Month: June 2014

When indigeneity and politics clash

Chris McKenzie of the Māori Party commented in an article yesterday that an obstacle for the Māori Party was to overcome the perception that the Māori Party are in the pockets of the National Party. He stated:

“I say this to people: If there weren’t parties involved and there wasn’t such a good campaign by the Left to say that we are National…  and if it was candidate versus candidate, I have no doubt that I would hands-down be the frontrunner and would be confident to say I’m going to win it” [emphasis added]

I was reminded of this just this morning in an exchange on twitter. But before I address that conversation, let me explain that I have been part of this problem. I bought into the hype that the Māori Party were prepared to accept ‘crumbs’, and that the Māori Party were implicated in many of the bills passed that were seen as harmful to Māori.

Over the past 6 months, since the country lurched into election mode, I was forced to evaluate my values, beliefs and disseminate fact from fiction. This led to me joining the Māori Party. I do not resile from my decision, and I suspect this post will probably be dismissed as political hackery by many.  There are still areas where I will share starkly different views from other members, but I agree with the issue that many on the left are working hard to exclude the Māori Party from having a voice for Māori in parliament.

In reference to the twitter exchange, it begins by Marama Fox, Māori Paty candidate for Ikaroa Rawhiti, posting a photo of her and her cousin, Carterton Mayor and NZ First member Ron Marks.

The response she received was nothing short of trying to discredit the Māori Party by association with past comments made by Marks.

Rather than reproducing the tweets, you can view the thread here:

https://twitter.com/FoxMarama/status/482630172881862656

In summary, the tweeter starts off by expecting Fox to ask Marks a question about Marks’s politics. Fox confirms that Marks is not a member of the Māori Party. Tweeter deflects claiming they never thought Marks was a member of the Māori Party but continues to push Fox to ask Marks questions. The tweeter justifies this because they claim Fox ‘is in a position of power’ and he [Marks] is a prominent person.

In general, I agree that it probably is acceptable in many circumstances to ask those in positions of power to ask questions of other prominent people. However, Fox is not in a position of power as the tweeter suggests, rather, she is a candidate, and only obtains political power if she wins her electorate seat. The tweeter used her familial proximity under the misrepresentation of having political power to link Marks’s questionable politics with those of Fox and the Māori Party.

I’m not suggesting this is an isolated incident or that the person concerned is the only person who does this, rather that it is indicative of the kinds of tactics aimed at the Māori Party by many left wing supporters.

In previous posts I’ve referred to the comments from some commentators/activists about destroying the Māori Party and in respect of McKenzie’s comments above, I agree that this is a big issue – in fact, the biggest issue for the Māori Party.

For instance, in a recent post, Callum Valentine, Internet Party candidate for Wellington Central and Social Media Manager, reduced the guarantee of partnership between Māori and the Crown under Te Tiriti to simply a guarantee of biculturalism within a single left movement. He writes:

“…the Internet MANA relationship embodies the un-delivered promise of biculturalism in New Zealand…New Zealand’s founding document, the document which is the closest thing we have to a constitution, is a commitment to bicultural participation. Tiriti o Waitangi.”

He fails to grasp that the partnership guaranteed by Te Tiriti does not simply mean a strategic alliance between two left wing parties attempting to enter parliament under the same umbrella. The partnership envisioned in Te Tiriti is between Māori and the Crown.

MANA is not an indigenous/Māori party. The illusion of the MANA party as an indigenous party is largely because of its Māori name but by that logic the Koru Lounge is a place specifically for indigenous Air NZ passengers.  Additionally, it derives from the history of leader and founder Hone Harawira – a long time advocate of tino rangatiratanga. Of course MANA has many indigenous members who are advocates of Te Tiriti and support initiatives that further the interests of Māori (and I will continue to tautoko that) and in this respect it incorporates a kaupapa Māori politics. But the movement as a whole is a call to arms (metaphorically) for workers. It is Marxist in flavour hence the strong connections to the unions and their subsidiary organisations like Socialist Aotearoa – noting a senior member of Socialist Aotearoa, Joe Carolan is standing as a candidate for MANA at the upcoming election.

