Archive for the ‘Topics’ Category

Māori academic says ‘white migrants are racist’

September 7, 2011

On 4th September a story appeared in the Sunday Star Times confirming that a government report (possibly this one) had found “Māori are more likely to express anti-immigration sentiment than Pākehā or any other ethnic group”.

The article also highlighted Margaret Mutu, head of Auckland University’s department of Māori studies, who agreed with the findings.

Controversially Mutu called on the government to restrict the number of white migrants arriving from countries such as South Africa, England and the United States on the basis that they brought attitudes destructive to Māori.

“They do bring with them, as much as they deny it, an attitude of white supremacy, and that is fostered by the country,” she said.

Of course this is a sweeping race based generalisation which does not form any part of the government report.

Without supporting research it would be entirely unprofessional for anyone (especially a trusted academic) to make statements like this as they would be merely expressing personal views dressed as academic fact. Indeed, in an email to one move2nz.com member Mutu states

“It is unfortunate that they [white immigrants who oppose racism against Māori] are in the minority – as the research in this area has shown”.

To find out more on this subject I wrote to Margaret Mutu about her research on 5th September including the following query:

“From a background of having spoken individually to arguably more migrants from the UK, USA and South Africa than anyone else in New Zealand I am surprised by your statements which are in deep contrast to my own experiences.

“My understanding is that your statements are based on research which confirms that the majority of migrants from the UK, USA and South Africa are racist towards Māori. I would be very interested to examine your findings and to find out more about this research.

“If possible please would you direct me to the source of the research used as the basis of your comments. Having viewed the government research which began this discussion I can see that very different conclusions were drawn and I am anxious to compare the two sources.”

Margaret Mutu’s reply, received the following day was a stock reply and did not address my question:

“My research focuses on the activities of those immigrants from England and their descendants who have and continue to advocate and perpetuate racism as the means to justify their on-going theft of Māori land and resources. In saying this I refer you to the well-tested definition of racism of Paul Spoonely which states: Racism is the attitudinal or ideological phenomenon that accepts racial superiority, and, when present in those in power, justifies them using that power to discriminate against and deprive others of what is rightfully theirs on the basis of their race.

“I was careful to tell the Sunday Star Times reporter that most Pākehā immigrants will deny that they hold these attitudes and assumptions and that is probably because do not believe that their attitudes are racist. When Māori, who are on the receiving end of these attitudes, try to point it out, the reaction is invariably denial. Yet there has been extensive research conducted on this and the most comprehensive is that of the Waitangi Tribunal, where the bulk of this research is published. The country has been remiss in not ensuring everyone is better informed about the findings of the Tribunal. I recommend that you read the Tribunal’s reports.

“I have a number of publications in this area, the most recent of which is my book The State of Māori Rights published this year by Huia Publishers in Wellington.

This answer is of course interesting on many points and I don’t see much point writing back until I have viewed the research quoted.

Mutu’s answer presents sweeping generalisations about UK immigrants and their descendants similar in nature to those presented by racist groups like the white supremacists Mutu alleges I and so many other migrants support.

Mutu’s definition of racism is limited, only covering a single perspective of racism when talking about ‘what is rightfully theirs’. Personally I prefer Wikipedia’s definition:

Racism is the belief that there are inherent differences in people’s traits and capacities that are entirely due to their race, however defined, and that, as a consequence, racial discrimination (i.e. different treatment of those people, both socially and legally) is justified.

One comment which I feel holds weight is that Māori issues and culture (especially what is rightfully theirs) is a field almost entirely unknown outside New Zealand. It would extremely difficult for people around the world planning to migrate to hold racist views about a group they have never had contact with and know nothing about.

Of course Mutu may be simply saying (as she appears) that all white people are racist and I expect this is why her comments have been referred to the Race Relations Board for investigation.

Mutu’s definition of racism ignores the many meanings and guises of ‘power’ when using a definition which could easily be applied to her own actions. In fact Mutu stated recently that her comments cannot be racist because she is not in a position of power.

Power is by no means the province of the majority as she implies and this is a ridiculous statement when applied to the universally accepted definitions of ‘racism’.

Unusually for an academic Mutu is blurring and confusing her argument: direction to read Treaty documents and Mutu’s mention of descendants moves away from her comments about recent migrants. I believe it is accepted by all that there were abuses of power by the British and that this is precisely what the Tribunal was set up to account for and set right, however I cannot see how the Tribunal findings could in any way be proof of inherent racism towards Māori in all white migrants any more than this most recent government report could.

