A tale of three immigrants

Written By: - Date published: 8:52 am, July 29th, 2017 - 26 comments
Categories: national, national/act government, same old national, us politics - Tags: ,

The plight of three immigrants to our fair nation shows a stark contrast in treatment.

The first immigrant is a young Tongan, Moriah, who suffers from a complex array of health problems. From Radio New Zealand:

Moriah, 18 months old, was born with abnormal brain function and has a range of complex medical issues.

She was in the emergency room for a whole month before she was allowed home, and suffers from disorders such as high aspiration risk, severe reduced muscle strength and a hole in her heart.

She requires round-the-clock care, has to be fed through her nose and needs three doses of medicine each day.

The family have always been in New Zealand legally, whether on work or visitor visas, but now Moriah’s one-month visitor visa has expired.

The Immigration and Protection Tribunal has given the girl until March 2018 to stay in the country.

Sending the family back to Tonga is a likely death sentence for Moriah.

They have letters of support – from the Ministry of Health in Tonga, doctors from Auckland’s Starship Hospital, and a social worker – asking the government to allow Moriah to stay in New Zealand permanently due to the high risk she could die if she goes back to Tonga.

In a letter to the tribunal, her pediatrician explains how serious her condition is and offering support.

“Moriah needs the care that can be provided by a tertiary children’s hospital. It is essential for Moriah’s care that she remain in New Zealand,” the letter says.

And the family has done what they can to be productive and useful members of our community.

Ms Tu’inukuafe-Lupeitu’u said she arrived in New Zealand more than 10 years ago, her husband Filipe eight years ago and their two children were both been born in New Zealand.

She said they were not in New Zealand to abuse the immigration system.

“We’re [not] actually entitiled to any kind of supplement for renting or anything from WINZ, those things we’re not eligible for because we’re not [permanent residents],” she said.

“I know we’re responsible for our children … but after we get paid, [it’s] rent first … food, and sometimes we have to live with $30 per week.”

She said she got her a bachelor’s degree in New Zealand and she and her husband had always tried to work and contribute to the country.

She worked in manager roles at supermarket chain Nosh and Filipe was now single-handedly supporting the family as a vehicle dismantler.

I am sure the right will raise a number of criticisms of the notion that Moriah should be allowed to live in New Zealand permanently.  But I am more than happy for this to occur and for my tax dollars to be used so that Moriah can continue to live.

The second immigrant is Steve Jensen.  He and his family ran a very successful and popular cafe in the Lower Hutt.  Their problem was that they were too optimistic with their business projection which were originally submitted to Immigration and they have been punished for this even though their business is in the black as well as being very popular.  Again from Radio New Zealand:

The Associate Immigration Minister has declined to overturn a decision rejecting residency for an American family who were forced to leave the country for not meeting financial visa requirements.

Steve and Nancy Jensen moved to Lower Hutt with their four teenage children in 2013, where they bought a café and a half share in the building it’s in.

The Java Point Café and Bistro made a profit and employed several staff,

But Mr Jensen said the business plan their immigration advisor submitted when applying for their long-term business visas over-stated the cafe’s possible profit margins, and projected an unrealistic 45 percent increase in sales in the first three years.

He said the Immigration Department would not accept revisions to the business plan once it had been accepted.

Chris Bishop is trying to occupy the moral high ground and has said the Jensen family should have been allowed to stay.  This is populist posturing.  When you are a member of a government that has an aggressive punitive stance on immigration you should wear the cruel decisions.  All of them.

But it appears that strict adherence to the rules and policies is not always required.  For instance if you are a billionaire American with strange ideas and a desire to buy land in the South Island as a bolt hole from the pending Trumpocalypse in the United States this Government will grant you citizenship, even if you have only spent 12 days in the past five years in the country as opposed to the normally required 1,350 days.

And to really spice things up the Government through inept negotiations will allow you to walk away with all of the profits from a successful joint venture.  All $27 million of them.  The Government was played.

So a dedicated Tongan family with a health crisis and a dedicated American family who both were making a real contribution are shown the door.  But an uber wealthy American is given the red carpet treatment and citizenship despite his not meeting the policy.  And a big cheque.

This Government’s priorities are very clear.

26 comments on “A tale of three immigrants”

  1. Keepcalmcarryon 1

    if the Tongan family were working on a dairy farm then fear not, dairy nz would be lobbying like hell for them to stay so the farmer gets his slave labour and the taxpayer foot the bill for the child’s care.