Obviously, the Internet Party are not the Crown. Although, that may transpire at some point in the future, until then, they are a political party. For the record, I think the Internet Party do have policies that could benefit NZ, but I dont believe any are particularly Māori focused and I think much of their policy is already part of the NZ Greens framework.

Lastly,  Valentine propagates the ongoing fallacy that the ‘Māori Party is content with crumbs from the table’. The Māori Party have only 3 MP’s in parliament. On that basis, any gains made for Māori should be applauded not referred to as ‘crumbs’ as this disparages the efforts of the many Māori involved at the grassroots levels in Whānau Ora and other initiatives, or iwi groups working to improve the Māori economy. Additionally, Valentine carefully edits out the various initiatives the Māori Party supported in terms of social justice and the particular gains they have made to try to address living standards and the history of the Māori Party and its neglect by Labour in the past.

I agree that the Māori Party haven’t delivered as much as many Māori had hoped, but that is not due to a willingness to accept less, its due to diminishing support which affects their level of influence in government as a result of the lefts demonisation of the Māori Party. A tactic Valentine and others on the left are clearly happy to engage in. Additionally, any claim to care about Māori needs and interests is undone when they denigrate New Zealand’s only indigenous party as incapable of representing their people and proclaiming a non-indigenous party partnership is better placed and more capable of doing so.

Anti-Māori Party sentiment is widespread on the left, and does involve both Māori and non-Māori. But if people can step back, clear the noise and talk to the candidates, they’ll see that the Māori Party have much in common with the left and have supported many left wing initiatives, despite the turbulent history and while at the table with National.

In fairness though, not all on the left are as critical of the Māori Party. There are many who understand the decision of the Māori Party to enter into an agreement with National because they understand the Westminster System and Te Tiriti. The Māori Party focus is on partnership guaranteed under Te Tiriti – not political allegiance. That means, that it is irrelevant who is in government, the Māori Party provide an independent voice for Māori (at least as much as the Westminster System allows) to make sure that Māori as tangata whenua are never excluded from decision making.

The left and the Māori Party need some resolution. That can’t happen while many have resiled to alienate the Māori Party through purposively misrepresenting them as National Party stooges. The Māori Party have signalled they are willing to work with whoever is in governemnt.

Simply dismissing their choice to participate in decision-making because it was with one of the least preferred parties or the lefts opposition misses the point. It buys into the illusion that partnership under Te Tiriti is between Māori and particular political parties. No party alone represents the Crown,[1] but only the Māori Party can represent Māori in the manner envisoned under Te Triti o Waitangi, at this stage anyhow.

 —

[1] Here I mean, that during an election campaign the role of Crown representation is up for grabs, that is precisely what all the parties are gunning for. Yes, a party alone can say it represents the Crown after an election if it obtains enough votes to govern alone.

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Ouch. The Left Polling Low

The latest poll sees a massive defeat of the Left as Labour slump to a meagre 23.2% and National rise to 56.5% enough to govern alone. As Jono Natusch writes:

The only minor party that might look at the poll with any comfort is Internet Mana, which picks up a combined 2.1%, which would likely bring them a third MP, should Hone Harawira hold Te Tai Tokerau.

Frank Macskasy has a theory on the mass drop in Labour/Green Bloc support: the budget, economy and infighting within Labour and between potential coalition partners.

I think he is partially correct. But I think he avoids the elephant in the room – the rise of the Internet-Mana Party (IMP). The contentious alliance, announcement of the IP Leader and the exorbitant funds being injected to fund the IMP campaign coincides with the drop for Labour Green support in the latest polls. It will be interesting to see if this remains a trend.

There is some irony in this ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’   justification. Those employing the phrase failed to consider that not all New Zealander’s are  endeared to Dotcom and many left voters might be more inclined to have National as their friend than Dotcom. The polls are increasingly suggesting that people  are preferring a National led government and all its toxicity to what is on offer on the left.

