People directly affected by Christchurch mosque attacks offered permanent residency

Immigration New Zealand is offering a special permanent resident visa for anyone directly affected by the Christchurch mosque shootings, and also for their families.

Christchurch Response (2019) — permanent resident visa

From 24 April 2019, people present during the terrorist attacks in Christchurch and their immediate families can apply for a special permanent resident visa.

Who this visa is for

You can get this visa if you:

  • were present at the Masjid Al Noor or Linwood mosques while they were attacked on 15 March 2019, or
  • are the immediate family member of  someone who was present during the attacks.

You must also have been living in New Zealand on 15 March 2019.

When you apply, we confirm you were at one of the mosques by checking the official New Zealand Police lists of people who were present during the attacks.

There are some exceptions. We cannot give you this visa if you:

  • were a police first responder or emergency worker
  • were here as a tourist, or
  • were visiting for a short time.

Living in New Zealand

You are living in New Zealand if, on 15 March 2019, you held a resident, work or student visa. If you held another type of  visa, you need to show us that when the attacks happened, New Zealand was your main home.

Family members who are eligible

Some family members can get this visa if they were living in New Zealand on 15 March 2019. Which family members can apply depends on whether the family member present at the attacks was an adult or a dependent child.

Adults present at the attacks

If you are the family member of an adult who was at one of the mosques, you can get this visa if you are their:

  • partner — married, civil union or de facto
  • dependent child
  • partner’s dependent child
  • parent or parent’s partner.

Children present at the attacks

If you are the family member of a dependent child who was at one of the mosques, you can get this visa if you are their:

  • brother or sister, and still dependent on your parents
  • parent or
  • grandparent.

If you have a resident visa

If you already have a resident visa, you can apply for a permanent resident visa. You do not need to have held a resident visa for 2 years before you apply.

If you are here unlawfully

You cannot apply for a Christchurch Response (2019) Visa unless you have a valid New Zealand visa. If you are in New Zealand and do not have a valid visa, you may request a visa under Section 61 of the Immigration Act.

RNZ – Christchurch terror attack: Families offered option to stay permanently

A spokesperson for the Muslim Association of Canterbury, Jamaal Green, said this is a generous gesture and it speaks to the government’s response to this attack.

“When your ordinary situation and expectations have been shattered, you have a whole load of uncertainties.

“In removing that and in offering this, it stabilises it and takes away some of those issues that will concern many people”.

Mr Green said this will particularly help ease the burden for grieving widows who lost the main breadwinner of the family in the terror attack.

This is a sensible and compassionate option for those affected by the mosque shootings.

 

Jail for au pair “not proportionate”

Immigration New Zealand have said they were correct denying an Australian au pair entry into New Zealand but have apologised and admitted that putting her in jail was a consequence that was “not proportionate”.

ODT: Apology to au pair from Immigration

Immigration New Zealand has apologised to the French au pair put in a Queenstown police cell for the night late last year and then deported because of concerns she might babysit while on holiday with her Australian employers and their two young children.

Manon Pache (18) has forwarded to the Otago Daily Times an email she received on Friday from Senta Jehle, the department’s national manager border compliance, risk and intelligence services.

In it, Ms Jehle said the decision to refuse Ms Pache entry because she intended to work for Dr Pip and Paul Johnston was correct.

However, having personally reviewed the case, Ms Jehle said “while the decision was correct and followed Immigration NZ instructions, the consequences for you of Immigration NZ’s decision were not proportionate”.

“In normal situations when a person is refused entry into New Zealand, their visa-free status is revoked, but in your case I have directed Immigration NZ border operations to lift the suspension of your ability to travel to New Zealand visa free.

“Please accept my apologies on behalf of Immigration NZ for the stress and inconvenience this has caused you and the Johnston family,” Ms Jehle said.

Pache said that the apology has helped her get over the incident.

“I hope that other nannies will be careful now.

“I am still angry about this officer, that pushed me out of this beautiful New Zealand because I was being honest.

“Maybe he likes the liars.”

Ms Pache said she was likely to try again to visit New Zealand.

Ms Jehle also told Ms Pache Immigration NZ was reviewing its border operations “settings and responses”, including custodial arrangements for people refused entry at airports where it had no accommodation for people waiting for their return flight.

“We understand that being held in police custody is an overly severe consequence given your circumstances.

Jail does seem to be a severe and over the top consequence.

 

 

NZ Herald leaning heavily towards ‘political pressure’

NZ Herald initiated the latest discussion on Kim Dotcom’s residency, releasing documents they obtained yesterday. They led this with Why our spy agency let Dotcom into New Zealand.

Prime Minister John Key must explain the “political pressure” government officials were under to process Kim Dotcom’s residency application, Labour says.

Documents declassified and released through the Official Information Act show the Security Intelligence Service tried to block Kim Dotcom’s residency application but dropped their objection 90 minutes after being told there was “political pressure” to let the tycoon into New Zealand.

There is a strong implication that ‘our spy agency’ let Dotcom get residency (he was already living here off and on) due to ‘political pressure’.

The article then quotes Labour’s Grant Robertson:

Labour’s Associate Security and Intelligence Spokesperson Grant Robertson said said Mr Key needed to explain the political involvement in the application.
“John Key has two important questions to answer, who was exerting political pressure on officials and why were they doing it.

