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We have an obligation to act on Manus Island

Written By: - Date published: 6:20 am, November 2nd, 2017 - 229 comments
Categories: australian politics, jacinda ardern - Tags: , ,

While I wouldn’t go so far as suggesting gunboat diplomacy as a first resort, we have to do something about the situation on Manus Island. Australia has illegally kept these refugees in Papua New Guinea to avoid processing them, the local government is trying to compromise between sucking up to Australia and their own citizens being aggressively opposed to the refugees’ presence. The detainees fear the proposed new solution of resettlement into open communities in PNG will leave them vulnerable to theft or violence from the locals, (not without evidence) so under the circumstances it’s no surprise that they’re refusing to leave the detention centre even though Australia is threatening to starve them out.

If you haven’t been following this situation, Idiot/Savant at No Right Turn has been dutifully cataloguing the events.

We should make a better offer to take them as refugees and consider whether there’s a solution where we assure Malcolm Turnball that these people have no further intention to move to Australia. Contrary to his prior comments, the only “marketing opportunity” here is for New Zealand to once again show refugees in the region that if they want to come to a Pacific democracy, we’re the one to pick, and they shouldn’t even bother considering Australia.

Honestly, it also takes a fair amount of… shall we say boldness, to claim that a group of people who have been denied their human rights and potentially tortured under Australian custody would use the opportunity of New Zealand citizenship as a backdoor into Australia. Why would they want to go back to a country that imprisoned them for daring to be refugees? Australia has already proven it’s the wrong destination for refugees travelling by boat.

This situation will be the first real test of Ardern’s claim that she can stand up to Australia and get better outcomes than the National government did, and is a good way to show the rest of the world that despite her coalition with New Zealand First, Ardern doesn’t intend to be “like Trump on immigration.” These people are in crisis and need urgent help, and all John Key and Bill English would do is keep our long-standing offer to Australia “on the table,” a polite way of saying they couldn’t think of anything better to do than to keep being told no by Australia. Ardern should try taking the offer to Papua New Guinea, or seeing what she can do to address Australia’s concerns, and maybe she should even consider what her options are with the UN or resorting to gunboat diplomacy if everything else does fail, but the one thing she can’t do is nothing.

If you’d like to stress the importance of this to the Minister of Immigration and the Prime Minister, there is a petition up at Action Station.

229 comments on “We have an obligation to act on Manus Island ”

  1. Carolyn_nth 1

    On October 25 RNZ reported:

    Incoming prime minister Jacinda Ardern says New Zealand’s offer to take refugees from Australia’s offshore detention centres remains on the table.

    Ms Ardern said her government was committed to the offer to take 150 refugees from offshore detention, but she said she needed to study the proposal.

    “I want to look at the detail of the offer that was made and the obligations that we’ve set out that we would take on,” she said.

    “Of course that would be within our (refugee) quota, and within existing intent that we’ve shared with the UN around taking UN mandated refugees.”

    New Zealand’s annual refugee quota is due to be hiked from 750 to 1000 in 2018.

    Checkpoint last night played an audio of an Ardern interview with CNN in which she said she was aiming for NZ to do it’s bit in taking climate change refugees from the Pacific region. At about 1 hour 23-4 mins into the video.


    Checkpoint then played an ABC (Aussie) report on Manus Island.

    • Matthew Whitehead 1.1

      The offer remaining on the table isn’t good enough because Australia are refusing to take it. Ardern needs to figure out if there is some way to make it work, or to side-step Australia, or to strongarm them into taking the deal. Just telling Australia something they obviously don’t want to hear isn’t working, and it was Ardern herself who thought she could navigate the Australian Government’s intransigence better than English. This is her first chance to prove it.

      • Wairua 1.1.1

        Jess might not have much of a chance with Malcolm – but Tainui might if their waka cruised into Nohang on Manus via Tasman/Coral/Bismarck seas, earning respect and bringing highly motivated people back home. It might have to be accompanied by a frigate for safety.

  2. Honestly, it also takes a fair amount of… shall we say boldness, to claim that a group of people who have been denied their human rights and potentially tortured under Australian custody would use the opportunity of New Zealand citizenship as a backdoor into Australia.

    Ever seen that guy Dutton? He’s a swivel-eyed loon and a low-rent gauleiter. This is exactly the kind of “boldness” that he and his fellow Aus conservatives would value. Their assumption is that of course these people would look on NZ as a stepping-stone to the superior country, Australia.

    • Matthew Whitehead 2.1

      Oh, I believe it of Australia’s frankly mendacious and stupid government. I’m just pointing out how illogical it is for all to see.

  3. Antoine 3

    The Australian boat refugee policy is based on deterrence. The idea is to leave prospective migrants in no doubt that they will not get a good outcome by entering the country by boat. The Aussies will not want to let these people enter NZ as it would undermine the deterrence strategy and lead to a further influx.


    • Antoine 3.1

      I’m not sure the Manus refugees would be great additions to NZ anyway as they would have been messed up by their terrible experiences. From a NZ perspective, it would be better to bring in people who are more likely to be healthy, happy and well integrated.


      • weka 3.1.1

        Said without a trace of irony.

      • Cinny 3.1.2

        We helped a mum and her kids come to NZ in the 80’s as refugees.

        She had endured some horrific experiences, they would run through the jungle at night and hide during the day. Her husband had been murdered by the military, what she lived through would mess anyone up.

        When they came here, they hardly spoke any english, everything was so strange for them. She cried all night the first night in NZ, it wasn’t because she was sad, it was because she was so happy, her kids had somewhere safe to sleep, she was safe. It had been years since she felt that kind of safety

        Her kids went on to gain university degrees, their lives all changed for the better.

        Refugees don’t come to NZ healthy, happy and well integrated, but once they arrive we can help them to be healthy, happy and integrated.

        The refugee mum is now one of the happiest women I have ever met, every day she is thankful for being here with her kids. And I feel so blessed to know her and her family, she recently came down from Auckland for a visit, I so enjoyed cuddling up with her and laughing, looking at photos of her kids and their families all grown up and contributing to NZ society. Love that lady so much.

        Massively supportive of any refugees that come here, we could do with more of them, they are fantastic people that have suffered greatly due to the decisions of others. Refugees have suffered enough without us turning our backs on them.

        • Antoine

          Well done

          • Tracey

            Pretty sure the point is that you assume bad experience = bad migrant.

            • Matthew Whitehead

              Again, these aren’t migrants. They’re refugees- people who have been politically persecuted for blogging, or for being queer, or other arbitrary reasons, and have fled for their own safety. (or have simply been displaced by or are fleeing from war) Refugees have a more protected status than migrants, so it’s really important to differentiate them.

              We are obliged under the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (and therefore, the UNHCR) to take refugees, that’s what the whole quote raising discussion was about. Technically, Australia is too, which is why I have referred to the detention of these refugees in PNG as illegal several times.

              • KJT

                My experience of refugees is the make a infinitely more valuable contribution, to New Zealand, than house speculating millionaires.

          • tracey

            The point I took from Cinny’s anecdote is that your assumption that bad experience = bad migrant is flawed.

            • Antoine

              I certainly would never assert that _all_ refugees were bad migrants!


              • tracey

                No but your comments appear to have to be rid with more riders than the Grand National.

              • weka

                “I certainly would never assert that _all_ refugees were bad migrants!”

                No, but you said that refugees that have have had bad experiences shouldn’t come here.

                You do understand how people end up refugees right?

              • Matthew Whitehead

                They’re not migrants at all. As refugees they have additional rights that migrants don’t, and Australia was actually legally obliged to take them in.

            • Cinny

              Yes you know it Tracey 🙂

              Antoine, this bit…..

              “it would be better to bring in people who are more likely to be healthy, happy and well integrated.”

              Refugees don’t come to NZ healthy and happy, but living in NZ we can help them become healthy and happy, we can change and improve lives, that’s the kind of NZ i want to be a part of.

              • Antoine

                Well spoken

                (Edit: I know 2 people who help refugees in NZ and they are both amazing)

                • Cinny

                  Good stuff A. Kudos to those amazing people that you know.

                  Antoine, Seeing as 3 is the magic number, maybe you could know 3 amazing refugee helpers, you could be the third 🙂

                • greywarshark

                  Hey people aren’t amazing because they do something selfless for others. You don’t have to be someone out of the ordinary. The praise should go to the refugees really – they are amazing and many are so strong in their minds, good people despite all, that they look forward and remain positive, and stay sane and regain balance, and reach out and help others when they are on their feet. Now that’s amazing.

                  Paula Bennett turned tough on single parents after being one. John Key was brought up in a state house and then was party to his Party ensuring this government resource was dropped to far below the need. Not all people are amazing in that way thank goodness.

                • Matthew Whitehead

                  So why are you opposing his work by advocating to keep refugees out of NZ, when we already take less per capita than other democratic, developed countries?

                  • Antoine

                    I actually don’t aim to ‘keep refugees out of NZ’: I would be happy to keep or slightly increase our current quota – while preferring to fill it with ‘high functioning’ refugees. I appreciate you disagree with this.