The averages of  the June polls according to David Farrar:

I guess Labour and the Greens need to work out if any drop in their support is related to IMP and what steps they need to take to mitigate further losses.

 

A left libertarian and the Māori Party

Foreshore and Seabed Hikoi 2004 

(essentially the birth of the Māori Party)

[Image credit: www.teara.govt.nz/files/p-21121-nzh.jpg]

Following my previous post, some people have asked what motivated me to become a member of the Māori Party. This is a very fair question, especially given my strong advocacy for left libertarianism and market anarchism. I have often stated my aversion to party politics and my dislike of the hierarchical structures of the State. I still hold those ideological positions.

I can understand why the Māori Party would not seem like my natural fit in ideological terms. That was my view too until very recently. I now think that view is mistaken although not entirely untrue. I consider the Māori Party an indigenous party that happens to have values consistent with both sides of the political spectrum. The Māori Party have core social justice values and are open to economic development strategies as part of their ongoing evolution to bring about the economic rights of Māori at the local, national and global  level.

I am not comfortable with the close relationship the Māori Party has with the National Party. However, despite my ideological differences with the National Party, I respect the choice of the Māori Party to work across the political spectrum to ensure that they can make gains for Māori no matter who is in government. This tells me that the concern is not about saving face, but that Māori concerns come first. Afterall, the purpose of the party has always been as an independent voice for Māori in parliament.

The confidence and supply agreement between the Māori Party and National did limit the independence of the Māori voice in certain circumstances. However, this is not unique to the Māori Party & National. The same would be true for any minor party entering a confidence and supply agreement with any major party, especially if they held ministerial portfolios.

For clarity, I did not join the Māori Party because I was impressed with their record in parliament or even necessarily the current direction of the Party. Although, I will acknowledge that the Māori Party have made many small gains over their past two terms in parliament.

I joined for precisely the opposite reason, i.e. I was largely unimpressed but I could see the great potential of the Māori Party as a vehicle for advancing a culture of self-determination (tino rangatiratanga) precisely because of their willingness to work across the political spectrum.

It was not a decision I made lightly. I knew the moment I became a member of any ‘party’ the independence of my voice would be compromised, or at least perceived to be compromised. My membership does not mean that I will silence my opinions. Criticism will be cast where criticism is due.

I had considered joining the New Economics Party [NEP] (an unregistered party) because I am fascinated by their bio-mimicry philosophy, the deep respect for the relationships between the environment and economies and the core role that humanity plays in their politics, and of course the heavy Georgist influence. I note here that NEP have some tools in their kete that I believe the Māori Party could benefit from in creating affordable self-sustaining communities, and that the Māori Party have tools in their kete to help NEP ensure that indigenous concerns are appropriately addressed in this kind of new economic paradigm. So my ideal would be to see both parties come together and share ideas at some point.

I opted for the Māori Party firstly, because I felt compelled to pursue the indigenous path so that I could connect to and participate in the kaupapa Māori political framework. Secondly, I wanted to be able to participate/contribute as a member in helping to craft the party’s future direction. I wanted to be part of what was going on, so I could see where and how idea’s were formed and agreed to and who was making the decisions and whether the spread of ideas were coming from just a portion of the members or the membership as a whole.

The Māori Party kauapapa revolves around creating self-sufficient communities and removing Māori from the arms of the State through mutual cooperation between whānau, hapū and iwi, in effect, decentralising power in areas that they believe are better managed at a local level. This is ideal to avoid risks associated with political instability, global scarcity of resources or extreme austerity measures that threaten the economic security of communities. My personal philosophy extends further than this, but because the Māori Party focus is the people not the State then as a  Māori left libertarian, I am willing to throw my support behind that kaupapa.

Māori Party online communication needs some attention

Recently (as in the past week), I became a member of the Māori Party. For transparency, it cost me $2 and I gave an $8 koha. Having never been a member of any political party before I was somewhat dubious. I joined because I wanted to participate in the discussions around Māori economic development and self-determination as well as see how they are going to run their 2014 election campaign.