This is not the research I was expecting.

Having spent quite a bit of time and effort attempting to get a Māori expert on to move2nz.com to present information to help educate and inform new migrants about Māori issues without success I feel that failure to ensure migrants are fully aware of these issues should be shared between all New Zealanders and is not in any way the sole province of Pākehā like me.

I shall try to read the publication Mutu has mentioned, however the title again does not suggest that the work supports the view she has expressed that all white migrants and their descendants bar a few ‘good ones’ (some of my best friends are Pākehā?) hold racist views towards Māori.

The timing of what appears to be an outrageous and unsupported statement is not surprising as the eye of the world centres on New Zealand. Mutu has publicly confirmed a desire to limit immigration to New Zealand on a racial basis rather than the current system which is based on merit.

Mutu’s call echoes the call of Tariana Turia in 2009 when she accused the government of using immigration to “stop the browning of New Zealand“. From my perspective as a migration commentator I believe it’s past time to conduct research into the significant changes in immigration since Turia and the Māori Party became part of government in 2008. Certainly over recent years immigration to New Zealand (according to government statistics) from the UK has dropped by 50% while there has been no apparent drop in interest or decline of applicants from this source.

In the meantime I think we should look carefully at the government report which started all of this and ask why there is such a fear of migrants. This, and not Mutu’s comments, should be taken seriously and I would be very interested in recruiting an expert to help migrants gain first-hand information on Māori culture, customs and language as part of the migration through move2nz.com.

Mike

move2nz architect

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Migrants defeat bad immigration adviser

September 5, 2011

I am delighted to offer my congratulations to the Whiles-Clarry family, members of move2nz.com since June 2009, who have successfully used the Immigration Advisers Licensing legislation to have the license of a dishonest and incompetent immigration adviser cancelled.

Through their efforts and diligence they have helped protect other migrants from the same problems. Well done!

Read the full story
I have been following this case all the way through and present the whole story of this brave family’s fight in a full article on move2nz.com here spread over 6 pages.

In this article I have included a summary of this family’s fight, success and anger at the adviser’s claims.

Congratulations to the Immigration Advisers Authority
I bet a lot of the long term readers of move2nz are picking themselves off the floor and saying “WHAT!?” (as move2nz and I have a little ‘history’ with the IAA), but I am serious.

Congratulations are in order to both the IAA and Immigration Advisers Complaints and Disciplinary Tribunal and I have sent my congratulations personally to Barry Smedts, Registrar of the IAA because of their part in this ruling.

Immigration Advisers

In 2009 new legislation was introduced to block anyone not licensed from providing immigration advice. The IAA act as a licensing office and police force, investigating complaints and passing serious cases to the Tribunal which acts as a court.

While some Immigration Advisers are excellent move2nz had collected dozens of horror stories. As a result we were very supportive of a system providing protection for migrants and somewhere for us to send these complaints.

However we have been critical of this system since its inception, like many immigration advisers, because the IAA appeared to provide no real protection for migrants.

Glen Standing
Glen Standing

What we had been waiting for was action to start weeding out the bad apples. Our congratulations are presented today because for the first time the system has done just that. A migrant has complained and as a result the adviser, Glen Standing of Golden Sands Immigration and Living New Zealand has been held to account.

The Tribunal has for the first time imposed serious penalties, and in addition to losing his immigration adviser’s license Standing has been directed to refund fees, pay compensation and penalties of just under $20,000.

This is the first real success story for the IAA and Tribunal, a major step forward in the fight to protect migrants against rogue advisers. As all of our concerns about the system being set up were valid and well-founded it’s only fair to offer congratulations to these departments when they get it right.

 


A common tale

Like many before them, everything went well with Golden Sands for the family until they arrived in New Zealand. Vulnerable and alone in a new country customer service from the company went downhill fast and the job search help they had paid for was almost nonexistent. In the end it took over 21 weeks for Stephen to get a job, costing the family thousands in lost income and accommodation.

Despite this Golden Sands started demanding the second half of the fee owed to them and threatened to withhold documents and a passport until the money was paid.

Christine telephoned the immigration department and discovered that almost all the immigration advice Standing had given her was wrong, meaning they had experienced months of delays and thousands in extra costs simply because of their adviser. They lodged a complaint with the IAA in September 2010.

