Shame on Wilkinson: Martyn Payne deported

“We’ve taken your money, used your skills, now bugger off!”

Shame on you Kate WilkinsonThis was a headline Tammy and I reluctantly wrote in 2009. I’m sorry to say we now have to dust it off because it is more relevant than ever.

Back in 2009 changes in immigration department practice lead inhumane treatment of several hundred skilled migrants who had come to New Zealand in good faith. Blocked from taking up skilled work they had been offered they were effective kicked out of the country.

Tammy and I resorted to this headline when our reports were ignored by the Immigration Minister and his officials. I was even accused of being an unlicensed immigration adviser by the Associate Immigration Minister’s office for drawing her attention to the plight of one German family who was reduced to sleeping on our office floor.

After my angry reply Kate Wilkinson’s office apologised but this accusation was later used by the Immigration Advisers Authority as one of the justifications for their attack on me which effectively silenced my criticism and lead to the closure of our unique and free migrant support service.

Now Associate Immigration Minister Kate Wilkinson appears to be sending this message to entrepreneurs interested in investing in New Zealand businesses. Another nail in the coffin of New Zealand’s international reputation as a migration destination.

Martyn Payne
Martyn’s story has been told by 3news in articles herehere and here. John Campbell has covered Martyn’s plight on Campbell live here and here.

To explain, Martyn moved to New Zealand in 2005 on a Long Term Business Visa. His medical spotted a heart condition but Martyn had and fully recovered from successful surgery.

Given the ‘all-clear’ by immigration Martyn invested every penny he had ($700,000) and six years of his life turning a struggling Northland garage into a thriving business turning over $2 million per year.

Along the way Martyn was joined by his children and grandchildren, nominated for a business award and his garage became the centre of his local community providing employment and generating prosperity for a small town through the recession.

New Zealand’s immigration system runs through good rules put in place to protect this country. One of those rules relates to health: anyone likely to cost NZ a lot of money will not be allowed to stay. Its a good rule there for good reason, but needs to be applied with sense and compassion.

Recent medicals showed that Martyn had fibrillation. Treatment is simple, low cost and a heart specialist confirmed that Martyn was unlikely to need expensive surgery.

Martyn had offered to pay for any tests and had appealed to Kate Wilkinson to alter the immigration departments decision that he would cost the health service too much money. Wilkinson had a copy of the specialists report confirming this was not the case but did nothing.

Martyn was recently deported, leaving behind his business, family, staff and a hugely supportive community.

Taking action
FacebookI believe Martyn Payne has given a lot to New Zealand and deserves a fair go. Tammy and I have started a facebook campaign to raise awareness called Against the deportation of Martyn Payne.

Please read about this case and if you agree with me join this group to add your support.

Take a stand for New Zealand
Because of inhumane decisions New Zealand is losing the international battle for skills and investment. If this continues more and more NZ jobs will be lost, more companies will fail to reach their potential and NZ’s recovery from this recession will be further slowed.

Martyn Payne’s case shows exactly what is at stake here: a thriving NZ business, jobs, community and family. This needs to change. NZ immigration was working well before Dr. Coleman and Kate Wilkinson took office but is now a broken and twisted wreck. This is not the fault of the staff who (mostly) do a great job, but of the politicians.

Careful and sensible management of immigration would ensure only benefits from migration for New Zealand: increasing jobs without competition with kiwis.

By restoring pre-2009 processes and migrant numbers (which the cabinet have publicly agreed) I believe we would see money flooding in to local businesses, creating jobs and building prosperity for this country.

This case and the case of hundreds of others is not what New Zealand is about as John Campbell’s ‘Caravan of complaint’ has shown. New Zealand and our immigration service is being shamed by the heartless actions of Kate Wilkinson.

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