Whether or not I will cast my vote in their favour on election day will depend on a number of factors, particularly since I have a huge aversion to the State and I want to see how intensely the Māori Party are going to back the kinds of regulations, or taxes on certain things that I view as wholly undesirable, e.g. the awful sugar or fat tax, which I see as a paternalist tax on the poor, and also what kind of stand they will take toward the Greens progressive pro-choice policy. Of course, there are numerous other things that I will consider, but at the moment those two things come to mind.

Unfortnately, I have stumbled across a wrinkle that quickly needs ironing out – online communication and social media.

Matthew Beveridge (as many will know) authors the Social Media & The 2014 General Election website. On it, he compiles the statistical usage of MP’s, Candidates and the Political Party’s on Twitter and  analyses their level of genuine engagement. He also looks at the graphics, timing and context of when and how tweets are sent. As expected, his blog suggests that the Internet Party are doing an astounding job of tweet traffic as are the Greens. In respect of the Māori Party, Te Ururoa Flavell is putting in an epic effort to increase his genuine engagement. While the effort is admirable, the party as a whole must do more. If consdiering other newcomers to Twitter, e.g. Internet Party Leader Laila Harre has made a valiant effort in that regard, one of my favourites being the content linked to in this tweet:

I by no means expect the Māori Party to be tweeting ,gifs of that kind, by the way, but I do expect prompt responses on Twitter or Facebook or by email from the Party account and some humour wouldn’t go astray. Having had the pleasure of being in a room when Dr Pita Sharples is giving a presentation humour certainly exists as part of the culture of the party.

Going back to my initial point, when I joined the Māori Party, I expected at the very least an automated email saying Thanks for joining  and some general info about contact information and some graphic that indicated the Māori Party were preaparing for campaign mode. But nothing, except a username and password which I’m not quite sure what to do with at the moment.

I appreciate that the traditional kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face/eye to eye) approach is favoured by the Māori Party, and I agree that it is and will always be very important. But I also think if the Māori Party want to make it through this election they must increase their online presence through genuine engagement. As Beveridge noted in a twitter conversation, social media would enable the Māori Party to tap into a market of under 25 year old Māori. Currently, Mana have a monopoly on that demographic on Facebook, and the Internet Party are increasingly appealing to them on Twitter.

Mike Treen, an IMP advocate writes:

The Maori Party needs to be taken out as a National support party

Once the campaigning really starts, if the Māori Party are largely absent in social media, they will not be able to counter the influence that will attempt to undermine the party as National lapdogs. This doesn’t mean responding with eye for eye attacks, the Māori Party should be able to rise above that level of politicking, but should also emphasise their independence as a party that can and is willing to work across the spectrum. I note that the Māori Party have a Facebook page that has a mere 2,039 likes and a Twitter following of a meagre 1481 followers. If the Māori Party have a dedicated Social Media person, then they need to take the Party to the next level of engagement. If not, they need to get one, and now.

Goldsmith Flour Bombed

goldsmith

I must apologise in advance for my lack of maturity, but LOL at Paul Goldsmith on TV3 News. What an appalling effort. He could have said NOTHING and that would have been better than the fumbling that found its way out of his mouth.  Round 2 to the bag of flour.

Sure, journalists are persistent, that’s their job to try and extract information, but if you’re unable to answer a specific question, you might want to think about saying nothing at all, or deflecting using any number or combination of the stock standard National Party answers to questions.

This is an example of what could go wrong if Labour cut a deal in Te Tai Tokerau – they risk Kelvin Davis having to present himself as inept as Goldsmith when faced with a media pack hungry to unearth collusion in the electorates.

 

Caution is key

comsky

Its no surprise that the IMP alliance and the undying support for Kim Dotcom has perplexed me. I have stated this on numerous occasions. The above Chomsky quote is from Is the Man Who is Tall Happy? and I borrow it for this post because I think it is relevant for those who  like me, cannot quite get their heads around the predicament of the IMP alliance, but more particularly, the Dotcom fetish.

