Saturday, January 15, 2011

Would You Vote For The New 'Migrant Party'?

Patsy Wong's resignation has resulted in a March by-election having to be held in the Botany constituency, where migrants make up more than half of the voters.

Rather than use a mainstream party to make the Chinese migrant voice heard in parliament action was taken to form a New Citizen Party.

The New Citizen Party aims to represent Chinese New Zealanders and has a focus on economic and law and order issues. The party has been organised by Auckland businessman Paul Young, former New Zealand Labour Party list candidate Stephen Ching, and Chinese businessman Jack Chen.

The party is registered by the Electoral Commission, making it eligible to contest the party vote.
The membership of the new party is not just Chinese New Zealanders but also people in the Korean, Maori and Pakeha communities.

Last August Paul Young told the Herald that he believed that as New Zealand became more engaged with the rest of the world, "we do need to listen to different voices". He also said it had "a focus on community safety, legal and education issues which required long-term policies, "and we do not see that happening".

Given the large number of migrants living in Botany this is an excellent idea. As long as migrants from other countries are properly catered for it has a good chance of success. Its time for immigrants to have their own voice in parliament, they could effect some real changes in the way that New Zealand Inc.  is run.

Could this be the beginning of the end for the 'Kiwi Way' ?

Will trade/professional bodies be made to get together with the immigration service and adopt identical requirements? It would be good if migrants didn't get all the way to NZ (an expensive process) only to find out they can't get a job because their qualifications aren't recognised. There are far too many lawyers and engineers driving taxis.

There could be more effective anti-discrimination laws, why put Kiwis first when there's supposed to be a skills shortage in the country and the population is in decline? There should be a level playing field for all.  Is it such a radical concept to fill a job on merit, rather than accident of birth or 'who you know'?

The New Zealand Herald's headline says the new party faces an uphill struggle - looks like the status quo may be feeling  a nipping at their heels. But here's the news for them - migrants are used to an uphill struggle in NZ.

If the new party gathers power, as  it will unless sabotaged, there are other communities in New Zealand that have high proportions of migrants that may want to follow the lead and put forward their own MPs.

It wouldn't take much - perhaps 5 or so MPs to make a difference to the balance of power in New Zealand, and in an election year that's going to cause some buzzing in the Beehive.

Would you give a New Citizens Party your vote?  if only to encourage the faint winds of change that are trying to blow away the cobwebs in New Zealand?

It will be interesting to see how seriously this 'threat' to the established order is taken. If a dirty tricks campaign is waged against the new party it could be seen as desperate move to prevent change in New Zealand.

Expect to see a lot of dirt digging in the coming weeks.

For the background to this story read this report in the Herald - New Migrant Party has an uphill struggle 

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