Current immigration debate refers to immigrants in general as if they were abstract people in an abstract world. But concrete differences between immigrants from different countries allow us to make a fair stab at determining whether their coming here is good or bad for New Zealand.
Too much current immigration debate is conducted in terms of abstract ideals, such as "We are all immigrants." Of course we are all descended from immigrants. But we are also a nation of people who wear shoes. Does this mean we should admit anybody who wears shoes?
The time is long overdue for immigration to be discussed in terms of empirical data about particular immigrant groups. This means hard data on such things as which groups' children do well in school and which do not; which groups have high crime rates; and which groups are over-represented on welfare rolls.
Such data is available if the government was disposed to collect and aggregate it. Immigrants from some countries are seldom on welfare while immigrants from other countries often are. Immigrants from some countries are typically highly educated and skilled, while immigrants from other countries typically lack schooling or skills.
Immigration policy must be framed in the context of a massive welfare state that is already a major, inescapable fact of life. We need immigrants who will hit the ground running, not go straight on welfare, stay there for life, and make large numbers of babies who will repeat the cycle.
Those advocating accepting anyone who wants to come and live here also ignore the fact that the free international movement of people is entirely different from free international trade.
Buying cars, cameras, televisions, shirts, or petroleum from other countries is not the same as admitting people from those places or indeed any other place. Unlike inanimate objects, people have cultures and not all cultures are compatible with our existing New Zealand culture.
The Western world in general has been discovering the hard way that admitting people who are culturally mismatched and always will be soon becomes an irreversible decision with incalculable consequences. If recent terrorist attacks on the streets of Boston and London don’t make the scales fall from our eyes, what will?
Surely those who already live in New Zealand have an absolute right to say who else gets to live here.
Instead we are told by our so-called “betters” that a seemingly endless amount of diversity is “good for us.”
Has anybody yet asked how much diversity is “enough”?
Immigration policy must be based on “Look before we leap,” not on abstract notions about abstract people generated by those chasing that warm glow of liberal non-judgementalism.