NZ First want to make immigrants ‘respect’ stipulated values

Respect is usually earned, not imposed, but somehow want to make immigrants respect values that they want to stipulate.

What next – making non-immigrant New Zealanders adhere to prescribed values?

RNZ: ‘Their values do not necessarily match up with our values’

The obvious point to make here is that ‘our values’ are quite diverse.

New Zealand First is one step closer to campaigning on a law that will force immigrants and refugees to sign up to a set of core values.

They already have to do something that none of us who were born here have to do – pledge allegiance to the Queen. That’s a value I don’t put much weight on – I’m glad I haven’t been made to pledge to that.

The remit, which passed with some opposition, was hotly debated by party supporters at the 25th annual conference in Tauranga at the weekend.

If enacted the Respecting New Zealand Values Bill would require new migrants to respect gender equality, “all legal sexual preferences,” religious rights, and the legality of alcohol.

Respect the legality of alcohol? Would that disallow disrespecting the huge amount of problems caused by alcohol abuse?

Wairarapa NZ First supporter Roger Melville said the law could not come soon enough.

Mr Melville described the attitudes he had encountered from immigrants throughout the North Island.

“Arrogance, downright ignorance of putting people down and forcing their ways and means.”

Former NZ First MP Mahesh Bindra also supported the remit.

Born in Mumbai, Mr Bindra came with his family in 2002 and was the party’s ethnic affairs spokesperson.

“We do have certain cultures, or subcultures coming into the country, and their values do not necessarily match up with our values.

“There are certain practises – I don’t want to name any religion – that are not conducive to our way of living.”

That fairly obvious swipe at some religions seems at odds with respecting religious rights.

Pita Paraone, another former NZ First MP who dropped out of Parliament at the last election, is also a fan of the proposed policy.

“I think the fact there’s discussions about young girls being married off at a young age or being betrothed to older men is certainly something that runs against the New Zealand psyche.”

While probably largely historic has he not heard of the New Zealand psyche of shotgun weddings? Threats of having a baby taken away if you don’t get married?

But the youth wing of the party was not convinced.

William Woodward said it was good to have debate but it was not a policy that was needed.

“Speaking form a young NZ First point of view, New Zealand as a free first-world country has all of those avenues for people to be able to express their religion, to express their freedoms in a very free and safe way.”

Good on him for speaking up, but I think that in NZ First the youth voice is a fairly small minority.

Party leader Winston Peters said the law was needed.

“If someone’s over here who wants to change this country and doesn’t want to support this country’s law … who thinks women are cattle and second-class citizens, that person should not be here, sorry.”

What about politicians who see other politicians as second class? What about parties who bring in laws to make MPs not just second class but evict them from Parliament if they don’t agree with their party leader?

What about all the journalists who Peters has made clear he thinks are worse than second class?

I wonder if one value they would consider would be the value of politicians being open and honest with the public and not refusing to give straight answers.

This proposed law trying to impose some sort of conformity is both dumb and dangerous.

The only good thing about it is it is unlikely to get wider support. Labour and National should reject any attempt to set standards or values for immigrants or any group of people here beyond laws for everyone to adhere to – ‘one law for all’. Surely the Greens at least would stand up against it on principle.

This proposed law looks like pandering to intolerant minorities.

Would NZ First want something like determining acceptable values to the people via a referendum?

Or do they only want people who agree with their defined values to decide what values everyone should be forced to abide by?

Respect can’t be forced by law.

Labour’s negative campaign

For about a decade Labour have tried to defeat National by attacking John Key, without success. Now they seem to be trying to repeat the same tactics against new Prime Minister Bill English.

labourversusenglish

It doesn’t mention the name of who they they think ‘it’s time’ to be Prime Minister. Are Labour hedging their bets about who might be leading them at the election?

What are Labour’s values? Dredging up old stuff to attack opponents?

There is nothing positive about this. Repeating past mistakes is a very questionable strategy.

I don’t see how this negativity will appeal to many voters, let alone people who might consider joining ‘the campaign’.

I hoped Labour would have hit election year promoting themselves and showing how they can be different. Same old is a bad start.

Greens want 50% house price drop

On RNZ this morning Metiria Turei said she supported up to a 50% drop in house prices.

Auckland house prices need to drop 50 percent – Greens

Auckland house prices should be deliberately reduced by up to 50 percent over a period of time to make the market affordable again, Greens co-leader Metiria Turei says.

Ms Turei said the only way to reverse that was to slowly bring prices back down to three or four times the median household income.

She told Morning Report the Green Party was considering what timeframe would work without crashing the market and hurting people who already owned homes.

“The only way to prevent a bust, and to protect families in the short and long term is to lay out a comprehensive plan, which means using every comprehensive tool that we’ve got so that we can slowly bring down house prices so that they’re reasonable.”

She backed this up (without the numbers) with this:

Responsible house price reduction needed to avoid bubble bursting

Auckland housing is unaffordable and a responsible Government would have a sensible plan to reduce house prices over time, while protecting families with mortgages, the Green Party said today.

“The simple fact is that housing in Auckland is totally unaffordable and if we don’t take action to bring house prices down, we will have a whole generation of people locked out of ever owning their own home,” said Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei.

“In around 10 to 15 years’ time, we’d like to see families on the median household income buying their first home for about three to four times that income – not 10 times like it costs now.

“I want to be very clear that we are talking about a responsible, carefully managed reduction in house prices over a period of time like 10 to 15 years.

