Labour’s refusal to back a select committee inquiry into the issues migrants face is a further blow to those desperate to be reunited with their partners and children, National’s Immigration spokesperson Erica Stanford says.
Labour members of Parliament’s Education and Workforce Committee voted against Ms Stanford’s motion to open an inquiry, which would have examined migrant issues caused by Covid-19, the closed border and Immigration New Zealand’s policies.
“Many of our migrants have had their lives upended by our closed border,” Ms Stanford says.
“At last week’s Reunite Families protest, National MPs heard the heart-breaking stories of maths teachers, engineers and nurses who had not seen their young children for more than 400 days.
“No Labour MPs attended the protest and this week Labour chose not to support an inquiry that would have given these migrants a platform for their voices to be heard.
“An inquiry would have allowed MPs to look closely at the various issues affecting migrants, probe the relevant agencies and explore workable solutions. This has been blocked by Labour’s cruel lack of support.
“Clearly Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi has no desire to answer for his lack of action. He turned up for only 20 minutes of the half hour he was invited to brief the committee, and he and his officials provided no meaningful answers for split migrant families.
“Minister Faafoi’s uncaring brush-off show that Labour’s mantra of kindness is empty. The Minister has gallingly called for split families to ‘be patient’; isn’t 400 days with no certainty or assurance ‘patient’ enough?
“Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister Faafoi’s inaction is eroding our critical migrant workforce and damaging New Zealand’s reputation abroad. Right now our migrants have no reason to believe the Government cares whether they stay in New Zealand, or leave.”
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