Wednesday, April 30, 2014

New Zealand citizenship should not be for sale!

Maurice Williamson is a good MP. I know that may sound unusual for me given that he is a National MP, but I am capable of seeing the good in people. Maurice's political career is in tatters after his resignation from Cabinet, all over his dealings with one of those rich wannabe NZers who think they can buy NZ citizenship. Well, it appears they can and it is not just MPs and Ministers from the National Party who have been guilty of 'expediting' the process whereby foreigners can buy their way in to NZ. This has to stop. NZ's reputation as a relatively 'clean' country with little corruption is at stake. We can not speak out against other countries re the corrupt practises endemic in their systems of governance unless we are squeaky clean. Maurice has thrown his future down the toilet with his stupid actions and no doubt other politicians will do the same. Labour can ill afford to claim the high ground but they can make sure that their members do not go down that pathway. Trust is very hard to win back once it has been lost.

Labour announces 'immigration policy' that could impact on housing prices and supply.

I was aware that Labour was tinkering with its immigration  policy, possibly in response to public concern about the supply and demand re housing. Immigrants could be an easy target and judging by some of the callers  ringing in for Talkback radio (a real good judge re the accuracy on issues ,eh!) Ok there were the usual extreme reaction from all corners of the argument but some callers were really off the mark. One in particular, had been in NZ for 12 years and made the point that he had been paying taxes etc. and received all the benefits that citizens get apart from the obvious. He laboured his point and showed his misunderstanding of Labour's policy when he made the leap that he couldn't buy a house because he was 'resident,' but not a citizen, something he will never do because he wants to retain his cultural links with his homeland. His kids of course, are NZ citizens by right of birth. What gets me about his argument is his strongly held belief that he will never get NZ citizenship.
I say that we should allow  about 7 years of residency then either the applicant applies for citizenship or moves on. We want people to make the 'emotional' investment in our country, not just the financial. We need Kiwis to be just that, albeit  from a multitude of nations. I like the diversity but I also demand a loyalty to the NZ way, which entails the new addition other cultures bring. NZ is of course evolving as a result of this enriching movement of people.
The guy was wrong in his understanding of Labour's policy announcement. They say that only NZ Citizens and Residents should be able to buy property in NZ; something many other countries do. He should have listened to the policy before going off in ait, something the 'talkback host implied but did not say; oh so polite Kerre!
Let's keep the debate rational and use facts not fiction to feed our opinions. The debate around housing needs to happen and Labour's policy is a good beginning, although I suspect that NZ First may be claiming a 'me too,' position as they have ben saying this for many election cycles and Labour will have to come to terms with the 'king-maker' if they ever want to win the Government benches.

China to enact strict new guidelines re safety of milk products.

There has been a great deal of publicity in recent hears over the safety of New Zealand (and others) diary produce that enters the huge Chinese markets. Fonterra has been in the limelight for this and the guidelines that now operate are sending a message that we must comply or risk the ongoing success this massive trading venture. It appears that the Chinese market has been nervous about the prospect of their babies being poisoned by the possible contamination of some of our ;products. That some of the 'action' was around the testing that was not accurate does not seem to have come in to the equation and the ripple effect has come close to bringing a halt to the exports from New Zealand.
New Zealand needs to use these 'slip-ups' to bring home the seriousness and importance of the Chinese market to our economy. Without a doubt, as more Chinese are able to afford our products, and the fact that our closer economic relationship is now a factor in New Zealand's success as a trading nation, we have to take heed and learn that 'near enough is not good enough.'
To state the obvious; New Zealand exporters have very high standards and in some ways it is hypocritical of China to single out New Zealand when many of their 'food products' are far less trusted than the imported versions. The fact that pollution has all but destroyed the safety of many Chinese grown products is a glaring fact. Chinese housewives regularly choose imported food over tier own, even when it costs more. The miracle of the Chinese economy and the many hundreds of millions, the export sector now returns to their economy has come at a huge cost---that of turning a massive agricultural sector into a 'questionable' one when it comes to safety. China should, I respectfully suggest, look to its own standards and try to turn this terrible issue around or is it going to buy up large tracts of agricultural land around the  world in  order to feed its burgeoning population? Actually it already is. Still, New Zealand is more than happy to continue the very successful relationship we have developed between our two nations, but please--lets keep a balance as to how we describe the 'actual 'safety of our products when compared to the home-grown Chinese examples. As with many other imports of the goods New Zealanders need (or want) China is a major market we turn to. I do not see that as changing and New Zealand needs to reassure the Chinese , through action, not words, that our products are beyond reproach.