Mike Treen has written what appears to amount to a defence of Kim Dotcom (see: Why the Mana Internet alliance is a potential game breaker). In it, Treen attempts to counter the claims levied against Dotcom in order to justify the IMP alliance to his friends on the left. However, the post reads as a clear cut case of cognitive dissonance, i.e., ‘when dissonance is present, in addition to trying to reduce it, the person will actively avoid situations and information which would likely increase the dissonance’.

While dissonance appears to afflict many on the left, its also true that confirmation bias is rife on the right.

It’s not a simply an issue of whether or not we like Dotcom. Rather, it’s about whether or not we ought to support or even trust his reach for political power (and no I don’t here suggest that he is running as a candidate himself). I’ve written on Dotcom a few times see here and here specifically.

As noted in a previous post, some Internet Party supporters vehemently deny that Dotcom is the Internet Party, insisting he is simply its founder. I think that is a slightly disingenuous claim, given his formal constitutional title is the ‘Party Visionary’ and he is the only member the party cannot involuntarily remove [see rules 8.17 and 10.8].

My concern is that when an individual openly declares vengeance against a political party in power and then forms a political party to further that interest, we should probably approach the issue with caution. We might want to look at, the motivation behind the venture. For instance, whether there is some advantage the individual seeks that is not (or is unlikely to be) available to general members of the public, or alternatively, if the investment provides benefits to all members of the public in common. We might also want to think about how the government is (said to be) representative of the people that voted it in and in exacting revenge on a political party in power, how might this affect the proportion of the public that support that government? I do not suggest that the National Party or right wing voters shouldn’t be challenged at elections, my point is whether ‘vengeance’ on a particular party is a legitimate or morally justifiable basis for forming and running a political party. The arguments could go either way. However, unlike revolutionaries or anarchists that would prefer to bring down the institution of government, Dotcom’s motive is more narrow, in that it specifically targets the National Party.

So in approaching this from the left we need to ask: would we be happy with an individual person using their wealth in an attempt to force a change in government as an act of revenge, if the target were a left wing party that we voted in? The answer is an unequivocal no. Reverse arguing that National already do it is not a justifiable defence (nor do I think the argument would hold), and its dodging the answer to reduce one’s dissonance.

We might also want to consider whether the individual displays a propensity to invest their wealth in political matters for personal gain. For instance, there might be some weight to establish propensity in the bounty offered by Dotcom for Osama Bin Laden’s head on a plate (or information leading to his arrest) due to fear for the safety of his family in the Philippines or the John Banks mayoralty donation based on Banks’s apparent pro-internet stance. We might also consider how we can know that an individual, e.g. Dotcom, wont use this tactic to turn on the left? Clearly the John Banks’s case is an example of when things can go wrong. Sure, we can take the risk but the fallout in the long term might not justify the short-term gain and in fact, we cannot be assured of any short-term gain. So again, I think there is good reason to approach the IMP alliance with caution. Not because the candidates are cause for concern (they’re not), but because it’s unclear the extent of influence Dotcom might have over the party, the alliance and ultimately, the government.

There are two other points I want to highlight from Treen’s article, firstly, that people can and do change their political ideologies; and secondly, that people are admitted or denied entry on various criteria.

Treen suggests that there is nothing on the public record to discern Dotcom’s actual political ideology so it is wrong for people to assume that he is some kind of neoliberal right winger. However, in a later paragraph Treen claims to be able to draw inferences that Dotcom has all the hallmarks of a German Social Democrat, protecting the poor, supporting higher taxes etc.  Now, Treen might be right in his assessment and I agree that people can and do change their political leanings. But I think Treen is wrong to suggest that inferences made about Dotcom as a neoliberal capitalist are unfounded when those  making the claims engage the same inferential reasoning Treen uses to make his own claim. Any conclusions drawn will depend on what information a person is using to make the inference. Treen has limited his information to a lack of public record and recent talks given by Dotcom, and that is certainly relevant. But past and present behaviour, actions, and statements – explicit or implied are also relevant considerations, so it’s not as clear cut as Treen implies.

