Indian immigrant lodges Human Rights Commission complaint against Shane Jones
The spokesman for a Christchurch Indian community has lodged a Human Rights Commission complaint against New Zealand First MP Shane Jones.
Thomas Shaji Kurian – who is Christchurch Indian Social and Cultural Club’s spokesman – said he felt Jones’ “culturally insensitive” views on immigration were a “human rights violation and smells of dictatorship rule”.
“The sentiment in the community is they’re very angry.”
Jones has labelled it “faux outrage” that he has “zero interest in”.
He recently shared his stance on Immigration New Zealand’s policy and told the Indian community to “tame down your rhetoric” if they did not like the changes to visa requirements.
Immigration New Zealand’s strict requirements on partnership visas means it will be harder for arranged-married couples to bring their spouses to New Zealand.
Kurian – who made his complaint “on behalf of the wider Indian Community in New Zealand” – felt no reassurance when Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told 1News on Monday that she rejected any notion the comments were shared by Labour.
The Indian community felt “very saddened that it has to come from the coalition government”.
Kurian said he knew of others planning further complaints to the commission.
In his complaint, Kurian said asking hard working Indians to leave their livelihood to go back to India just to be with their partner “is a human rights violation and smells of dictatorship rule”.
“Now the community is like, ‘We don’t want an apology anymore, we want him to go.”
He knew relationship fraud existed, but believed that was more to do with people from overseas arriving on student visas and getting involved with citizens, then calling the marriage off after one year.
“But for those people legally married and coming over, they have difficulty.
“I work about 14 to 15 hours a day. That’s the way most Indians are.”
He was concerned Jones had simply “blurted out” a government policy.
“New Zealand is a very peaceful country, it’s never been racist like this.
“We want a government to be pure, not have a racist person in government. It’s all spreading communal hatred.”
The “divide and rule” policy was why he left India, he said.
“Every citizen or resident has a human right to live with their partner after marriage. They have to relook at their policy and how they can word it better to make sure everyone is included.”
The commission has refused to confirm, or comment on, any complaints made.
Jones – a self confessed “leading agitator” – said he accepted his comments were “rough around the edges”, but his critics were “sadly mistaken” if they thought they were able to quieten him.
While the Indian community was entitled to complain, “the Human Rights Commission has no authority to stifle or asphyxiate political debate”.
His comments were “return fire” as a NZ First MP when an “Indian activist attacked our leader”.
Jones quoted the Māori saying: “Tidy up your own marae before you dare to tidy up my marae.”
Immigration debates were “going to lead us to have challenging discussions”, he said.
“I’m no stranger to people trotting out exaggerated claims of injury.”
Last month, party leader and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters was happy to take the credit for a tougher approach to partnership visas.