). It would be 100% Maori, which would leave many of us out. However, many Maori – while open to migrants – often talk about the difficulties they face because they are just 15% of the population, which was not how they thought the country would develop when the Treaty of Waitangi was signed.

    So, I think the question is a valid one – should NZ base its migration criteria on:
    * qualifications, job experience, etc
    * religious, linguistic or ethnic homogeneity
    * wealth
    * age?
    NZ currently tends to pick people on wealth, age and qualifications. But does this achieve the goals of building a nation.

    That said, it is a tough on ‘Asians’ to all be lumped together – there aren’t that many similarities between people from as far afield as Palestine, Japan, and Indonesia…

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