Treen also downplays the alleged seriousness of the Dotcom’s past convictions. He writes:

“Remember that Kim was given residence in NZ despite this past so it can’t have been considered that serious”

However, ‘character‘ is assessed against a specific criteria, in particular, ss15-16 of the Immigration Act, which excludes only if you have been convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for 5 years or more or in the past 10 years you were convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for 12 months or more. As Treen points out and Dotcom clarifies in the article cited in Treen’s piece, he was convicted but not sentenced to imprisonment. It doesn’t mean his white collar crime, insider trading, is not serious, it just means his conviction and suspended sentence were not exclusionary grounds under the Act that grants residence.

The gravity of Dotcom’s plight for political power is not a simple case of liking or disliking Dotcom. There are a raft of considerations in which people are justifiably weary. And while I agree with Treen and Trotter/Bradbury that there is a  bias asserted against Dotcom in right wing blogs (often viciously), the defences they offer avoid the full context, and pass off unverifiable snippets as truths to bolster their support for an unprecedented alliance in what appears to be an attempt to reduce their own dissonance.

This post isn’t intended to persuade readers to vote or not vote a particular way, nor is it intended to demonise Dotcom, it’s about recognising that there are important ethical questions and concerns that go beyond the ‘Fuck National’ narrative.

Labours strategy might just work in their favour

four_col_xlarge_McCarten2

[Image sourced from Radio NZ]

There is a great deal of debate about whether Labour ought to be supporting the Internet Mana Party (IMP) alliance or whether it should stand its ground. To the contempt of some, they appear to have taken the latter approach – standing their ground and campaigning on ‘principles’.

Labour’s ‘principles’ strategy, might just see it creep up a percentage point or two in the next poll as those who fear the influence of IMP in a left leaning government may consider throwing their weight behind Labour to ensure a strong majority. On the other hand, those same voters might instead flee to the right preferring the status quo to a potentially volatile left.

The IMP’s mouthpiece, The Daily Blog (TDB), consider Labour’s strategy divisive. However, Labour are doing what Labour does – engaging their own strategy.  It’s only criticised as divisive because Labour refuse to submit to the election strategy template designed by a contentious minor party. Instead, Labour are reasserting their role as top dog on the left and are attempting to reclaim it [the left] following their decline over the past few elections. This is evident in David Cunliffe’s response to Mana’s stance on amnesty for overstayers:

“Mana are getting ahead of themselves, it’s easy for minor partys to promise the world, major partys make rules.”

We should probably remember Matt McCarten’s role in all this too. McCarten was employed to ensure a Labour victory. Not a victory for the left, a victory for Labour. He appears to be keeping a low profile but this is arguably a smart move. It ensures that the Labour Party isn’t equivocated with him, given his high profile in political commentary, activism, and unionism, and allows Cunliffe to lead without distraction.

In contrast, IMP have allowed Bradbury and Trotter to belch into their (TDB) echo chamber putting off probably more people than they claim to have gained. Additionally, the IMP alliance is supposedly led by Hone Harawira, but Laila Harre, Kim Dotcom and the Internet Party are dominating the media (social and news), which makes it difficult (for voters) to see who is in control. Noting, Harawira’s weary interjection that he was still the leader of the alliance during Harre’s IP leadership announcement.

Its difficult to say at this stage whose strategy will win. I don’t see Mana gaining significantly more votes than it already enjoys. And prior to Harre’s appointment, I thought the IP might have more appeal across the board thereby picking up a wider spread of voters, because they were not wedded to a left ideal. However, I’m not sure she’ll attract new votes [from the missing million], instead she may simply steal votes because her fans are most likely politically engaged types who already participate in elections. As a combined number, I speculate that the next poll will show a small increase for IMP, not quite the game changing stuff predicted.

