Senseless comments disturb racial harmony

I refer to three newspaper articles, namely the report titled, ‘INZ puts another spin on racism,’ Editorial captioned, ‘Another official, another racist comment’ (both appeared in Indian Newslink, October 15, 2014 issue) and ‘Official’s Indian radio remark sparks race row’ (New Zealand Herald issue dated October 16, 2014).

Briefly, these covered the outcome of a job application made to Immigration New Zealand (INZ) by Immigration Lawyers McClymont & Associates on behalf of an applicant.

The employer had advertised the job in the Herald, Work & Income New Zealand and Radio Tarana for a ‘specialist’ Indian beauty therapist.

The Immigration Officer, who declined the Work Visa application from a potential immigrant, said that the employer had not shown ‘genuine attempts’ to recruit locals because New Zealand citizens/residents are unlikely to listen to an Indian radio station.

Demeaning remarks

This demeaning racist comment has sparked a race row, public anger and a demand to have clear, definitive definition of a ‘New Zealander’ from appropriate officials of the Government including Prime Minister John Key and Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse. Nothing short of this will put this controversy to rest.

I called INZ on October 22, 2014 (on 0508-588855) and asked about the requirements for advertising for a job in New Zealand. I mentioned that I had advertised in the New Zealand Herald, Work & Income New Zealand and Radio Tarana, because of the nature of the job.

She told me that I had met with all the requirements and complied with INZ guidelines.

New Zealand is a beautiful country and a lovely place to call home, but it must remain devoid of any racial discrimination.

Discrimination persists

We all realise that race is a fact of life and racial discrimination continues to exist in many parts of the world. Hard as it may be for some people, human beings should be accepted and viewed as equal, because we live in a global village. More than 25% of Auckland’s population was born outside New Zealand and as such, we should embrace the richness of diversity and culture.

Let me examine what racial discrimination enunciates. As mentioned in Wikipedia, Racism consists of prejudice and discrimination based in social perceptions of biological differences between peoples.

It often takes the form of social actions, practices or beliefs, or political systems that consider different races to be ranked as inherently superior or inferior to each other, based on presumed shared inheritable traits, abilities, or qualities. It may also hold that members of different races should be treated differently.

Is racial discrimination rife in New Zealand? We should debate this issue.

However, New Zealand can least afford racial discrimination, especially from within INZ and its officials who are supposed to uphold and safeguard the country’s immigration laws, without bias or discrimination.

Arrogant official

I agree with the comments made in the Indian Newslink editorial, which described about the Immigration Official’s remarks as obnoxious and disgustingly arrogant.

If this is what such officials really believe, they should be removed from their position.

How can we pride ourselves in calling New Zealand as ‘One country of One people with One law for all,’ when the Immigration hierarchy itself is allowed to flout the law?

Pristine country

I am an Indo-Fijian and have been in New Zealand for more than 26 years. I am a proud citizen of this country, with my family happily settled here.

We see New Zealand as a nice, peaceful country and we are proud to call this country our home. Shouldn’t we all consider what we should do and contribute to keep it this way?

I have also written to the Office of the Prime Minister, Labour MP Phil Goff, Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy and INZ with a request to address this problem.

As permanent residents or citizens, the New Zealand law allows us to call ourselves New Zealanders. Can this be clearly endorsed by the right authority to put this controversy to rest for once and for all?

Reginald Nand is a strong advocate of equal opportunity for all and social harmony. He lives in Mt Roskill, Auckland. Readers may respond to editor@indiannewslink.co.nz

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