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Labour government accused of abandoning Afghan civilians

David Seymour

David Seymour

Wellington, August 19, 2021

                                                                                                  US forces on guard at Kabul Airport (AFP Photo)

 

Not too long ago, the Prime Minister was apologising for the 1970s Dawn Raids with a number of her ministers in attendance. At the same time, the government chose to completely ignore the struggles being faced by the migrants and refugees of today.

On the same day as the Dawn Raids apology, MPs from every party (except the Labour and Maori Parties), gathered in Auckland to discuss the current immigration policies that are tearing families apart and leaving local businesses unable to operate.

Heart-breaking stories

ACT has heard heart-breaking stories from people all over New Zealand. People have come here to work for our country and had to make the impossible decision between supporting their families and not seeing them.

We have spoken to fathers who are yet to meet their new-born babies, mothers who have been separated from their children for over a year and husbands and wives who are separated by an impenetrable border.

Now Jacinda Ardern and her government have abandoned 38 Afghan civilians who assisted the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction team when they served in Afghanistan. The lives of these people who gave so much to help New Zealand are now at risk and we can’t turn our back on them as the Taliban takes over.

Human Rights ignored

Ardern talks about being kind and trumpets loudly on the human rights of women and minority groups. However, she appears to be set to leave this group of brave Afghan patriots in the clutches of sadistic patriarchal bigots.

Ardern and Kris Faafoi should tell New Zealanders on what grounds they have rejected the applications from a group of Afghan people who helped New Zealand’s military.

Why would Labour say yes to residency for someone like violent drug smuggler Karel Sroubek and no to people who helped us in building the New Zealand economy or whose lives are at risk for helping us?

We have a humanitarian and economic crisis right now. Ardern is taking responsibility for immigration policy from before she was born, but what about people suffering now under her leadership?

With a sense of real urgency, it is time for this government to practice the kindness that it so regularly preaches towards the migrant community.

Plan to expand MIQ places

ACT has a plan to expand MIQ places and make them safer than what the government is doing now. Under ACT’s plan, owners of currently mothballed hotels could seek a licence to operate MIQ according to strict criteria.

New Zealand has a hotel industry where much capacity has been mothballed. Providing private MIQ could be a lifeline for them.

Under ACT’s plan, owners of currently mothballed hotels could seek a licence to operate MIQ according to strict criteria. These criteria would make for safer MIQ than the standards met by the government.

Stricter regime

These criteria are much stricter than the Government’s MIQ scheme which takes unvaccinated travellers and tests them only three times in 14 days, and still can’t guarantee that all workers on site are vaccinated or tested.

This simple and safe model will allow businesses to get back to hiring the people they need to compete and grow. It will mend the heartache of separated families. It is objectively safer than what the Government is doing now. What objection does the government have that justifies separated families and stalling businesses?

David Seymour is a Member of Parliament elected from Epsom and Leader of ACT Party.

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