Although Labour has languished in the polls, I think they will  start to increase their share of the vote as election day rolls near. If history is anything to go by, small party’s get lots of attention pre-election, but when it comes to  the crunch, votes are often cast in favour of the major party. Labour’s strategy appears to be: (i)  refuse to make an unequivocal statement about their relationship with IMP to plant some doubt, thereby (ii) avoiding any fallout if more adverse information is released about Dotcom, and (iii) claim to be standing on principles and for democracy by not gifting electorate seats. Come election time, they’ll have created just enough doubt to convince the voter that their vote is only guaranteed to count if cast for Labour and they wont have ruled out working with IMP (so the option remains open, if necessary). This is at least how I see Labour reclaiming the left. However, I’m not convinced (yet) it will translate into a win at this election.

Immigration and the tendency to favour exclusion

I read an interesting tweet this morning, which stated:

“Excessive” immigration creates debt people pay for in multiple ways. Right person, right job, right place, right time?

It’s not news that immigration has become the scourge of the election year. Surprisingly, it is many (but not all) of those who subscribe to ‘inclusive’ ideologies that argue against increases in immigration or alternatively stated, to cap or reduce immigration, which is achieved through tougher exclusive measures. This exclusionary attitude appears to derive from the idea that immigrants equate to a ‘financial or economic cost’ to the resident population, which still seems entirely inconsistent with inclusiveness. Conceiving of other human beings as a ‘financial or economic costs’ is language one might expect of corporations rather than those who might otherwise consider themselves humanitarians. If we think all human beings have an equal right to be free, whether or not that freedom has some justifiable limitations, then it is difficult to justify excluding immigrants because they bear a financial or economic costs to residents. After all, immigrants become ‘financial or economic’ contributors the moment they start purchasing goods and services, paying rent or paying taxes on their income. Additionally, many of the goods and services we purchase are produced outside NZ by the foreign nationals we purportedly want to ramp up excluding.

As Aaron Schiff points out in his post About That Migration Boom:

We should celebrate because on the incoming side, skilled immigrants provide New Zealand with a significant free gift. Some other country has paid the cost of their birth, childcare, childhood medical care, education, etc. They turn up in New Zealand effectively bringing all that investment with them and this benefits the country. 

Remembering also that immigrants must meet a criteria as set out in the Immigration Act 2009 before being granted entry to NZ.  I’m unclear whether those talking about our apparent ‘immigration problem’ are including refugees, of which we have an appalling record by the way because we take in far less than we ought to due to a very restrictive criteria denying some entry because the rules are not responsive to changing global circumstances.

I guess what I am trying to say, is that rather than pursuing the populist position that  ‘immigration is a problem’, perhaps politicians, could focus on how better to collaborate with those states whose citizens are migrating to NZ, and look at removing this segregative attitude that is unbecoming of a geography largely comprised of migrants.

But say we accept the claim that there are financial burdens with ‘excessive’ immigration [whatever that means], might this not suggest that we have ineffective policy makers?

Perhaps we might reduce these ‘costs’ of infrastructure, or the ‘debts that people pay for in multiple ways’ if we were more collaborative rather than restricting ourselves to antiquated notions of exclusion. For example, we could consider creating a framework whereby states pool resources and distribute them on a proportionate basis. There are obvious practical implications and potentially ethical considerations in implementing such a framework e.g. would states start restricting who could leave their territory to reduce what they put into such a pooling of resources, or would states coerce people to migrate as part of an expansionary process? (both of these issues could be managed in a properly thought out legal instrument). But the philosophising aside,  my point is, perhaps the idea isn’t to presume we must ‘borrow’ to pay for infrastructure to accommodate those coming to NZ (noting that we benefit from these infrastructure improvements as well), but look at working with those other states so that free movement has broader benefits for all.  Because frankly, I am not comfortable with the idea that ‘human beings attract costs and should therefore be excluded from a society’.

Just a brief thought.