“The Dotcom affair has always had the fingerprints of National Ministers on it, John Key must finally front up to New Zealanders and explain what he and his Ministers knew and what pressure they were applying.

The article then gives details of their investigation (by David Fisher, author of a book on Dotcom) and includes a number of official documents. It goes on to reiterate ‘political pressure:

The “political pressure” claim was made in October 2010 after the SIS blocked Dotcom’s residency application when it learned of the FBI’s criminal investigation into his Megaupload empire.

Well down the article a contradiction is included:

An earlier statement from Immigration NZ – provided by the SIS – said “it appears the government interest in the success of the [business migration] policy may have been misconstrued as political pressure”.

The statement appeared to be contradictory, saying so much time had passed “it is impossible to know whether this is an accurate reflection of comments that were made” while adding “INZ can state unequivocally that there was no political pressure”.

This pattern was repeated in Dotcom: Why wasn’t I blocked? While the article leads with…

Mogul claims residency checks set aside to lure him within FBI’s reach but government denies interference.

…it quotes Dotcom and then goes on to repeat:

“…political pressure to process this case”.

Well through the article it gives another side to the story:

Immigration NZ, which denies any “political pressure”, confirmed the six-month hold for those under investigation. But an Immigration spokesman said the agency “was not aware of any active investigation under way by the FBI” – only that he was a “person of interest”.

“It was decided that the information received did not meet the threshold to trigger a deferral of the residence application because of character concerns.”

Mr Coleman yesterday denied any political pressure, saying the decision was made by Immigration officials alone.

The decision document, obtained through the Official Information Act by the Herald, contains no mention of the FBI interest in Dotcom. It was signed off by an official and approved by his branch manager.

So both the Minister and Immigration NZ deny any political pressure was involved.

But the article closes promoting ‘political pressure’ again:

Labour MP Grant Robertson said he was sceptical about Immigration NZ’s denial of political pressure.

“I’m very concerned about the idea that the SIS magically decided the hold on the case no longer mattered 90 minutes after they heard about political pressure on Immigration NZ. And the fact INZ were told to talk to police and didn’t do it really defies belief.

The Herald has a separate article Dotcom case: Minister denies pressure on Immigration NZ.

Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman has denied putting pressure on Immigration New Zealand to accept Kim Dotcom’s residency application, but will not take questions on the subject.

He sent a short statement saying Immigration NZ had already issued a statement that “unequivocally that there was no political pressure regarding Mr Dotcom’s residence application”.

“The residency decision was made by Immigration New Zealand, not by me as Minister of Immigration.”

The head of Immigration was on Radio NZ late yesterday strongly denying political pressure was involved in the decision.

Stuff also cover this with Immigration boss rejects Dotcom residency claims.

The head of Immigration has rejected suggestions Kim Dotcom’s residency was approved as part of a United States move to make it easier to extradite him to face charges there.

Dotcom believes US authorities wanted to keep him here to make it easier to extradite him on internet piracy and copyright infringement charges. He has long claimed the Government was acting at the behest of the American film industry but has never offered proof.

But in an exclusive interview, Immigration chief executive Nigel Bickle said that from Immigration’s point of view he had seen no evidence of that and it was Dotcom’s advisers who had called for a fast decision in his case.

Bickle said then-immigration minister Jonathan Coleman had not been involved in the decision to grant Dotcom permanent residency, and the call was made by an official.

In 2010 the investor category Dotcom was applying under, requiring at least a $10m investment here, was a new policy. Ministers were interested in how it was going and were briefed weekly.

But in terms of Dotcom as an individual, Coleman had no involvement in the decision.

Bickle had told Coleman, under the ‘‘no surprises’’ policy, on October 28, 2010 after he had been informed Dotcom would be granted residency.

But it was not a decision that needed to go to the minister.

In an editorial today NZ Herald all the emphasis is on ‘political pressure’.

Documents declassified and released through the Official Information Act show the Security Intelligence Service tried to block Mr Dotcom’s residency application. It described him as a “bad but wealthy man” who was being investigated by the FBI for alleged copyright crimes. However, the SIS dropped its objection 90 minutes after being told there was “political pressure” to let the Megaupload mogul into New Zealand.

It does refer to Coleman.

Jonathan Coleman, the minister in 2010, denies there was political pressure. His signature was absent when residency was granted. Approval for Mr Dotcom was delegated by “special direction” to two Immigration NZ officials. But pressure comes in many forms.

There is no mention of Immigration NZ’s claim they didn’t think there was any pressure and they made the decision without the Minister being involved in the decision.

The editorial goes on:

Those damaged by the Dotcom wrecking ball can at least take comfort in the latest revelations hardly being to his advantage. More importantly, they argue persuasively that ministers should not be in a position where they can make decisions on residency or citizenship against the advice of officials. There is too great a danger of them bowing to popular opinion or acting in a manner that is not in the country’s best long-term interests.

Officials, in turn, should not be left to make such decisions. People and their circumstances vary, a feature that would be disregarded if rules had to be enforced rigidly. Additionally, officials are apt to read the political winds and anticipate their minister’s preference.

The editorial is headed Dotcom saga shows why independent judges best and closes with “An independent panel would be much more sensible” so it is obvious they have a clear preference but that doesn’t excuse slanting their coverage so much towards the claims of ‘political pressure’ while downplaying or omitting claims to the contrary.