                    I doubt however that we will see an increase in refugee numbers while Peters has the ability to veto it.


                    • Matthew Whitehead

                      Some refugees are high functioning, sure, but if we’re gonna limit spots for refugees and provide the heavy support service we currently do, we should prioritize those that aren’t, because not everyone handles refugees with higher needs as well as New Zealand does.

                      It’s not entirely self-interested, (at least not in the traditional sense) sure, but it shows we mean it when we talk about our values on the world stage. It’s precisely our commitment on issues like this that lends credibility to our claim to be straight-talkers in international negotiations and pursue independent foreign policy that’s not always based on political realism- or at least, to do so when National’s not in power.

                      I’m pretty sure Ardern will be savvy and package any increase of refugee numbers together with other initiatives that Peters does want. 😉

                    • Antoine

                      > I’m pretty sure Ardern will be savvy and package any increase of refugee numbers together with other initiatives that Peters does want.

                      I’m pretty sure she would be unsuccessful in such endeavour. We shall see.

                      I’m also pretty sure that she won’t push Aussie too hard on Manus, preferring to save what diplomatic credit we have to try to better the lot of NZers in Australia.


                    • Sam aka clump

                      About as successful as billy was at putting together a coalition agreement together eh?

                    • Antoine []

                      Yes, exactly.

                    • Sam aka clump

                      Well that’s just a stupid argument because it’s labour 2 (coalitions with Winston) to Nationals 1. And Nationals only got Seymour left. And nobody likes Seymour.

                    • Antoine

                      > nobody likes Seymour

                      I like him. Thousands of people must like him, otherwise he wouldn’t have got elected.


                    • Sam aka clump

                      Bruh. I’m trying to say National have a really shit track record at maintaining coalition agreements. And Labour have a far better track record. And you in total denial.

                    • Antoine []

                      I didnt deny it!!

      • Psycho Milt 3.1.3

        I’m not sure the Manus refugees would be great additions to NZ anyway as they would have been messed up by their terrible experiences.

        Their terrible experiences at the hands of what claims to be a liberal western democracy, yes. Or as OAB put it down-thread re Turnbull:

        “they aren’t genuine refugees…”.

        Well they bloody well are now you’ve finished with them, ‘mate’.

        • Antoine

          > Their terrible experiences at the hands of what claims to be a liberal western democracy, yes.

          Yes, those are the terrible experiences I mean.


          • tracey

            Do you deliberately post short, easily misconstrued comments to which you then come back multiple times to reply? It just seems if you were clearer about what you mean in your first comment… but maybe that is not as much fun for you?

            • Antoine

              I thought my comments were perfectly clear??

              • weka

                Yes, you want NZ to exclude people from living here that have bad experiences so that NZ can be all sunny and rosy. Really clear.

            • greywarshark

              To Antoine Do you deliberately post short, easily misconstrued comments to which you then come back multiple times to reply?

              Answer Yes. And she/he can create a long thread and take up other people’s time interacting with her (why) in this way. Perhaps this person, he or she, enjoys playing the part of the cool intellectual to the hot-headed lefties who react so quickly to her essays into blogging. They aren’t really comments are they, just a long way of saying ‘I don’t care to think about this.’

      • OnceWasTim 3.1.4

        “I’m not sure [insert 3rd World Nationality here] would be great additions to NZ anyway as they would have been messed up by their terrible experiences”. From a NZ perspective, it would be better to bring in [White Anglo Saxon Protestant/Catholic] people who are more likely to be wealthy, privileged and assimilated.


        • Antoine

          > From a NZ perspective, it would be better to bring in [White Anglo Saxon Protestant/Catholic] people who are more likely to be wealthy, privileged and assimilated.

          Exactly! Why the /sarc?


          • DoublePlusGood

            Because that is idiotic racism. You’re a racist.

            • marty mars

              + 1 and thick but then I’ve never met an intelligent racist – oxymoronic.

              • DoublePlusGood

                I’ve met some blatant racists who are at least quite intelligent in terms of cognitive ability, they just choose to use that to be awful people. Which isn’t very smart, but…they could be smart if they wanted to, I guess?

                • Yep a few racists can drive and hold down jobs and appear to be able to function within society – just a cover though – their seething mass of personal insecurity dulls their synapses and blurs the sharp edge of their critical thinking and analysis – thus they think and often blurt out racist rhetoric which is equally pathetic and funny. ☺

          • Andrea

            “Why the /sarc?” Because that’s a trait of this particular blog.

            Immigrants may well fit your preferred profile – although colour and ethnicity aren’t as importance as adaptability and open -mindedness (because this country has a LONG history of patronising and damning people from other continents – just on accents.) And they can usually leave for other places if the locals are difficult.

            Refugees are not the same – as Cinny as pointed out.

            I just hope that your proffered profile is not matched by opportunists from North America – however many boxes they can tick on the list. 😉 We’ve got enough golf courses, thanks.

      • Matthew Whitehead 3.1.5

        All refugees have experiences like that, Antoine. That’s why we have an acclimatization project that helps them adjust to life in NZ.

        If you’re bringing in people who are healthy, happy, and likely to integrate easily, those are immigrants, not refugees.

        • Antoine

          Exactly! We should have more immigrants rather than more refugees.

          • Draco T Bastard

            We presently have far too many immigrants.

            • marty mars

              Citation needed please

                • In the stuff one – They asked the question whether immigration was to blame and the answer from the treasury report was interpreted as, ‘seems to suggest’ – hardly definitive.

                  Anyway your original statement was subjective so all good.

                  • In the stuff one – They asked the question whether immigration was to blame and the answer from the treasury report was interpreted as, ‘seems to suggest’ – hardly definitive.

                    Which means more data is needed but indications are that immigration has costs – as anyone who can do logic would know.

                    Anyway your original statement was subjective so all good.

                    Only in your delusional world where immigration doesn’t have a large number of costs associated with it.

              • weka

                Where I live they keep building new suburbs, and all the infrastructure that goes with that. I don’t know how to explain this because I think it’s self evident, but we live in a finite world, so the issue is about how many people we want and how many we can support ecologically.

                My preference is we increase the number of refugee people we give a home to, and lessen/stabilise the number of immigrants from wealthy countries where the people are already doing well. There will also be a case to be made for people immigrating to improve their lives where that is substantially below our standard of living.

                I also think NZers need to drop their standard of living, or at last get real that increasing our standard of living comes at the cost of other people.

                At the moment we are looking at immigration in terms of the economy. I want us to look at it in terms of ecology, of which the economy is but a subset.

            • tracey

              I think the last immigrant to go to parliament was a former trainer of chinese spies. Whereas the last refugee is an International lawyer

            • Matthew Whitehead

              Arguably long term we will need to reduce our population, maybe even below current numbers, this is true, however all indications are that we are already on track for global population stabilisation and even some decline in the future, (although likely not below current population numbers- estimates are that at peak we will reach 11b) which means that countries like New Zealand will likely end up with smaller populations given that immigration demand will go down in the long-term, given that our birth rate, even with heavy immigration, (this is relevant because immigrants and refugees tend to have larger families than citizens born in New Zealand) is still below 2 children per woman.

              That means any immigration “problems” we have are short or medium term ones, about exploitation of immigrants, or immigration outstripping infrastructure development. Neither of these situations are the fault of immigrants, and while it might not be bad to slow down immigration from a short-term perspective, we should be very careful about the implications for a diverse, open, and inclusive New Zealand in discussing that in the abstract, because it has very real effects on both the immigrants that want to come in, but also the ones that are already here.

              • …given that our birth rate, (this is relevant because immigrants and refugees tend to have larger families than citizens born in New Zealand) is still below 2 children per woman.

                Which probably shows a major problem with our socialisation.

                That means any immigration “problems” we have are short or medium term ones, about exploitation of immigrants, or immigration outstripping infrastructure development. Neither of these situations are the fault of immigrants

                Correct but doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t do something about those problems.

                …because it has very real effects on both the immigrants that want to come in, but also the ones that are already here.

                Neither of those are our concerns as a nation. If some potential immigrants decide they don’t want to come here then that’s their choice. Our choice is how many and who we let in.

                • Matthew Whitehead

                  1) No it doesn’t. This is a norm around the developed world. Living our lifestyle makes you not want to replace the population. It’s not a long-term problem, as most likely it will still take a large workforce to support a lifestyle like in modern New Zealand into the future, so likely any population decline will cause the very social changes needed to reverse the trend.

                  2) Yes, we should do something, we should invest in more infrastructure and labour inspectors. We need them anyway to deal with the people already here, so why not just a little bit more?

