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ACT welcomes immigrants

Posted on 06 Jul 2005

Speech extract from Northcote public meeting, Monday 4th July

New Zealand is an immigrant nation. Almost 20 percent of New Zealanders were born overseas. This is one of the highest rates in the OECD. 
 
Immigrants settling in our country to build a better life for themselves and their family have been a key driver of economic growth and progress over the years, through hard work,
enterprise and a pioneering attitude and spirit. In general, new immigrants have settled in well, adopting Kiwi culture and values and in choosing New Zealand as their new home, they have enriched our culture and our society.
 
ACT welcomes new immigrants, but would like to ensure that new New Zealanders  understand the responsibilities that being a Kiwi brings – they must be prepared to work hard and be self-reliant, so they do not need to rely on welfare. They must be law-abiding.  Any immigrant sentenced for a crime serious enough to warrant imprisonment who is not a New Zealand citizen, should be immediately deported.
 
Becoming a New Zealander is a great privilege and each and every one of us have a responsibility to play our part in contributing to the future well being of our nation. That is why it is important to be mindful of the need to encourage people from nations with a good track record of settling well to come to New Zealand. In particular, it highlights the importance of recognising that Kiwis coming back home are the very best immigrants to attract and we must focus on creating a prosperous domestic economy that encourages New Zealanders to return.
 
That is why ACT is so committed to lower taxes as a key driver of economic growth. Our proposed tax rates of 15 cents in the dollar for earnings up to $38,000 with 25 cents above that for individuals and business will, according to Treasury, add up to 1.5 percent to our present growth rates. This would us up and over the 4 percent rate, which would put us on track to closing the 30 percent standard of living gap with Australia.
 
A tax cut for every worker, combined with proper welfare reform to ensure that those who are capable of working move off welfare and into jobs and a dramatic reduction in the bureaucracy and red-tape which is crippling not only small business but the charitable and voluntary sector as well, will see New Zealand begin to flourish.
 
Any government owes it to new immigrants to do what it can to ensure the nation is prosperous enough to fulfil the hopes and dreams of those families who choose to settle in our country. Further, they must also ensure that new immigrants are given sufficient help and support – in terms of resettlement and English language programs – to help them to settle into our Kiwi way of life as quickly as possible. In particular, a special effort should be made to remove the industry barriers that prevent the acceptance of professional qualifications, which at the present time results in doctors, lawyers, computer engineers and teachers driving taxis instead of being able to work and contribute in a professional capacity. At a time when the country is being held back because of a massive skill shortage, this is a problem that needs urgent attention.  
 
Voters who share our vision of New Zealand as a prosperous nation that welcomes the contribution of new immigrants, should give their Party Vote to ACT on election day to ensure those values play a key role in New Zealand’s new 2005 Parliament.
 
ENDS
                         
 
Dr Muriel Newman MP                     
muriel.newman@parliament.govt.nz
Phone:            04 470 6633  /  021 800 111
Fax:                 04 473 3532
Michelle Brooker, Press Secretary
michelle.brooker@parliament.govt.nz
Phone:            04 470 6644  /  021 995601