The Ruling

A final decision was reached on 30th June 2011 ruling against Standing on all counts. The Tribunal found that he was in breach of the code of conduct all licensed immigration advisers need to comply with, with the Chairman described this as a “grave lapse from professional standards“. Standing was ordered to pay penalties of $2,000 and compensation, loss of income and a refund of fees to the family totalling $19,458.

But that wasn’t the end of the story. On August 18th Standing wrote to the Tribunal and the family stating that he was liquidating his company and so wouldn’t be able to pay the penalties and compensation! This appears to be incorrect as you’ll see in the full article.

Ruined by the Tribunal

The next day an article appeared in the Nelson Mail giving voice to Standing who claimed ‘I’ve been ruined by tribunal. The article contained factual errors and presented Standing as being forced to close his business, making his staff redundant, as a result of what he considered to be ‘despicable’ handling of the case.

However Standing’s framing of the situation appears to be misleading and incorrect as the Tribunal gave him the option of obtaining a provisional license to re-enter the immigration business under supervision.

Standing’s claim that he couldn’t continue operating as there are no other licensed advisers in Golden Bay to supervise him is at odds with the IAA’s supervision policy which states that an adviser can be supervised even by a licensed immigration adviser in another country:

So Standing could have applied to be supervised by someone outside Golden Bay and had no reason to close his business at all.

Summary

The IAA and Tribunal have removed one of the immigration advisers we have the most negative stories about. There has even been another ruling against Standing in which he was ordered to pay $1,500 to another migrant family had problems getting a refund.
Now you have an avenue to take if you encounter problems with a licensed immigration adviser make sure to lodge a complaint if you need the IAA’s help. It might take a while, but it’s always worth fighting your corner and now you have a fighting chance.

What have you done with Mike?
Before you start wondering who I am and what I’ve done with Mike, we still do have issues with the agressive way the IAA has dealt with blogs and move2nz, as well as their lack of understanding around what constitutes immigration advice (illegal for people like me without a license) and settlement advice and support (perfectly legal).

I am still fighting to force the IAA to repair the damage they did in attacking move2nz, a move which caused the cancellation of our UK Seminars and closure of our Migrant Centre. All I can legally say at this stage is that ‘settlement negotiations are being advanced through legal channels’. I’ll let you know what happens.

Bring back Martyn Payne: take action

May 11, 2011

We believe Martyn, who has invested his life-savings and six years of his life into turning a struggling NZ business into a multi-million dollar business, is not being treated fairly. Please follow the links below to learn more and help take action to highlight this miscarriage of justice.

All it takes is a click of your mouse!

Please don’t just ignore this situation
Every year over 100,000 migrants come to New Zealand in good faith on temporary visas. Martyn Payne has provided massive benefit to New Zealand, but has still been kicked out. He deserves a fair go and so do all migrants on temporary visas.

This case shows that all migrants on temporary visas are vulnerable to bureaucratic mistakes. Officials have to follow rules, but the Associate Immigration Minister Kate Wilkinson is supposed to be the safety valve. She has declined to review the case despite having new evidence from a specialist.

Please help us highlight this error and help make the system safer for all business and skilled migrants  on temporary visas.

Find out more
Read about what has happened to Martyn Payne here:
> http://www.move2nz.com/support_martyn_payne.aspx

This page also includes links to news articles and TV news videos about Martyn’s case.

Lend your support
You can help make a difference with just a click of your mouse!

Petition
Take a moment to sign this petition in support of a review of Martyn’s case:
> http://www.move2nz.com/support_martyn_payne.aspx

Send a message to the politicians
You can also use this page to send an email to Kate Wilkinson, the Associate Minister for Immigration and Prime Minister John Key:
> http://www.move2nz.com/support_martyn_payne.aspx

Facebook
If you are a member of facebook please visit and ‘like’ this page:
> Against the deportation of Martyn Payne

Call to action – tell your friends and contacts
If you are a member of any other forums, groups or organisations please post to ask your friends to support this petition.


Why is move2nz involved?
move2nz was created to add cultural and economic benefit to New Zealand through informing and supporting skilled migrants (who bring between $2 billion and $3 billion into the economy every year). Rather than sit on the sidelines we take action in lobbying politicians, highlighting problems and trying to improve the ‘system’.

We see this case as a real threat to New Zealand business and believe Kate Wilkinson is sending a message to entrepreneurs around the world that they are not safe or welcome in New Zealand. This error needs to be corrected and the system reviewed to provide greater security for skilled migrants looking to invest their skills and hard earned cash into New Zealand.