                  3) It damn well is our problem as a nation. If our own citizens, no matter how new they are, are feeling alienated by our political rhetoric in any significant number, (and they are, trust me, part of the malaise that was happening before the Green reboot was about the immigration rhetoric in all three remaining left-of-national parties being unwelcoming to liberals who wanted a pro-immigration stance) that is in fact a national issue just as much as white middle class men in Auckland feeling crowded by immigration, or rural people who mostly don’t even see the results of migration feeling like we have “too many immigrants” for some inexplicable reason. I’m glad that our choices this election weren’t between, to exaggerate slightly, “exploit migrants” and “no migrants.”

                  I don’t recall you saying you were an immigrant to New Zealand, DTB. Unless you were, ruling out their concerns from political discourse really isn’t your prerogative.

                  • Unless you were, ruling out their concerns from political discourse really isn’t your prerogative.

                    My parents were and a lot of what new immigrants are asking for just weren’t available and still shouldn’t be. New immigrants should be aware that they’ve left their old life behind and not try to drag it with them. I.e, if the parents want to immigrate then fine, they go through the immigration procedure as normal. They shouldn’t get a free pass just because their children have already immigrated.

                    These people are now trying to bring their son here despite purposefully having left him off their immigration because having him on it would have prevented them getting their permanent residence. It’s a rort that’s been going on for some time and is getting worse. We actually don’t want such corrupt people here.

                    There’s a difference between pro-immigration and thinking we should just let anybody in.

                    • Matthew Whitehead

                      Sure, I’m a second generation kiwi on my father’s side too. I’m sure you’ll agree that doesn’t make me an immigrant, btw, even if it makes my connection to that experience a little fresher than most kiwis because I heard my dad’s stories about immigrating here directly, rather than having them passed down or even forgotten. I will remember him telling me what it was like to grow up working class in Manchester, before they left. These influenced my political values deeply.

                      I agree that we have to have limits, I’m just troubled by some of your rhetoric about them and find it going too far in some areas. For instance, sure, I agree with you that people shouldn’t lie about their situation when trying to obtain residency, but saying that people “should leave their old life behind” is simply wrong. What they need to accept is that if anyone else in their family who wasn’t listed on their application or isn’t their partner, is going to have to apply separately to move here, and that they may not be successful. That’s not the same thing as “leaving your old life behind.”

                      I still want them to have family and cultural connections to their old life, but I want those connections to be by visiting or calling if those people can’t legally immigrate here. I want them to bring the best of their life before they came to New Zealand to their life here. I want them to help forge a bridge between countries, but one where we all only cross as much as each of us are comfortable with. I hope that’s the case with you too, but I honestly find it hard to tell with how anti you get on immigration in general sometimes, rather than simply talking about flouting the rules like you did in the latter part of your post, which I think is absolutely within the reasonable bounds of rhetoric, at least where the rules are humane. (some of them, such as chucking people out because of disabilities or medical conditions that weren’t even ommitted during the immigration process, are simply absurd)

                    • (some of them, such as chucking people out because of disabilities or medical conditions that weren’t even omitted during the immigration process, are simply absurd)

                      That would be absurd. It’s a legal requirement to state them after all and if a potential immigrant does have such conditions they don’t get residency at that point because they fail the medical reasons.

                      In other words, if they did have such conditions they’re out of the running to get residency and thus no citizenship or immigration to NZ which means that the condition you mention couldn’t possibly happen – unless they lied on their application.

                      …but saying that people “should leave their old life behind” is simply wrong.

                      But they are leaving their old life behind. Their new life in NZ will not be the same even if NZ does adopt some of the culture that they bring with them.

                      I still want them to have family and cultural connections to their old life, but I want those connections to be by visiting or calling if those people can’t legally immigrate here.

                      And those visits and connections are up to them. It’s got nothing to do with the government and they should have no influence on the immigration process as doing so is motivation for corruption.

              • Zorb6

                You are well intentioned but naive,altruism does not go down well with voters.This Govt has the opportunity to incrementally reintroduce some much needed moral virtue to policy.We have had 9 years of expediency,lies and neglect of social issues.Your soapbox ,hand wringing ,demand to cater to non core issues is counter productive.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Oh noes! It’s just not the right time! Again!

                  I’d just like to say, Zorb, that I’ve had a gutsful of incompetent fearful can’t-do drivel; I’m well over the cowardice your rhetoric betrays.

                  If you don’t want to play, go home. No-one will notice.

                  • Zorb6

                    Wow you must be a tough guy hiding inside a …mouse.The ultimate keyboard damsel in a dress.

                    • McFlock

                      Now you’ve absolutely, positively, without a shred of a doubt persuaded us all that you have been blessed with a substantive and reliably rigid penis and thus established your intellectual dominance over everyone else, could you explain again why you’re happy to do nothing for seven hundred people in thirty degree (centigrade) heat without supplies?

                    • Really?
                      Sexism is all you’ve got?

                      How truly pathetic.

                  • greywarshark

                    OAB 7.17pm

                • Matthew Whitehead

                  Here we go. You don’t know how to take me down in an argument, and your usual level of trolling isn’t working, so you’re going to try turn me into a stereotype.

                  Well, too bad for you, as you’d know if you’d remove your head from the rest of your anatomy, my hands aren’t wringing. 😉 And just because I talk from a position of strongly held values doesn’t mean I’m on my soapbox. This is just how I talk to people all the time, and you’ll get the same level of principles and analysis on say, universal basic income, as you will on refugees, it’s just we’ve leaned heavily on values and the law here because there are a fair amount of people who don’t understand our legal obligations to refugees in this thread, and a fair amount who seem idealogically opposed to the whole idea of welcoming new people to our country from time to time. (people doing so from an indigenous perspective I can understand, but not from stuff like “it’s not the right time”)

                  Welcoming refugees isn’t “expediency,” it’s “values,” and it’s a big part of what we’ve been missing these nine long years of National government. Showing people that we can be kind and strong at the same time on issues. If we “do it later” or pretend not to have the values we really have, we’re in for another nine long years starting in 2020. We need to be different where we’re different, and for Labour and the Greens, part of that is that we support welcoming refugees. Grow some courage and be willing to take a risk to save some people’s lives.

          • Matthew Whitehead

            We already bring in below our share of refugees, Antoine, and even with Labour’s changes we are still likely to be behind both Australia and the USA per capita. (although we do support them better afaik) Please stop saying stupid things just to provoke a reaction, it doesn’t work on me.

        • Zorb6

          Taking up your recommendations would guarantee a one term government.So adopting them would do more long term harm than good.

          • Matthew Whitehead

            Oh, I’m sure that concerns you greatly.

            The government already plans to take up “my recommendations” around taking a fairer share of the world’s refugees, it’s both Labour and Green policy, and both the Labour and Green parties want to do something about the Manus Island Refugees, (although whether Ardern has gotten further than simply renewing National’s empty offer isn’t clear) so we’ll get a chance to see whether you’re right or wrong.

            I believe that most New Zealanders believe in openness, inclusivity, fairness, and taking responsibility for our place in the wider world, when they’re treated with respect and given a chance to open themselves up to those possibilities. These are the types of values we’re proud of when we tell national stories about being nuclear free, or opposing the Springbok tour, but those things are historical, and it’s time to activate those values in 2017 and translate them into better policy, and new brave stories that Gen X, Millenials, and Gen Z can tell about why they’re proud to be New Zealanders today.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Pride comes before a fall. Nationalism is a mistake. If you’re going to cite values be sure of your ground.

              • Matthew Whitehead

                Did anything I say, at all, that came even close to nationalism?

                Nationalism is being proud in your country, right or wrong, and either wanting a closed, xenophobic policy with respect to the rest of the world, or in more benign cases, wanting an emphasis on indigenous culture, language, and other local customs. The only type of nationalism that you’ll ever hear come out of my mouth (or see me write down, I guess) is that second type, and I generally leave that for Māori to do on their own behalf and simply agree with them loudly.

                What I was talking about was (social) liberalism, prosocial behaviour, and inclusiveness, and its relevance to New Zealanders’ self-conception. We have a myth of ourselves as those things, a sort of liberal pop patriotism, but we’ve not been living up to them on the world stage for quite a while- the closest we got was the Clark government dipping its toes back into the water. It’s time to bring them back, and by people power if necessary.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  “Patriotic feelings, principles, or efforts…”

                  The values you ascribe to national identity are neither innate nor universally held. In short, they aren’t New Zealand values they’re humanist values (or some other label, but the category isn’t the point).

                  When we assert that x y or z are New Zealand values, we automatically exclude anyone who doesn’t share them.

                  Quick, grab the flag! 🙂

                  • Matthew Whitehead

                    Sure, I agree they’re values that belong to those ideologies first and foremost. But to say they can’t be New Zealand values because telling political stories about our country is always a lie, or propaganda, or pick your poison- well that’s just as rubbish as those more nationalist types who see any criticism of our country as an insult to them personally.

                    We have to tell stories about politics to connect with people. Some of those stories will be about how they see New Zealand, (not because it’s Being A Kiwi that’s important, but because their associations of similar actions with their identity as kiwis is a more powerful emotional resonance than simply saying empty facts like “hey, economically, migrants are great”) and whether we as a country are living up to their values as New Zealanders. And yes, some of our stories won’t sit well with certain people, so it’s important we be careful in picking who we oppose with our stories.