    It’s cold but remember every dollar spent keeping a non citizen alive is a dollar not spent keeping a kiwi alive. A government must govern for ITS citizens first.

    This government though is an absolute sell out to business and commercial interests.
    I sure wouldn’t call them hardline or particularly punitive. They care if you have money, not if you don’t.

  2. Brendan 2

    Don’t forget the Indian students that got dicked around by some shady paperwork that was not of their own doing.

  3. Johan 3

    Chris Bishop, typifies the lazy, gutless, do-nothing National MP mentality. Too many of our politicians readily pick up their inflated wage packets and perks without supporting their constituents. Steve and Nancy Jensen and their family were given the boot unfairly, despite making a tremendous contribution to the community.
    The unproductive waffle by Chris Bishop, …..”National MP Chris Bishop says the Jensen family’s application for residency should have been approved, but they can still ask to extend their visas”,….BS Chrissie. The Jensens receiving legal advice, and were told that they didn’t have a chance with the visa appeal.

    • Sam C 3.1

      Chris Bishop is one of the hardest working list MPs in parliament. Which is why he will romp home in the Hutt South electorate this election. Well deserved too.

      • Ethica 3.1.1

        He has a very good family-run spin machine. Hard working maybe in comparison with some other National backbenchers. But Ginny Andersen is running rings around him.

      • Johan 3.1.2

        Sure Sam, I believe you;-))))))))))))))))

  4. greywarshark 4

    We don’t need more cafe owners in NZ – we have a tsunami of them. So immigrants have to bring more advantages than that. Just because they come from the English-speaking group of nations doesn’t mean that they can automatically be welcomed as permanent citizens here. But if they were wealthy – different.

    We know that wealthy people who bring in and register their money, at least for a while, help boost our financial standing in the shonky measurements used by the financial fiddlers that are the leaders of the world. We need our injections of money from overseas like drug addicts inject their drug of choice. But Peter Thiel looks like a younger John Key. From the RW point of view he is a friend with benefits that are useful to the government.

    • Siobhan 4.1

      I’m inclined to agree, but still, funny isn’t it…we ‘need’ Migrant workers in the hospitality industry “because they are able to fill labour and skill shortages.’…but we don’t need uppity ones that might want to actually own a cafe. Especially ironic seeing as for so many of us the modern economy seems to be all about selling cups of coffee to one another.

    • Stuart Munro 4.2

      Thiel only looks young because he drains the blood of the young working poor.

      http://www.vanityfair.com/news/2016/08/peter-thiel-wants-to-inject-himself-with-young-peoples-blood

    • Johan 4.3

      To greywarshark,
      Your comment in paragraph one, is a gross generalisation, the need and success of a cafe depends on its location and how well it serves the community.
      The fact that you single out that they come from an English speaking group, indicates your inherit bias.

      • greywarshark 4.3.1

        Johan
        There is a bias in NZ for English speaking countries, one example is how we are in the spy circle of 5 Eyes, why our past PM lived half his time in Hawaii which is USA state, why we are so anxious about the results of Brexit and our accessibility to Britain, why we put up with Oz and their fascist tendencies. If you haven’t grasped this then you need to spend more time learning instead of showing your inherent bias by jumping at others statements out of your ignorance.

        • Johan 4.3.1.1

          greywarshark,

          That is why New Zealand keeps sucking up to the Chinese for better trade deals and loans?
          Mate, you need to remove that patch from one of your eyes. Your BS doesn’t impress me at all!!!

          • greywarshark 4.3.1.1.1

            Johan
            You are a bit confused. I say that the reason we are being asked to enable USA people to run a cafe and get residency or citizenship is because they are English speaking and from the USA and we are biased to accept their citizens. Then I point out how tied to English speaking countries we are. Which is obvious.

            Then you make some query about why are we looking to China for business. And say something about a patch in my eye.

            I don’t get your point and perhaps you don’t have a clear one in your own mind. We are trying to widen our trading partners and China was a move into a newly open market and they have tremendous amounts of cash in their middle class to spend so the government encourages them to come here and buy things. We are dependent on their money to keep NZ Limited going. Which you seem to agree with in 5.1.

            This is something you said at 10.02 am.
            Steve and Nancy Jensen and their family were given the boot unfairly, despite making a tremendous contribution to the community.

            I said at 10.38 am.
            We don’t need more cafe owners in NZ – we have a tsunami of them. So immigrants have to bring more advantages than that. Just because they come from the English-speaking group of nations doesn’t mean that they can automatically be welcomed as permanent citizens here. But if they were wealthy – different.

