After what feels like one of the longest election campaigns ever, it is finally coming to an end. By the time this column goes to print, early voting will have started and you will have an opportunity to vote on election day on September 23, 2017.
It has been a privilege to visit and talk to many of you on the campaign trail.
Oftentimes, I have felt like an ‘icebreaker’ for the Green Party in helping us communicate and talk to voters to whom we have talked. Across Auckland, I have had an opportunity to connect with you for which I am grateful.
Green Party Leader James Shaw has already talked about what the Greens in Government will do for our communities, and I would like to build on his points and mention things he has not had the space to mention.
Insight into community issues
As many of you know – I am a lawyer and am involved with the community outside of the campaign. This has given me some insights into the difficulties that our people are facing and a thing that comes up again and again – not just at work but also the campaign trail is immigration. There are so many heart-breaking stories of families having to be separated, of students spending tens and thousands of dollars to come here – lured on false dreams only to be disappointed. Last but not least, of those being exploited at work by unscrupulous employers – most disappointing of all – sometimes perpetrated by members of our own community.
Fair Immigration Policy
The Green party has consistently stood for a fair, compassionate immigration policy.
Our plan will crack down on dodgy international education agents by requiring that all tertiary institutions in New Zealand put in a code of practice so that someone can be held to account. More importantly – we are not just preaching rhetoric – when the international students who were exploited by their education advisors took shelter – we were proud to stand with them publicly. Behind the scenes we were active in lobbying the minister and making the case to the government for a compassionate approach where the students would be allowed to finish their courses.
Our Immigration Policy also supports reversing the changes that National have made around family sponsorship. We think that you should be able to sponsor your parents and siblings – because part of being at home in a new country is having family and it only makes sense that you should be allowed to sponsor them if you are able to so. We want to keep families together and ensure that you are at home in New Zealand
Equality at workplace
We want to make sure we have fairness across workplaces too. Too often many of us experience discrimination from employers – this has actually been proven in a study in New Zealand with those not having European names receiving half the interviews as European New Zealanders.
The Green Party will help address this by trialing gender and race blind CVs so that you are being assessed on your merits – not ones coloured by the veil of prejudice.
We also want to smoothen and assist the cross-crediting of qualifications so that our qualifications that we gain abroad are recognised here.
I have been proud to be a Green candidate this election because the Greens have consistently stood up to defend migrants from scapegoating and advocated for policy that would help our community.
Please give your party vote to us so that we can keep standing up for migrants in Government.
Raj Singh is the Candidate of the Green Party at Manukau East.