                    And the only people opposing immigration I have any sympathy at all for are those who are worried about not having enough of their own country left for themselves, especially those coming from an indigenous perspective. (I won’t address worries about Taking Our Jobs here in detail, because I think we both agree they’re simply not factual?) I think it’s important that any political narratives we have about immigration are sensitive to Māori and how damaging colonialism has been culturally, economically, and socially to our treaty partners who have welcomed immigrants into this country into the past and been hurt by it, which is part of why immigration has to be tied into honouring Te Tiriti, and also honouring other, later treaties New Zealand entered into, like the one establishing that we are responsible to take a fair share of the world’s refugees. We are currently not doing our part, and even doubling the quota and hitting the new quota every year, will still see us behind per capita.

      • Wairua 3.1.6

        That would drastically reconfigure the inclusive dynamics of this country.

        Would you extend that to people who historically arrived in waka, and those who fought in Land Wars popularised by an eccentric professor at Department of History, Oxford, in a disunited kingdom ?

      • Ian 3.1.7

        you are a beacon of light in the darkness that has slid over this country.A slither of common sense shines out of the madness

        • Sam aka clump

          For all you non resident, non citizen types out there thinking immigration is an open door to people who look like you, and talk like you, and think like you. You are wrong. This is how it is.

          New Zealanders do not yield to fascist. And we don’t yield to tyrants. In fact New Zealand has a fine tradition of reeducating fascists and tyrants in the value of small failings leading to huge consequences. While hundreds and thousands of refugees fleeing persecution and death may not seem small to some. The route that they travel along is essential to New Zealands living standards, exporting billions of goods and services along our vast sea lanes of communication transmiting communications (SLoC) And there are millions of potential refugees that would strain those vital routes simply by taking undue time and resources off those leaders who should be focused on other things. There are plenty of reports circulating that the vast majority of refugees seeking asylum are coming from war ravaged Iraq, Afghanistan and other Middle East territory where western lust for land, minerals, resources and water, and western exceptionalism is generating even more refugees than can be handled.

          Indonesia has the Largest Muslim population in the world. Also located along New Zealand’s SLoC. Indonesia has had some success integrating middle eastern Muslims into there populations. Except for very recently when ISIS reared its ugly head and got stomped. But what change? When Muslims started traveling to the pacific in the 1800’s and before. There was no need for oil at that time. Pretty much all they had to worry about was the local war lord pinching all there camals, and then fighting about that mainly with swords. They could still generate a harvest. And so they sailed in ships with commerce. Now the Middle East is in turmoil over what to do with dwindling oil supplies and an America bombing the shit out of it or funding local fundamentalist monarchies to do it for them. So now they travel with the sword.

          Until that exceptional mentality is cured. New Zealand’s SLoC will continue to be put under strain. It is far better we trade with these refugees now, with kindness than by the sword.

        • Antoine

          > you are a beacon of light in the darkness that has slid over this country

          Who is? Matthew or me??


        • One Anonymous Bloke

          The sky is falling the sky is falling.

          “Going to be a pretty sad day for you on Thursday”. Do you recall telling me that in your arrogant certainty? Might be an opportunity for some quiet introspection.

          Chin up, dry your tears. Change is coming.

    • Matthew Whitehead 3.2

      Except there is absolutely no evidence that the “deterrence” of being tough on “boat people,” aka. desperate refugees who resort to people smugglers to leave war zones, is working. They keep getting more. Wouldn’t it make more sense to both countries for each of us to say “come to NZ instead, we will consider whether you qualify for our refugee problem?” It gets the discouragement to come to Aussie that those bigots want, and it gets the humane treatment of refugees that governments both Left and Right in New Zealand have agreed on. As I pointed out in the main post, this is the solution that both John Key and Bill English wanted, too.

      • Antoine 3.2.1

        Quite wrong! The deterrence policy resulted in a large decrease in the rate of asylum seekers arriving by boat, see eg http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-28189608

        • Matthew Whitehead

          That article doesn’t say the number arriving decreased. It says the number allowed into Australia has decreased.

          It also says that the policy is racially motivated, and considered illegal in PNG and under international law. Care to comment on either of those?

          • Wairua

            Matthew, I strongly recommend you read “The Other Side Of The Frontier” by Henry Reynolds
            develop a broader grasp of *australasian* history, and spend some time in an Australian intellectual milieu .. before commenting further.

            • Matthew Whitehead

              Well that’s incredibly rude.

              Firstly, I’m the author of this piece, so it’s essentially my thread, so no, I’m not leaving on your say-so, especially not on your first ever reply to me.

              Secondly, I’m not reading a book without any synopsis of its relevance to this thread, especially with my time commitments and budget right now.

              Thirdly, this is not actually a piece about Australia per se. It is about the Manus Island refugees, and while the history of Australia and its aboriginal movement and historical resistance to colonialism is likely highly relevant to the politics of Australian refugees and in a wider sense, immigration into Australia, it doesn’t undo the practical reality that not only Australia, but also New Zealand, have a legal obligation to take refugees that make it to their country, and a humanitarian obligation to take refugees in dire situations even if they haven’t made it to their shores. No amount of Australian (not Australasian, because that’s an even wider context again) history will change that fact, or the contemporary political environment, no matter how unjustly it was established- that’s work for the future.

              If you have specific feedback about the relevance of this book, then feel welcome to enlighten me. But I can’t read a book for every single piece I write, and I did in fact heavily research the context of refugees in Australia and New Zealand before writing even this very small (at least by my standards) piece, because I do take my obligation to offer you researched, fair, and informed opinion pieces seriously.

          • greywarshark

            Matthew W
            Thanks for putting us right on this. These RW trolls play footsie with the facts and present themselves as knowledgable and accurate.

          • Antoine

            > That article doesn’t say the number arriving decreased. It says the number allowed into Australia has decreased.That article doesn’t say the number arriving decreased. It says the number allowed into Australia has decreased.

            I am referring to the quote “At its peak, 18,000 people arrived in Australia illegally by sea. However the numbers plummeted after the government introduced tough new policies to “stop the boats”.”

            It’s not an ideal reference because it doesn’t quantify the ‘plummeting’, I chose it because it is the BBC and very reputable. I could find official sources showing the rate of plummeting, if you wanted.

            > It also says that the policy is racially motivated, and considered illegal in PNG and under international law. Care to comment on either of those?

            I don’t have a strong view about those things


            • Sam aka clump

              A friend of mine processed refugees on Christmas Island for a time. She was on good money and said she was on even better money processing refugees when Christmas Island was first built. And she claimed, and I’ll claim here that 99% of the applications she processed where legitimate. Meaning if they where to be sent back to there homelands they’ll likely face persecutions or worse. Death. And you can check Australian immigration literature around this yourself. There’s enough publicly available information. Some of which your are keenly aware. And some you simply ignore.

  4. Bill 4

    Well, we know Winston’s preferred solution…

    If there are men who are escaping a war zone, they should be tooled up and sent back.


    • tracey 4.1

      And that is quite reflective of NZF Law and Order policy too.

    • james 4.2

      Thats the Joys of going into coalition with Winston. Will be interesting just how much he shapes the Jacinda led government.

    • And to a large degree I agree with him. If people are having problems in their country then they should probably try to sort out their country rather than run to another which can’t afford to take them.

  5. One Anonymous Bloke 5

    …a solution where we assure Malcolm Turnball that these people have no further intention to move to Australia…

    No thanks. Why should we lift a finger to appease Malcolm Turnbull or anyone who sails in him?

    The gas that bubbles up from that cesspool forms rhetoric that he faithfully expels, “they aren’t genuine refugees…”.

    Well they bloody well are now you’ve finished with them, ‘mate’.

    Get him over here and ship him off to the Hague to face justice.

    • Matthew Whitehead 5.1

      But not lifting a finger to “appease” Turnball, while playing well to people who want us to be “tough” on Aussie, has obviously done nothing to help the refugees whose asylum claims deserve processing. Allaying Australia’s concerns or offering them something to appease their bad-boy image on immigration may be the price of rescuing these people, and savvy leaders sometimes realize that the best you’ll get is a trade. I’m not above trading to get a better outcome for the Manus detainees.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1

        I’m not suggesting that we don’t help the refugees: I’m suggesting that we offer Australia no guarantees about their future citizenship status or (legally guaranteed by the UDoHR and BoRA) freedom of movement.

        • Matthew Whitehead

          You’ll notice that I also suggested we don’t compromise on their citizenship status or right to immigrate to Australia. (we can’t compromise the rights of potential residents or citizens just to appease Australia) Just consider providing a statement that any people resettled intend to reside in New Zealand, not Australia. 🙂

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Nope. Deal directly with the PNG authorities. Inform the Australians when the operation to clean up their mess will commence, as a courtesy.

            Offer them nothing.