Martyn has played by the rules and deserves more than a bureaucratic decision to kick him out based on the medical opinion of someone who has never met him.

Dealing with the emotions of migration

June 17, 2010

The emotions of migration

Sick ParentOne of the most important and well received sections of the migration Seminars we ran in 2007 and 2008 was a presentation on the emotional affects of migration.

A unique aspect of the move2nz Seminars this field covers many things relating to:

  • you the migrant such as fear, home-sickness, and dealing with feelings of dislocation;
  • the effects of your migration on the immediate family travelling with you; and
  • issues with the friends and family left behind such as how/when to announce your plans, dealing with grief, jealously etc.

Being aware of these potential problems, good preparation and handling issues wisely can make a huge difference to your ability to cope with the emotional rollercoaster of migration and perhaps more importantly settle happily afterwards.

Why is this so important?
After our experiences of helping* literally thousands of families before, during and after their migration we found that this emotional side was one of the most important areas of preparation to get right as it had the potential to derail so many people’s plans.

Tammy and I had good success in helping* families coming to our Migrant Centre identify problem areas like home-sickness (which can manifest is a variety of ways) and build the tools to reduce the negative emotional impact of settlement issues. However we soon realised that if we could talk to people before they got on a plane we might reduce the number of people suffering from what were often the main reasons for migration failure.

After identifying the main causes of migration failure and steps that could be taken to reduce or even avoid these difficulties entirely we started our annual series of Seminars for migrants thinking about moving to New Zealand in 2007. Most of the members we now see happily settled in Christchurch attended these events proving their effectiveness.


 

So what can you do?

Lets start at the beginning and link this to Tammy’s current situation where her mother is suddenly very ill. You are on the other side of the world and don’t know what to do. At times like this guilt can be a very powerful negative emotion, but what can you do to prepare for this kind of situation?

  1. Own your reasons for migration
    International moves are often undertaken for the very best of reasons – expressing these reasons effectively and understanding why people want you to stay is important.

    In my own circumstances my aim was to move my children to a safe place where they would have the best childhood and chance of meeting their potential. Explaining these positive reasons to my parents with a clear idea of what benefits I was looking for and why definitely helped them feel better about their grandchildren travelling to the other side of the world.

    Talking about your plans If you parents understand and agree with your reasoning (although not always possible to achieve) it definitely helps everyone to keep strong positive relationships, reducing the damage cause by migration and heading off a large chunk of negative emotions felt by all concerned when for example a parent dies and you are faced with returning for a funeral or one of your children gets sick and your parents are far away.

  2. Prepare your roles
    Many people feel helpless and frustrated when a loved one falls ill far away. Knowing that this is not a possibility but a certainty to be faced one day you should prepare your role to be able to help in whatever way you can – whether organising a chain of communication or putting aside a fund for an emergency flight.

    Planning, explaining and accepting this role will ensure that everyone is ready and knows what to expect – whether it is your parent or your child that falls ill everyone should have a role and an opportunity to be able to provide a level of support and help. This will help reduce the panic, frustration and grief experienced by everyone affected.

As you can see, a lot of preparation for migration success actually happens in the comfort of your own skull. A range of negative emotions can be avoided if you have clearly thought out your reasons and prepared for the consequences of moving halfway around the world.

This article is not intended to cover everyone’s circumstances – we have seen how wildly they can vary – but to get you thinking. Ensuring to the best of your ability that everyone involved (you, your partner, kids and those you leave behind) is comfortable with your migration and the consequences of it can lift an immense burden from your shoulders now and in the future giving you less reasons to regret making that move.

Like writing a will facing down the worst possible potential situations can also give you peace of mind (further reducing homesickness). Whether it’s contemplating your elderly aunt not being able to fly to attend your daughter’s wedding or you not being able to get back for your Uncle’s funeral you need to think about this and prepare.

Some prospective migrants may think through this and decide that the emotional cost of migration is too high, some may be able to cope with the downsides of migration and decide it is a fair price to pay. Dealing with this before you make that move can help you make the best decisions for you as a family and that’s what our Seminars were all about.

I hope this information is useful. If you are interested in discussing this fully please post on the forum here to access the experiences of the whole move2nz network too.

* ‘Helping’: providing proactive and/or reactive settlement support.
(Sadly I have to provide a definition for ‘helping’ as the Immigration Advisers Authority have shown that they equate ‘helping’ with ‘providing tailored immigration advice’ which shows just how confused they are.)