“The Green Party is putting together a plan for how to reduce house prices responsibly and gradually, and that will include making sure people who’ve recently taken out big mortgages to buy a home are safe and secure.

“We know housing isn’t affordable for families now, so the only way to protect people from market instability is to lay out a plan using every tool we’ve got to slowly bring down house prices to a reasonable level.

“Nobody, including the Green Party, wants to see the housing market crash and equally nobody thinks the current situation can go on like this.

“It’s a fundamental part of Kiwi values that people who work hard should be able to afford their own home.

“Our plan for more affordable housing will include building more houses, a capital gains tax (excluding the family home), and restricting non-resident foreign buyers,” Mrs Turei said.

Back to RNZ with Labour’s reaction:

The Auckland Council’s chief economist had suggested bringing prices down to five times the median household income by 2030, she said.

Labour leader Andrew Little said Ms Turei’s declaration that Auckland house prices should be deliberately reduced was irresponsible.

There was no way a Labour-led government would consider the idea, he said.

“We have a very clear plan. It’s not about crashing house prices. It’s about stabilising prices.

“We don’t want to cause undue economic harm to those who – in good faith – have bought homes, entered into mortgages. That’s not a responsible approach.”

Labour and the Greens recently struck a co-operation agreement, including a no-surprises policy.

This seems like a planned announcement by the Greens, and they are likely to have known it would be a bit of a surprise to Labour.

So who is right?

I don’t think a 50% reduction in values is a sound target. Too many risks.

For a start it’s probably impossible to plan house prices over the short term let alone over a decade or two. There are too many factors that are hard to control, and major ones of those are international.

I think if house prices drop by more than  20% it  starts to put recent purchasers at risk of going into negative equity, so dropping much more than that must be highly questionable.

Perhaps there needs to be some middle ground – some drop in values, limiting increases in values by ensuring adequate land supply, and and working more towards raising wages to meet somewhere in the middle.

Ideally. If that were at all possible.

 

Woodhouse on refugee values

Minister of Immigration Michael Woodhouse on raising the number of refugees New Zealand will resettle – RNZ audio.

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Sign up to ‘our values’

ACT MP David Seymour says that refuges should sign up to ‘our values’. This sounds like a populist poke.

NZH: Refugees should sign-up to our values, says Act’s David Seymour

Act Party leader David Seymour welcomed the quota’s increase to 1000 from 2018 – but said new arrivals should sign a “statement of commitment to New Zealand values”, including freedom of speech, and respect for women and those of different sexualities.

“Countries like Australia and Belgium require immigrants to sign a statement of commitment to national values. A New Zealand Values Statement could include a commitment to respect the basic freedoms that make this country a wonderful place to live.”

Seymour doesn’t seem to have explained how a set of ‘our values’ might be defined, how a pledge to uphold the standards would work in practice.

There is no way a values pledge could be enforced, it would be futile with changes of attitudes and could not do anything about children of refugees.

Who would define what values should be pledged to? The commenters at Kiwiblog?  Authors at Whale Oil? Commenters at The Daily Blog? Authors at Boots Theory?

As a country we couldn’t have a civil discussion and decision on what our flag should look like. I don’t see much chance of defining values that new citizens must pledge to.

And what about existing citizens and the values they live by?

Shouldn’t New Zealand citizens all endeavour to set an example by which refugees and immigrants could follow by examplke?

 

Ex Values leader slams mean Greens

Alan Wilkinson comments on Kiwiblog:

As a former co-leader of the Values Party I am sorry to say that the Greens under Norman and Turei are an intellectual and ethical disgrace to the original foundations of the movement. They are utterly unscrupulous fanatical Reds, not Greens. Their strategy and objectives are entirely Red – Green is just a useful tactic.

A lot of disappoinment at the new Green tactics has been expressed across the political spectrum.

And ‘kiwi in america’ (ex-Labour) points out:

The point is that the Greens including Norman traded for years heavily on the pure above the mucky fray of sledging politics – they can do longer do this.

Even in Green territory on Frogblog the new Norman/Turei approach has been criticised by a majority:
http://blog.greens.org.nz/2013/06/02/general-debate-june-2-2013/

And editorials add to the criticism:

The change in media attitude over the last two months (since the NZ Power anouncement) is quite significant.

Frog pond

Green Party Values

As a party and as members of that party, we aim to:

  1. Act according to our Charter unless something else might get us power
  2. Respect the planet and the web of life of which we are one party, albeit the one and only party that can save us
  3. Take the path of caution banning in the face of serious any uncertainty about the consequences of human action
  4. Think long term and holistically – or 18 months and ballistically when mid term
  5. Make decisions by consensus whenever possible but if they don’t agree then our ideals are superior
  6. Engage respectfully, without personal attacks unless they deserve our derision
  7. Support ideas on their merit, regardless of where they originate on the left
  8. Actively respect cultural and individual diversity and celebrate differences that comply with our social views
  9. Maintain a community focus except where the community is ignorant of our superior aims
  10. Enable participation with dignity and challenge oppression of our magnificent message
  11. Encourage new voices and cherish wisdom that must speak against that nasty capitalism
  12. Recognise our duty of care towards those who cannot speak for themselves, if they cannot speak we will speak for them, all quiet New Zealanders must agree with us, right?
  13. Foster compassion, a sense of humour and mutual enjoyment in our work, Russel, Russel?