            • Sam aka clump

              You know America and Australia actual pay PnG and Indonesia and Mexico and others to take unprocessed refuges. That shouldn’t be ignored. But there are 10’s of millions more refugees right behind them in equally desperate need. So some one will eventually have to go to those place where refugees are fleeing from and give the people doing all the tormenting the ‘what’s up? Why are you so angry? So your a tough fulla.’

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                There’s strong evidence that eg: the civil war in Syria was at least in part driven by climate change, in which case, the people doing the tormenting are you and I and everyone else, dependent on our personal carbon footprint.

                The 5-eyes desire for control over (more) oil reserves (than fascists and other human rights abusers – and some innocent parties who get in the way) is in part paid for by our tax dollars. Again, this is a source of global conflict.

                It’s said that the supply chain of raw materials is so infested with slavery and human trafficking that we’re all complicit in that too.

                Australia’s wingnuts are pretending that being tough human rights abuse is the solution, when in fact human rights abuse is the problem.

            • Matthew Whitehead

              That is certainly my preferred course of action, if it’s available. It would require some trust be extended both by PNG and by the refugees, though.

        • Sam aka clump

          There’s APEC soon. Every one will be there including the Trump. I only see these types of regional instability bolstering New Zealand’s negotiating positions.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Because we can use our ability/desire/obligation/duty/basic human kindness to offer shelter and support as a bargaining chip?

            • Sam aka clump

              Well. Late one night Trump said he was going to “blow ISIS up.” I’m quoting from his Twitter feed. And these orders actually went down the pipe. Eventually leading days latter to the Mother of All Bombs (MOAB) being dropped on Afghanistan and a missile strike on a Russian airfield in Syria killing 54/55 people. But if you take a second look at Trumps Twitter feed there is a huge reaction to all this, and because Trump treats the Clinton news network (CNN) and others with disgust. MSM has little choice but to report these shannanigins. And this is completely different to the reactions of Obamas drone policy, or Bush Jr escapades in Iraq, and you can go back as far as you want to look to see any number of world leaders trying to hide from the fact that they’ve approved all this. But this is the stuff we ought to focus on.

  6. Johnr 6

    Yes,I agree that we should do what we can to help the Manus Island refugees.
    But, it utterly galls me that in doing so Australia’s objectives would be achieved.
    It is time that Australia discovers some serious diplomatic consequences for this atrocious behaviour.
    They have become a detestable race of people

    • tracey 6.1

      Hearing you… and all the CER bandwagoning is galling when the Aussies run roughshod over

      Kiwi students
      Kiwis qualifying for citizenship
      Kiwis getting healthcare…

      But we cant stop any aussie interactions her, cos CER

  7. Shona 7

    Why are Aussies still allowed into our schools universities and health system without being charged full fees? why aren’t they taxed upon either entry or departure at a special guest rate when visiting? They have treated Kiwis like shit for as long as I can remember. I lived there for quite a while children and grandchildren still do for economic reasons( our wages and salaries are crap). Great people in many ways their history is filled with wonderful migrant communities who have made Australia the country of well managed wealth that it is. Their ignorance of and lack of respect for NZ needs to be pointed out in no uncertain terms . They need to be penalised every step of the way . If they access any of our health and welfare and education systems at any time during residence here they need to be taxed or charge full fees. No exceptions including diplomats.And if they apply for citizenship new barriers to their applications need to be created every step of the way whenever we feel inclined. No reasons given. they need to know how it feels. Repeat and rinse repeat and rinseetc.

    • tracey 7.1

      Apparently the invisible ink in CER says they do what they like and we do what they like.

    • RedLogix 7.2

      As a kiwi expat in Australia I can keenly appreciate your sentiment, however more effective than hitting ordinary people would be a special tax on their banks that operate here.

      The problem is the original CER, while quite specific about the movement of goods and capital, pre-1973 it was much less clear on the question of people. There was already a customary arrangement (the TransTasman Travel Agreement) in place that allowed New Zealanders and Australians to travel freely, and everyone more or less assumed this would continue to apply.


      Over time this agreement has been modified substantially, and I think much of this was inevitable. Part of the blame lies with a succession of NZ govts quite happy to export our chronic employment problems to Australia, with little thought to the long-term relationship or consequences.

      Indeed while it is true that Australia treats us pretty much as disposable guest workers; full-time residents for tax purposes and temporary ones for all others … the NZ govt pretty much ignores us totally. There are roughly 650,000 of us here in Australia, yet typically less than 20,000 of us are engaged enough to vote. And if you haven’t traveled back to NZ within the last 3 years you can’t even do that. Effectively disenfrachised in both countries.

      Literally the only politician to pay us any attention within recent memory has been Kelvin Davis. It would be good to see him keep up some momentum in this area.
      The way forward with Australians is persistent, up front messaging. Subtlety is largely wasted on them. 🙂

      • veutoviper 7.2.1

        Well said, RedLogix. An excellent summary of the history etc of the Trans Tasman Travel Arrangement and CER – regrettably I suspect it will be ignored by, or go over the heads of, some here.

      • tracey 7.2.2

        Thanks for being so articulate here.

      • OnceWasTim 7.2.3

        I have to say Australia has become one of the most hideous, racist, feral countries on Earth in the past 10-15 years. Possibly with the exception of Victoria, and small parts of other states.
        After the fall of the last Labour government, (I sensed what was to come), I considered moving back there after 40+ years (I was once actually an Australian passport holder in the days when going from Wellington to Melbourne was simply a matter of jumping on the next Flotta Lauro ship or TEAL Electra).
        Thank Christ! I didn’t – Tarn Yabbit, Corman, Dutton and a raft of others – and that’s just at federale level.
        So much for all that ‘ANZAC spirit’ shit that gets trotted out every year. It was once a ‘spirit’ that applied to all, but now only exists amongst the military, or when we all pay respect to them, or in times of disaster (like some sort of obligation – probably born out of guilt). They have a patronising attitude to their ‘little brother Koiwois who just have to learn to stand on their own two feet.
        The whole Immigrant/Refugee policies must be the world’s worst. The hypocrisy, the double standards!. Antoine (here) would be having a wet dream! Their policies – complete with language – that have gradually wormed their ugly way across the Tezzie too.

        Labeling people as “low quality” or “economic migrants” seems especially hypocritical to me, as does the whole ‘don’t come by boat, but we’ll deign to look at you as a legit refugee if you’ve conjured up the money to come by air. Even IF you’ve flushed your documents down the dunny on the inbound flight.

        We seem to have an attitude that it’s OK for ‘US’ to seek better fortunes elsewhere when times get tough in Anzacistan,
        BUT!!! woe betide ‘THEM’ if they’re any shade of black and they have the very same ambition.
        Their only out is if they have lots of filthy lucre, then they’re welcome. Very very welcome. We won’t ask questions even if it’s black money (after all, it just matches your skin colour and who are we to judge, eh? eh? eh? Skoi City, Skoi City, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, real estate, real estate, knowing look, knowing look, Todd Barclay, Steven Choice, Judith Collins, kauri tabletop, eh? eh? know what I mean? eh? eh?).

  8. Karsten 8

    The ActionStation petition seems to have been taken down just now… It was still up half an hour ago.

  9. Zorb6 9

    We seem to have a big problem with housing and homelessness right here ,right now.Solving that should be the priority.In the meantime the offer to take 150 is generous enough.

    • tracey 9.1

      Maybe we could just send the homeless to an island?

      • Zorb6 9.1.1

        That seems like a stupid idea.Millions of refugees in the world.Can NZ save them all?

        • weka

          No-one has suggested that NZ take millions of refugees.

          We could do much more to help people in other countries have good lives too.

          • Zorb6

            Someone suggested sending NZ’s homeless to an island.I don’t think thats a good idea.Charity begins at home.

            • weka

              She was being sarcastic to make a point. The point was that the refugees are homeless too and abandoned on an island. There’s not that many of them, NZ could easily take some or all.

              • Zorb6

                Surely the point is-its not NZ’s problem or responsibility to address it.The Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh is chronic right now ,should NZ get involved here too,or is it just because Manaus is closer?

                • weka

                  I think we have an obligation to make sure that other people in the world have access to human rights. That includes a place to live, but also water, food, security. Those human rights are being denied 700 people right now. We can do something about that pretty easily.

                  I’m sure there are things we can do to help with Bangladesh too. We have an increasing quota, but actually I think we should be changing expectations around globalisation and internationalism. At the moment developed countries contribute to problems in poorer places and we (you and I) directly benefit from that. So even if you don’t have compassion for people in general, there is a moral obligation to not live off other people’s misery.

                  I wrote a post about it once. Maybe I need to write a new one about what it would like if we stopped outsourcing poverty. I have no problem with controlled borders, I do have a problem with us sitting in our castle and saying that the peasants outside can fend for themselves.

                  This is the face of the failure of globalisation

                  • weka

                    and yes, I do think we have a primary responsibility to our closer neighbours, because acting local builds resiliency and sustainability.