            Then Johan on 30/7 at 5.56 am.
            To greywarshark,
            Your comment in paragraph one, is a gross generalisation, the need and success of a cafe depends on its location and how well it serves the community.
            The fact that you single out that they come from an English speaking group, indicates your inherit bias.
            (I haven’t commented on that at all, just that we have plenty of cafe owners in NZ, and need no more even if they are from USA. You apparently have decided they should be allowed to stay because they impress you.)

            You like these people and think they should live permanently in NZ and not have to go home. Others have suffered the same in the past, some Germans who were running a cafe on west coast S.I. I was sorry about that but now we are suffering from the pressure of too many immigrants
            and the line has to be drawn.

            You note there are a lot of Chinese here and that the government is using their money to prop up the country. That is the bias that the NZ government has – for people with money. And if your people had more money they could have bought their way in also.

            I don’t like anybody being able to buy their way into residency or citizenship in this country – that is my bias. This is just to explain my belief. So
            you can’t label me with some mixed-up explanation that lurks in your mind.

            And 30/7 at 6 a.m. Johan you appear to say the same. So I don’t know what you are arguing about.

  5. Cinny 5

    Slightly off topic but relevant

    Immigration government flip flop was a topic on The Nation this morning.

    Minister was invited on the show but declined.

    How on earth do we get any answers if National avoids media questions ?

    • Johan 5.1

      Immigration is something that this National gov’t avoids talking about. Our whole false economy, “A Brighter Future”, is based on how many immigrants we can get through the door, and stuff the consequences.

  6. I am sure the right will raise a number of criticisms of the notion that Moriah should be allowed to live in New Zealand permanently. But I am more than happy for this to occur and for my tax dollars to be used so that Moriah can continue to live.

    I have no problems with that family simply being made citizens. But I also think that the young daughter be allowed to die. I don’t think we’ll be doing her or anybody else a favour by keeping her alive.

    But Mr Jensen said the business plan their immigration advisor submitted when applying for their long-term business visas over-stated the cafe’s possible profit margins, and projected an unrealistic 45 percent increase in sales in the first three years.

    He said the Immigration Department would not accept revisions to the business plan once it had been accepted.

    Which is ridiculous – nobody can precisely predict how a business is going to go. This is what makes provisional tax such a bloody fuck up for businesses across NZ and is being changed from the outdated system it was.

    But it appears that strict adherence to the rules and policies is not always required. For instance if you are a billionaire American with strange ideas and a desire to buy land in the South Island as a bolt hole from the pending Trumpocalypse in the United States this Government will grant you citizenship, even if you have only spent 12 days in the past five years in the country as opposed to the normally required 1,350 days.

    And Theil should never have been given citizenship. It was obviously citizenship for cash and those involved should be charged with some bloody thing and his citizenship revoked.

    • Graeme 6.1

      “And Theil should never have been given citizenship. It was obviously citizenship for cash and those involved should be charged with some bloody thing and his citizenship revoked.”

      I wonder if granting Theil citizenship wasn’t an expedient way around a security clearance issue with the work his company was doing for our government / spooks?

      Doesn’t make it excusable, but does give it some sort of logic in a dildoian way.

      As for Mr Jensen and family, there’s a young Indian couple who bought the convenience store across the road, I’d love to see the comparison between their business plan and actual figures. The difference here is that they bought a “proven” business of a guy who had a chain of them, rather than started from scratch.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.1

        a security clearance issue

        *snap*

        A way to make it “legal” for him to breach everyone’s privacy. Time the Proceeds of Crime Act was applied a little more evenly.

  7. UncookedSelachimorpha 7

    The whole idea of the “rich immigrants are good” idea is that it is supposed to make NZ a better place for everyone.

    So tax the hell out of esteemed citizen Peter Thiel and use the money to pay for Moriah – win-win and Peter Thiel will still be filthy rich.

  8. savenz 8

    Peter Thiel has 3 citizenships apparently, born in Austria, US citizenship and now NZ. Does it seem fair some people have 3 citizenships and can’t be bothered living in the countries, other people struggle to find a safe place to live?

    https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/jul/21/peter-thiel-republican-convention-speech

    “In a 2009 essay called The Education of a Libertarian, Thiel declared that capitalism and democracy had become incompatible. Since 1920, he argued, the creation of the welfare state and “the extension of the franchise to women” had made the American political system more responsive to more people – and therefore more hostile to capitalism. Capitalism is not “popular with the crowd”, Thiel observed, and this means that as democracy expands, the masses demand greater concessions from capitalists in the form of redistribution and regulation.

