Because, as much as I think I want to, I just can’t bring myself to support this idea of an amnesty for overstayers who have been here more than 10 years.
The irony, by the way, is that the dawn raids were first introduced in 1973 by Norman Kirk's Labour government. A year later, they pulled the plug. But Rob Muldoon brought them back again down the track.
And they were shockingly racist. Racist, state-sanctioned home invasions. That’s what they were. Because, back in the 1970s and 1980s, even though Pacific people made up just a third of all overstayers, they made up 86 percent of prosecutions.
People from the United States and Britain, by the way, who also made up about a third of all overstayers, only accounted for about five percent of prosecutions.
So fast-forward to July this year and the revelation that, even though the Labour government had done the big apology for the raids back in August 2021, the immigration raids on overstayers had continued.
And the government, quite rightly, got a caning for the hypocrisy of it all.
So it’s licked its wounds and has come out with this policy of an amnesty for overstayers who have been here longer than 10 years, saying that this is all about making good for the dawn raids.
Except it’s not. Because this amnesty would not be limited to overstayers from Pacific countries.
Here’s exactly what Labour says in its media release. It says it’s come up with the amnesty idea to "make good on the dawn raids apology by providing a one-off regularisation programme for Pacific and other migrants who have been in New Zealand more than 10 years”.
And the key words there are “Pacific and other migrants”. So not just Pasifika people. Claiming that it’s all about the dawn raids is absolute nonsense.
Which is one of the reasons why I can’t support it. Because it’s not actually about the dawn raids at all. It seems it’s about anyone who decides that they’re bigger than our immigration laws. From anywhere.
And according to Labour, we’re talking about as many as 20, 000 people who would be let-off coming here illegally and allowed to stay. Between 14,000 and 20,000, that’s what Labour itself is saying.
The other reason why I think it stinks, is that nowhere else in the world would you find a country willing to turn such a blind eye to illegal immigrants.
Years ago, when we moved overseas for a while, it never entered my mind to go somewhere and just stick around until the authorities caught up with me. That’s because I knew pretty much every country in the world didn’t tolerate that sort of thing.
But here in New Zealand? Absolute pushovers.
I probably wouldn’t feel so strongly about it if the amnesty was just for overstayers from Pacific countries. Because the relationship New Zealand has with these countries is quite unique. Places such as Tokelau, Niue and the Cook Islands even use the New Zealand currency, don’t they?
But to go all open-slather on it and say that this amnesty would be for all illegal migrants who have been here longer than 10 years - well, that’s going too far for me.
And that’s why I think Labour’s policy of turning a blind eye to as many as 20,000 illegal immigrants is further proof that we are well-and-truly the People’s Republic of Pushovers.
It appears the Immigration Minister, Andrew Little, feels the same way and is another Labour minister being pushed aside by Chris Hipkins.
Because here’s what Andrew Little said in Parliament just last month: “We have to think about the signal that we’re giving to people if they think ‘oh gee, this is a government that just routinely gives amnesties. If we stick around long enough, we’ll be OK.”
That’s what Labour’s Andrew Little said just last month. And I’m with him.
John MacDonald is the Canterbury Mornings host on Newstalk ZB Christchurch. This article was first published HERE