                • McFlock

                  We have a responsibility to try to address all problems and crises.

                  However, our efforts must be proportionate to our power to do anything about it: most of our responsibilities internationally are to actively participate and support international efforts and organisations. But as problems approach us, our ability to directly intervene effectively increases.

                  In this case, we can literally send a ship or two to pick up a few hundred people.

                • greywarshark

                  Song to go with your attitude.

                  ‘Do Nothing Till you Hear from me …
                  And you never will.’
                  Nina Simone

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Charity is an obscenity. This, on the other hand is a moral and legal obligation. Yes, I know you don’t understand that.

      • Zorb6 9.1.2

        Catriona Maclennan NZH-‘About 305,000 – or 29 per cent – of our children live in poverty.’What island did you have in mind?

        • tracey

          Where do you live? I suggested the homelss could go to an island not poor children.

          • Zorb6

            I have been told you are sarcastic.The point is we have enough problems to address here in NZ before we solve all the worlds problems.

            • McFlock

              What’s this “we”? I’m not sure you have any inclination to do either.

              And it’s not like we can’t do our part for both.

              • Zorb6

                What exactly is ‘our part’?As you don’t understand ‘we’ how do you define ‘our’?

                • McFlock

                  I understand “we”. I’m just not sure you should be lumping yourself in with the rest of us – the “our”.

                  Given our part (“our” referring to people who genuinely would like to do something to help others, rather than use one group’s misery as an excuse to not do anything to help another group) changes according to the specific circumstances and complications of any given problem and the varying logistical, practical, and opportunity costs in the spectrum of possible ways we could respond to each individual problem, your request for an exact definition of a generalised “our part” is naive to the point of incompetence.

                  However, in the case of Manus Island refugees, we can at relatively trivial cost to ourselves send a ship or two, pick up 700 people, house them in some (probably ex-NZDF) state land and provide them medical, social, language and integration/cultural support until they become contributing members of society. It’s not a systemic problem. It doesn’t require us to redesign an economy. It’s a few hundred families, who’ll love NZ for it.

                  Probably be some bloody good cricketers or rugby players in ’em and all. Having one of them or their kids in a Bledisloe cup victory would have the aussies spewing tacks. Talk about “enlightened self interest” 😉

                  • Zorb6

                    ‘our’ ‘we’-whats in it for ‘us’.I don’t like cricket…

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      I love it! Or am I just showing my age?

                    • McFlock

                      So, basically, you’re happy to leave the refugees in a hostile environment without food, water or support, because you can’t see anything in it for you.

                      Yeah, please don’t use “we” – I hate the thought that I’m in the same group as you.

                      edit: I’m not a huge cricket fan, either. But a “one up on Ausssie” fan, most definitely lol

                    • Zorb6

                      McFlock.We live in the real world whether you accept that or not.Get off your high horse.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      @McFlock, I hate the thought that I’m in the same group as you.

                      C’mon, you don’t really mean that. We’re not going to stand by and just let the fucker drown.

                    • McFlock

                      @zorb6 – and in the real world, for a trivial expenditure, we can relieve the suffering and insecurity of 700 people within a few days.

                      Quicker than solving the homeless problem, which we can do at the same time.

                      Why shouldn’t we?

                      edit: @oab – but we have bigger problems, closer to home, than some entitled idiot/sociopath…

                  • Zorb6

                    And after that precedent.i.e saving those 700-what then?You are blinded by altruism.If the Govt does what you want,they will be lucky to last a term

                    • McFlock

                      What then?

                      Then we don’t have a problem practically on our doorstep that we can literally solve with one prime ministerial order, two ships, and a modest expansion of existing service provisions.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Meanwhile, on another planet, net migration to New Zealand is ~70k per annum.

                      Oh noes, but 700! The sky is falling the sky is falling!

                      The stupid! It burns.

                    • Zorb6

                      How old are you Mcflock, 16?You don’t seem to understand reality.This Govt has been in power 5 minutes and you want it to deal with asides instead of tackling real problems at home.

                    • Zorb6

                      @OAB.Why stop there!Over 200,000 work visas are issued each year.Give queue jumping immigrants another incentive.

                    • McFlock

                      Not “instead of”. “As well as”.

                      Compared with most aid efforts, it’s a simple task, with minimal logistics and a clear exit. Civil defence were helping thousands of people within hours of the earthquakes. We can handle a few hundred people. We have contingency plans for improvised shelter camps in the case of emergency, we know how to do this. We’ve had people doing it overseas for years.

                      Hell, if PNG is cool with it we don’t even need to send ships – we have C130s and other aircraft if they have a runway.

                      You talk about the optics of it to the NZ public? It goes straight to the idea of a new, caring government.

                      This is exactly the time and the task to change the conversation from your “what’s in it for me” to a more human “what’s the right thing to do”.

                    • McFlock

                      Over 200,000 work visas are issued each year.Give queue jumping immigrants another incentive.

                      Why not, if they’ve got the same skills as the work visa recipients?

                      It’s not “queue-jumping” if that’s how the queue is arranged.

                    • Sam aka clump

                      If I’m reading this right MFAT is supposed to spend $70 million on P&G aid over 3 years since 2015. From what I can gather we’ve only spent about $800k of those allocated funds. So IMHO we could quite easily casually resettle 700 refugees from West Papua… https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/aid-and-development/our-approach-to-aid/where-our-funding-goes/our-planned-aid-expenditure/

                    • Zorb6

                      @Sam Clump.That is not the point.Setting precedents and alienating Australia is what is important.

                    • Sam aka clump

                      Im sorry Zorb. You lost me at precedence, alienating, and important. But good luck with it. I’m sure some one will be willing you on.

                • greywarshark

                  In NZ we have accepted globalisation and free trade with the rest of the world. We have been part of the UN from the beginning. We can’t withdraw from world problems and say we are too small and too distant, but send troops to fight in overseas wars. We are in the soup too and are part of the problems that cause refugees. It is only Australia can refuses to think of strategies. They probably can’t sit straight in their seats in their parliament.

                  We need to have some integrity even if they are paranoid about brown skin. It is a wonder they don’t do raids in summer on Bondi and drag all those sun-tinted people away to send to an island in another galaxy.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              Pretending something’s impossible because you didn’t want to try in the first place.

              Even “all the world’s problems” get solved one at a time. This is one we can help with, and sooth your fevered brow, have a little lie down and a sedative, sweetheart, we can walk and chew gum at the same time.

              In other words, I reject your suggestion that we divert funds away from cleaning up the National Party’s mess in order to do the right thing on Manus Island.

              • Zorb6

                I am not your sweetheart.You appear to be a member of the queer mafia,and to be clear I am not advocating diverting funds to the Manus Is situation.It is not NZ’s problem.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Sorry poppet, don’t get all het up about it; you’ll let the side down.

                  While I have your flaccid and rather gross attention though, I’d just like to point out that we have other funds available for this purpose, so chill, sister.

                  • Zorb6

                    Don’t get your panties in a bunch.You are probably in need of a stiff talking to.Tell me about these ‘other’ funds seeing as you know so much.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Our “government” is divided into “ministries”. Each of these “ministries” “ministers” to particular aspects of “New Zealand Aotearoa’s interests”.

                      In practical terms that means that our government can (unless it’s run by the National Party who are incompetent and very shit at this stuff, because they cleave to drivel not facts) look outwards and inwards at the same time, and not only that, they can prioritise.

                      It’s a small step for us, and impossible for wingnuts.

                • McFlock

                  “queer mafia”?

                  Ah, La Cosa Fan Tutte. I saw a movie about them. Wonderful quotes:

                  “Leave the gun. Take the fabulous pocketsquare”
                  “Luca Brasi sleeps with any rent boy around”
                  “You took Freddie in because the Corleone Family bankrolled your fashion outlet, and the Polari Family on the Coast guaranteed his safety. Now we’re talking business, let’s talk business, luvvy. “

    • Cinny 9.2

      Zorb6, Yes we need to help the homeless, but the don’t let in refugees because we have a homeless problem is an anti refugee, pro wealthy foreign buyers narrative in my books. It’s just spin

      I’d rather let in 150 refugees than 150 foreign home buyers any day of the week. Refugees are not to blame for the housing situation in many NZ towns. Letting in more refugees would not create more homeless people.

      Was under the understanding that refugees spend time at the centre in Auckland where they learn about and adjust to NZ, then housing is found for them. Refugees don’t care that much which town they live in they are just so happy to feel safe. There are towns in NZ where homelessness isn’t a issue compared to say Auckland etc.

      A rental in small town NZ would cost far less to the tax payer than a motel in Auckland.

      And refugees are so grateful, because in a way their lives have been saved by coming here, and as a result they want to be involved and become amazing members of communities, as do their families.

      • solkta 9.2.1

        “become amazing members of communities,”

        Well not all of them. I had a Somali refugee neighbor who was a total self entitled and self absorbed prick. I agree that your statement is generally true, but being a refugee does not automatically make someone a good person or a good citizen.

