Good to hear David Cunliffe on Firstline this morning clearing up the nonsense about Labour’s immigration policy.
There’s been a lot of heat on Labour from the usual beat-up suspects and not a lot of light until now.
Which is why Labour could have approached it with more care, but what’s been forgotten by a lot of people is that this started with a response to Paddy Gower’s question on The Nation about immigration in which Cunliffe made it clear that managing migration is just what government does along with every other economic lever. And as one commenter on that story put it, it’s not a great policy to invite people into your country only to leave them with no chance of a job or a decent home.
Of course Gower being Gower wasn’t going to take a rationale response for an answer. By last Monday night he was claiming it was all a massive dog-whistle on Labour’s part.
He’d even commissioned polling on immigration by then and in his online blog Gower was making it clear he wanted to set immigration up as an issue:
But it is still time for Labour to hit the panic button.
It may need to look at going harder on the immigration issue – there is no time to be nuanced when you are on 29.5 percent.
Labour should get a major policy out there, even something it has saved for the campaign trail.
He’s making that call because despite all the coverage on the issue Labour hasn’t announced any new immigration policy. What they have done in the last week is go into bat for Pacific Islanders who are getting a raw deal from the government’s economic policies, for the family of Sanil Kuma who died of an illness related to his kidney failure after he was deported to Fiji by the National government despite having most of the money he needed for treatment in New Zealand, and for the creation of a Chinese Language week.
But you won’t hear about that from Paddy Gower because it doesn’t fit 3News’ expensive polling questions and Gower’s gonzo agenda. Instead it’s all about racist Labour. We expect that from Gower, the real shame is how many Labour supporters bought into his bullshit, and the unnecessary hurt it’s caused migrant communities.