Human rights policy

by frog

Jeanette and Keith have launched the Greens’ human rights policy with speeches at a multi-ethnic event in Auckland this afternoon. Some of the specific policy points:

  • Provide assistance for all new migrants to learn English.
  • Provide all new immigrants with a copy of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act and Te Tiriti o Waitangi in their preferred language.
  • Establish a stand-alone Ministry of Ethnic Affairs, in line with the establishment of a Minister of Ethnic Affairs.
  • Increase our refugee quota from 750 per year to 1000 per year, providing adequate resources.
  • Remove the ability for Government Ministers to overturn decisions by judicial bodies, for example, decisions relating to the Security Risk Certificate procedure.
  • Ensure that government itself is bound by any human rights legislation, including the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act.
  • Finalise a timetable to reach the United Nations’ overseas aid target of 0.7% of Gross National Income by 2015.

The speeches Jeanette and Keith delivered are worth reading. Said Keith:

The Greens want our country to be seen as a good international citizen, helping development, and upholding all the United Nations human rights conventions – including those preventing discrimination against women, children, workers, and the draft on indigenous rights. The Greens are against all forms of discrimination, be it on the basis of nationality, ethnic origin, religion, political belief, gender, gender identification, sexuality, marital status, family and reproductive status, age, disability or socio-economic background. We want the extension of our anti-discrimination laws to achieve this.

In the human rights field, we can’t rest on our laurels. Right now some politicians are cultivating hostility towards those new migrants who don’t happen to be white. They are being portrayed as a threat to the New Zealand way of life. The Greens take the opposite view. We welcome diversity and celebrate the way each ethnic group adds to and enriches New Zealand culture. The Greens stand for a tolerant, diverse society, where everyone gets a fair go.

Said Jeanette:

Winston [Peters] and I seem to look at the same reality but see quite different things. When Winston Peters walks down Queen Street and sees Asian faces, he wonders whether he is still in New Zealand. When I walk down Queen Street and see Asian faces, I see the essence of New Zealand: the coming together of many peoples, under a shared vision of a fair, compassionate, sustainable society.

When Winston Peters realises that we are taking in refugees from the world’s wartorn places, he cries blue murder, and shouts ‘bludger!’ A Cambodian taxi driver recently told me his story of how, alone among his family, he barely escaped mass murder in his native country – a story that had me in tears as I reached my Parliamentary office. I was overwhelmed at how fortunate this country is, and relieved and thankful and yes, a little proud, that he had found safety and a job in New Zealand.

As always, feedback on the human rights policy is very welcome :)

frog says

Published in Justice & Democracy by frog on Sun, June 19th, 2005   


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