    • Matthew Whitehead 9.3

      Except the “offer” isn’t being taken up so it’s useless and needs rethinking.

      We have to fill our refugee quote, which is expanding, somehow, so why not start with worthy cases like the Manus refugees?

      As for unemployment, you know that this is barely an extra drop in the bucket, and that governments can multi-task pretty well, what with having at least 61 people in them and all? I’m pretty sure they’ve got some good ideas on unemployment, will make John Key and Bill English look like the absolute hands-off losers they have been, in fact.

      • Antoine 9.3.1

        > I’m pretty sure they’ve got some good ideas on unemployment

        I’m pretty sure they’ve got some bad ones as well (work for the dole anyone?)


        • Matthew Whitehead

          Mate, even work-for-the-dole under Labour and New Zealand First (which won’t happen, it’s just Jones mouthing off IMO) looks better than kicked-off-the-dole under National and ACT.

  10. Chris 10

    Stop all sporting relations with Australia. It’s the only way Australians will understand.

    • james 10.1

      Any other countries that you would like us to stop sporting events with?

      • Chris 10.1.1

        There is, but probably not many where it’d be so effective as when it involves Australia. But apart from reminding you of the old adage that evil prevails when good people do nothing, what I find most entertaining from your question is the idea that for so many people interfering with sporting relations isn’t cricket. I would’ve thought, for so many reasons, that curtailing people’s *right* to sport is by far one of the more preferable options, especially when it’s aimed at Australia.

    • Cinny 10.2

      Nah they won’t care, instead lets move all the government banking out of the Aussie Banks, I’d be so down with that.

      • Chris 10.2.1

        Both then, because no matter what there are a heck of a lot of Australians who live for nothing else but sport. As soon as that’s taken away there’s bound to be at least some who might take the time to ask why it’s happening to them.

        • garibaldi

          Chris there are a heck of a lot of NZers who live for nothing else but sport too. They aren’t exactly enlightened people and would be more than upset at your suggestion, taking great delight in blaming that “pretty communist”. I think your scheme would backfire badly.

          • Chris

            Maybe they’d be enlightened by the boycott, like what happened to lot of pro-tour people in 1981. And we’re only talking about one country. Those who remain unenlightened would still get a whole bunch of sport from everywhere else. And just look what would happen in Australia if a stack of countries did the same thing? We could easily withstand axing one country from our list of sporting opponents, but how would Australia handle losing a whole bunch of them? That would be potent.

      • Actually, that was part of NZ1st’ policy platform. Wonder what’s happening with that. I do hope that Labour are working with them to actually achieve it.

  11. RedLogix 11

    Everyone I speak to here is aware of how contentious and troublesome this issue is. This is one of those problems that literally has no good answers. People smuggling is an ugly, vicious and dangerous business that has no merit whatsoever. Tolerating it amounts to abandoning the integrity of your borders and de-legitimising the legal immigration processes everyone else has to go through.

    Yes Manus Island is a disaster and Turnbull’s govt has handled it badly. But it is a disaster on a small scale compared to virtually all other proximate alternatives.

    The challenge for countries like Australia and NZ, is that literally there are hundreds of millions of people who would like to emigrate here if they could. Some because they are political refugees who clearly need shelter from awful persecution. Most because life here is far better than the poverty ridden shit-holes they live in. Allow 1000 people to arrive illegally, and there really is a million others queuing up behind them.

    No country can tolerate open borders, nor for that matter totally closed ones. Every nation on earth legitimately seeks to control the movement of people and maintain the integrity of it’s citizenship.

    The best solution long term is to reduce or eliminate the reasons why people want to take these desperate journeys. Stop the persecution, eliminate the poverty and corruption. Our collective human failure to achieve this is manifest in the shame that is Manus Island.

    • weka 11.2

      What you just said doesn’t apply to NZ though, we’re too far away. Immigration and refugee needs are two different things. It’s possible to manage the refugee situation without opening borders. I support borders and controlling them, and we need to do much more to help people in other countries to also have good lives.

      And in the meantime there are 600 odd people abandoned in a shitty and unsafe situation. That Australia doesn’t know how to manage its borders is one thing, that it won’t let those refugees who are in acute need come to NZ is unconscionable and requires the international community to condemn the Australian govt in the strongest terms and then to take action.

      • marty mars 11.2.1

        I like this comment because it maintains its positional integrity as well as compassion.

        Yes the amount of border is the issue not whether there should be a border – I hope we can move on from that point within the discussion. Immigration and refugees are seperate issues. We have a group of people who need help. I hope we help them.

      • RedLogix 11.2.2

        You are quite right about the geography. It is only the happy accident of distance that means NZ does not face the exact same issue, we certainly have no grounds to be morally smug about it. There is already plenty of condemnation of Manus Is here in Australia; we don’t need to add our voice to that if we also want to be part of the solution.

        Manus Is has no good solutions in the short term. Aus has sought ways to return or relocate these people to other countries but all attempts have failed. It’s not going to allow them to the Australian mainland period. Letting them go to NZ creates an obvious backdoor entry that will not be acceptable. Put simply, the Australian govt, regardless of whether it’s Turnbull or Shorten running it, will never allow these people to enter. As much as most people here loath Abbott, they all grudgingly concede his policy has stopped the boats.

        I really cannot think of any other good alternatives. Perhaps this really is a case for the UN to step up and find a way to get these 600 people off Manus, safely process them via an existing UN refugee program.

        • weka

          “You are quite right about the geography. It is only the happy accident of distance that means NZ does not face the exact same issue, we certainly have no grounds to be morally smug about it.”

          There’s geography, and then there’s policy and values. We’re luck in NZ that for now we have a centre-left govt, so it makes sense to push for NZ to do something useful and expect that might work. If FJK was still PM, we’d be having a different conversation.

          “Letting them go to NZ creates an obvious backdoor entry that will not be acceptable.”

          I don’t see how. It’s not like people arrive on boats and then get sent to NZ. There is a whole process of incarceration, ill treatment, and seriously ill treatment that goes on for years, then the Australian govt abandons you without food, water or security, and then refuses to send you to another country. I wouldn’t call that a doorway so much as a minefield and barbed wire.

          Not sure that the Australia govt should get to decide where the people on Manus go, given it’s not even their country.

          And yes, the UN should step in.

          “There is already plenty of condemnation of Manus Is here in Australia; we don’t need to add our voice to that if we also want to be part of the solution.”

          The point of nation states making statements about other nation states isn’t to be mean to them, it’s to let them know that there are limits to what will be tolerated. IMO we’re at that point with Australia now.

          • Draco T Bastard

            I don’t see how. It’s not like people arrive on boats and then get sent to NZ.

            They come to NZ, become NZ citizens and then freely go to Australia under our existing agreements.

            It’s probably a massively over-blown fear but it’s one that they do have.

            • Wayne

              What if Australia says no.
              The previous government offered the same deal and the Australian government said no.
              New Zealand is not about to damage the Aussie relationship by doing anything in response.
              They will just put up with it, agreeing to disagree.

              • Don’t see that as a reply to me as I was explaining why Australia didn’t like the deal that the previous government made.

              • tracey

                Yes we wouldnt want australia charging kiwis international fees… refusing them health care and the like… oh wait

              • KJT

                Once we stood up to France over Nuclear weapons.

                Surely we can stand up to Australia, over refugee concentration camps.

            • weka

              Sure but that all takes time, and by then they’re settled in NZ with jobs and friends etc. Plus Australia treated them like shit for all those years before they come to NZ, why would they want to go there? And, by that stage they’re not refugees anymore, they’re NZ citizens. If Oz really want to they can pass a law that prohibits NZ citizens who used to be refugees from being able to live in Oz. Yes, this is getting ridiculous.

              I don’t think it’s a fear, I think they’re being arseholes as part of their general inability to manage their borders humanely.

            • RedLogix

              You are correct DtB, it’s not the absolute numbers who might take that route, but the optics of it. Even if just one Manus Is refugee finished up in Australia via NZ, this would be very badly perceived.

              And if this subsequently prompted just one more illegal boat to leave Indonesia, no matter how tenuous the link or irrational the reasoning, it would become NZ’s fault. We really don’t need that.

              • And I’m pretty sure that we would see more boats leaving in short order with the smugglers promising that the people being shifted will make it to NZ and can move on to Australia from there.

              • David Mac

                Yes, it is Australia’s intention to entirely remove the ‘How about Aussie?’ offer from the smugglers’ list of destinations. A few backdoor into Aussie via NZ and regardless of the numbers or obstacles, smugglers have a newspaper clipping and an Aussie or Kiwi story of luxury freedom to sell again.

                I agree with you Red re: Ultimately we need to help others where they live. I find Roy Beck’s famous gumball stage show convincing.

    • Matthew Whitehead 11.3

      These are refugees, not immigrants, and even if they started as immigrants, arguably they’d be refugees after their treatment on Manus Island, anyway.

