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A Pinch of Politics

– with Natasha Tziakis

Raindrop, drop top, Labour is a political party that flip flops. Immigration is one of the lead discussions regarding the national election that is coming up in September, and it is causing some political parties to call each other out for inconsistencies.

Labour has recently come under fire as their pledge to double the refugee quota does not match to their immigration scheme. Their immigration scheme, as stated on their website, would see the party implement an Exceptional Skills Visa, strengthen the Labour Market Test and require a course for international students which would remove student’s ability to have low level jobs.

These requirements seem to be placing checkpoint after checkpoint – ensuring that under a Labour government, our immigrants would only be the ‘crème de la crème.’ This in itself is problematic. It is a system which enables attaching value, which is arbitrary anyway, to people. Once we start seeing people as ‘valuable’ or not, we immediately strip them of their humanity and make them purely a commodity.

Commodification of people, especially immigrants isn’t a new concept though. It’s been around for a number of years. But what this policy would do is enable a lawful way to display racism, xenophobia and elitism. For example, an unskilled person from Russia may be wanting to immigrate but fails the tests and visas. Them failing these requirements does not deter from the fact that this person could do amazing community work, make roots in New Zealand and have family that are of value to our society.

Although Labour has had this policy for a couple of months now, it was not until the Green Party and United Future criticised it, that the party introduced their plans to double the quota, hence the opening line. It seemed like a knee jerk reaction to try and make them favourable in the polls again.

Labour wanting to double the quota yet crack down on immigration is one of, to me, the biggest political contradictions we’ve had this year in New Zealand. This is because at what point do refugees become immigrants? Is it after two years? Four years? When the wars are over? How is Labour going to create a fair system for both refugees and immigrants?

Also, the argument that politicians and everyday people alike use most commonly against immigration is that immigrants take away from kiwis, take away our houses and block the roads. Now, just imagine if that same government hadn’t spent so much money on the flag referendum and actually used the land available to create more houses, imagine how little substance that argument would now have.

As a person who has three out of four grandparents as immigrants, I understand the value that people express in different ways and although I am young, I also understand that one blanket system will fail more people than it will help.

It is always an interesting time when the left criticises the left, which means that it is up to us to make sure we are informed about policy and to discuss it with the different people in our lives.

And that was your pinch of politics with Natasha Tziakis.

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Election time!

So, for those of you who are already enrolled to vote, you will have received a letter confirming your address for the upcoming election. For those of you who didn’t, here are a few ways to get sussed to make sure you are enrolled in time. You can enrol entirely online and use your RealMe account, of which we should all have, we are university students, duh. You can send a text with your full name and address to 3676 to have an enrolment form sent to your house. Or you can try and find if Postman Pat is real and alive by going past your local post office and picking up a form there.

The last day for enrolment is Friday, September 22 as the election is held Saturday, September 23, so it will be better if you are enrolled before then as there will need to be confirmations of identity and address.

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Tsk, tsk Todd

Privacy is a big issue for a lot of people, so it’s no surprise that when news broke that National MP for Clutha-Southland, Todd Barclay, had been allegedly recording conversations between himself and a former staff member, there was going to be a big backlash. To make matters worse media reported Prime Minister Bill English was aware the recordings took place, tarnishing his image. Barclay has since confirmed he will not be standing in this year’s elections.

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