    The solution was obvious: less democracy. But in 2009, Thiel despaired of achieving this goal within the realm of politics. How could you possibly build a successful political movement for less democracy?

    Fast forward two years, when the country was still slowly digging its way out of the financial crisis. In 2011, Thiel told George Packer that the mood of emergency made him “weirdly hopeful”. The “failure of the establishment” had become too obvious to ignore, and this created an opportunity for something radically new, “something outside the establishment”, to take root.”

    Now, in 2016, Thiel has finally found a politician capable of seizing that opportunity: a disruptor-in-chief who will destroy a dying system and build a better one in its place. Trump isn’t just a flamethrower for torching a rotten establishment, however – he’s the fulfillment of Thiel’s desire to build a successful political movement for less democracy.”

    • greywarshark 8.1

      Thanks for that interesting item on Theil savenz.

      Austria is an interesting country when one considers it was Hayek’s country (the economist that was one of the precursors to the neoliberal economics), Hitler came from there, and now Thiel with strong ideas about money and democracy.

      The Austrians lost a lot of their dominance in the world, they had an empire.
      Countries hate losing their empires, and it produces a huge and disrupting change that washes over the country. Perhaps we are still being affected by fallout from the past loss of power, position and pecuniary and material goods. I didn’t know much about their past and am really surprised at how ignorant I have been of their importance and leadership in development.

      Austria-Hungary before World War I – Alpha History
      alphahistory.com/worldwar1/austria-hungary/
      Austria-Hungary before World War I was an empire, the largest political entity in mainland Europe. It spanned almost 700,000 square kilometres and occupied …

      and
      Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austria-Hungary
      Austria-Hungary was a multinational state and one of the world’s great powers at the time. Austria-Hungary was geographically the second-largest country in Europe after the Russian Empire, at 621,538 km2 (239,977 sq mi),[5] and the third-most populous (after Russia and the German Empire).

      The Empire built up the fourth-largest machine building industry of the world, after the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom.[6] Austria-Hungary also became the world’s third largest manufacturer and exporter of electric home appliances, electric industrial appliances and power generation apparatus for power plants, after the United States and the German Empire.[7][8]

    • The Other Mike 8.2

      Great links, Savenz. Another thread in the otherwise growing cloak of evidence that Capitalism is incompatible with modern society – except as a leach which devours all and gives nothing.

  9. Bill 9

    It seems common enough to refuse residency or citizenship on health grounds. Personally, I think it’s fucking monstrous.

    But then, we ain’t ever going to have that conversation. Apparently NZ (as well as plenty of other ‘first world’ countries) can’t afford to have poor and unwell people become a part of society.

    And it’s the poor bit that’s crucial. If Moriah’s parents had comprehensive health insurance for her and her condition, then I’m picking NZ Immigration would be fairly relaxed about it all.

  10. greywarshark 10

    How can we go on supporting people who can do little for themselves from the time of babyhood with either no brain function or just enough to be aware of being unable to live life as an individual? Why are their lives more important than another person who could have a life if we just helped them get water, grow crops etc.

    Do people have to be pathetically helpless before we can feel empathy or sympathy for them?

    Moriah, 18 months old, was born with abnormal brain function and has a range of complex medical issues.
    She was in the emergency room for a whole month before she was allowed home, and suffers from disorders such as high aspiration risk, severe reduced muscle strength and a hole in her heart.

    The problem is that we do not have a decent, respectful approach to living and dying and the expectations of citizens to decide what sort of life they want for themselves and their dependants. The parents cannot afford to look after the child that will never grow up to be independent. The state cannot afford the medical help required over years. The state can’t afford now the support services to those who can live independently. How can people make a reasoned and ethical decision about who is assisted or not, and whether the medical help will result with a beneficial end to enable independence. And why can’t we have better hospice funding so that people can die and receive good nursing care aided by relatives who could resign themselves to having done the best throughout the time of that person’s most active life?

  11. Daveosaurus 11

    Micky – your points are well made but I must take issue with the way Moriah is described as an ‘immigrant’. Assuming this is accurate:

    their two children were both been born in New Zealand.” (crap grammar verbatim from the RNZ web site).

    Born. In. New. Zealand.

    There’s a hell of a lot of palagis (or whatever Tongan for ‘palagi’ is) that should be kicked out of this country before kicking out Moriah.

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