      Nobody is arguing for open borders. Just to put these refugees through our existing refugee program, because of the humanitarian disaster caused both by the shutdown of the detention centre and the proposed “resettlement” solution that leaves them in fear of their lives.

      I understand the point about “people smuggling,” but are you really suggesting we should turn away people who actually are refugees? I’d say they should come to NZ if they possibly can, instead of Australia, where we have a reasonable record of making a decision in a timely manner, and will simply fly you home if we don’t think you qualify, rather than lock you up because we’re obliged to say yes to you by law but don’t want to because we’re bigots.

      • I understand the point about “people smuggling,” but are you really suggesting we should turn away people who actually are refugees?

        I’d say that we take what we can.

        I’d say they should come to NZ if they possibly can, instead of Australia, where we have a reasonable record of making a decision in a timely manner, and will simply fly you home if we don’t think you qualify, rather than lock you up because we’re obliged to say yes to you by law but don’t want to because we’re bigots.

        We cannot take all the refugees that will arrive (25000+/year). So, what do we do with them after they get here?

        • Matthew Whitehead

          Ideally I’d say given the humanitarian situation in PNG, we take them all even if it exceeds our quota, but I know the government will be under pressure from a lot of directions and would settle for them managaging to take the 150 they’d offered to.

          • Matthew Whitehead

            Sorry missed that you were talking about the general problem of “too many refugees heading for Australia for NZ to take.” in the second part of your post because I ended up realising I was under time pressure halfway through replying.

            Yes, I agree this would be a problem if we volunteered to take every refugee that ever made it to Australia, but fortunately we don’t have to, especially as Australia is running out of client states willing to run their gulags for refugees. I also expect that even if we do give a plea for more refugees to come to New Zealand as opposed to Australia, we wouldn’t divert more than a small fraction of those arrivals, especially given that it takes more fuel, and is a longer trip to New Zealand than to Australia. I’m not sure we’d even need to further increase our refugee quote beyond Labour’s proposed doubling in order to take any arrivals through people smuggling that actually did make it to New Zealand, tbqh, and we’d probably still have room to take more refugees from other sources than Key’s government did.

            But we can, and should, do more than we are, and that’s simply not arguable. We are legally obligated to do our best to care for refugees under UN treaty, and we aren’t even carrying our weight on that front yet. We already take less people per capita than Australia or the US, and still will even with Labour’s proposed refugee quota changes. The very least we can do is try to find a solution to the Manus problem, and if we’re feeling daring, we could look at finding a way to get New Zealand First or National to support the Greens’ refugee policy, which would offer even more places to refugees through NGOs as well as upscaling the government program.

    • Antoine 11.4

      +1 RL

    • stunned mullet 11.5

      Well said RL.

    • The challenge for countries like Australia and NZ, is that literally there are hundreds of millions of people who would like to emigrate here if they could. Some because they are political refugees who clearly need shelter from awful persecution. Most because life here is far better than the poverty ridden shit-holes they live in. Allow 1000 people to arrive illegally, and there really is a million others queuing up behind them.

      yep. That is the problem I have with all these Goody-two-shoes who seem to think we should just take all refugees that turn up. If we do that though the number of arriving refugees will multiply exponentially.

      The best solution long term is to reduce or eliminate the reasons why people want to take these desperate journeys. Stop the persecution, eliminate the poverty and corruption. Our collective human failure to achieve this is manifest in the shame that is Manus Island.


      Unfortunately, getting dictatorial and oppressive governments to act better is, well, a losing proposition.

    • Zorb6 11.7

      well said/explained Redlogix.So many cause celebres for some,and so little time.

  12. greywarshark 12

    What about us dealing with PNG and by-passing Australia? I think PNG wold decide that would be acceptable. Whatever Australia is paying them it isn’t enough to help them with the cost of this intractable problem. They can apply to go to he US or Cambodia. Why not give them the opportunity to come here? If Australia is afraid of them eventually ending up there, tough. They might be just given residency here rather than citizenship and that could become a limiting factor for the Australian border.

    Latest –
    Today, construction workers employed to finish the Ward 1 accommodation centre said they had been told it would take about two months to complete the complex.
    Security guards refused to let media near the site and threatened to confiscate cameras if any photos were taken.

    Mother of five Philomena Sulai who lives almost next door to the half finished centre said she was concerned about security and the fact the land involved was part of a “community block” which was subject to competing claims of ownership….

    During Senate Estimates last month, the Immigration Department said that three housing sites had been set up and rooms were booked at local hotels to deal with any shortfall.
    The Department said the cost of housing the asylum seekers would be about $150 to $250 million.

    Monday 30 October 2017
    Refugees at the centre can apply for permanent resettlement in PNG, apply to live in the US or Cambodia, or request a transfer to Australia’s other offshore detention centre in the Pacific nation of Nauru.
    Human Rights Watch has estimated about 770 men – most of whom have been classified as refugees – remain on Manus Island. It say a majority do not want to stay in PNG.

    The Australian government has set up temporary accommodation on Manus Island, but hundreds of detainees are refusing to move there, citing fears for their safety. The detainees have been attacked by locals, rights groups say.

    In a statement, PNG Immigration Minister Petrus Thomas said his nation was under no obligation to support:
    Refugees who had declined to settle permanently in PNG;
    Asylum seekers whose refugee claims had been rejected.
    Mr Thomas said “these two cohorts … remain the responsibility of Australia to pursue third-country options and liaise with respective governments of the non-refugees for their voluntary or involuntary return”.

    “There must be a review of the arrangement to clarify these international obligations and officials will be discussing the details of a revised agreement in the next few days,” he said.

    Refugees have suggested coming to NZ. May 2017

    John Key in 2016

    • Matthew Whitehead 12.1

      Dealing with PNG directly is an excellent idea (iirc I mentioned it in the main post?) and I hope that Peters, Lees-Galloway, and Ardern are seriously considering it, although it may involve convincing the refugees to accept resettlement to Papua New Guinea temporarily before we offer them while we arrange to pick them up, or us providing security to PNG before the refugees can leave the compound.

  13. McFlock 13

    Fuck it, sending a ship to pick ’em up is a bloody good idea. At the very least, it makes it obvious we’re willing to help and the aussies are dicks – “look, we’ll take them, the boat is right there!”.

    Make it additional to our regular refugee quota.

    Cut migration by 700 if it’s such a big deal.

    We could send ships to Muroroa Atoll, we can send them to PNG.

    • DoublePlusGood 13.1

      We could always send a boat to go an pick them up from Manus Island….and then sail it straight to Australia and unload them.

      • McFlock 13.1.1

        out of the frying pan into the fire? That’d be more cruel than leaving them on Manus.

    • Matthew Whitehead 13.2

      Sending a ship would at least require consent from PNG I would expect, so it’s essentially part of the option discussed directly above your comment at (12).

      • McFlock 13.2.1

        Well, we wouldn’t need explicit consent to park it outside territorial waters. It would provide a bit of public shaming for either PNG or Aus to sort that shit out, or take up our offer.

        • Matthew Whitehead

          Well, that’s generally interpreted as a very hostile act, especially as PNG would probably welcome our help with a peaceful resolution to this situation. It might be a possibility if for some reason they don’t want to work together. *shrug*

          • McFlock

            Call it an impromptu goodwill visit on its way to Singapore, but seeing as we’re in the area – we’ll park up in case you need a hand…

          • Sam aka clump

            The people on Manus Island are very intolerant to outsiders. Tony Abott had to give them millions in aid and even still they want the refugees gone. The entire work force had to be flown in. Everything from labourers, plumbers, aircon techs, electricians. That’s before you start looking at the people responsible for the asylums. And I’m saying they ran 2 or 3 flights a day some times more, they even chartered flight for just one detainee. All back to mainland Austraila. And that’s the reason the Australian immigration control budget blew out from $100 million to 1 billion a year, some times more. $10 billion some times. So I think there is significant scoop for cooler heads.

  14. greywarshark 14

    I thought this was a good quote for this Manus Island situation.

    Why do we love the idea that people might be secretly working together to control and organise the world?
    Because we don’t like to face the fact that our world runs on a combination of
    chaos, incompetence and confusion.
    Jonathan Cainer

  15. Matthew Whitehead 15

    By the way, for those of you who didn’t attend the impromptu picnic event with Golriz, she is holding a vigil for the Manus refugees outside Parliament at 5pm if you’re in Wellington and interested. Know it’s short notice, sorry, only just got back home. 🙂

  16. KJT 16

    Anyone who objects to refugees, should stop supporting Governments that bomb their countries.

  17. Richard McGrath 17

    Go for it then, guys! Everybody here take a Manus Island refugee into your home and act as a sponsor for them until they have been taxpaying New Zealanders for a year.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 17.1

      What’s the matter? Will closing the concentration camps mean you’ll be out of a job?

  18. Redge 18

    If these so called refugees wanted to come to Australia then they should have done it the correct way.

    Instead they try to circumvent the rules to skip ahead.

    Send them back to where they came from, we certainly dont want or need them here in NZ.

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