Radio NZ reports.
Arranged marriages caught up in immigration policy changes
The message from New Zealand First MP Shane Jones to members of the Indian community disgruntled with immigration policy changes – get on the first plane home if you’re not happy.
A change in approach by immigration officials to partnership visas means Indians in particular are having a much harder time bringing their spouses to New Zealand.
A representative of the Indian community said they were not trying to “bring over the whole village” but it was not unreasonable to expect to be able have your spouse live with you in the same country.
There has been a specific government directive to stop waiving requirements such as couples needing to have lived together for 12 months – a test Indian couples who have had arranged marriages can’t meet.
Auckland Indian Association president Narendra Bhana, said it was unbelievable Immigration NZ did not understand the cultural differences at play, and it felt like Indians were being punished.
“It’s not like Kiwi culture where you live together for three, four or five years and then get married – it doesn’t work like that in India.
“I’m surprised that Immigration [NZ] has failed to understand that after all these years.”
There were a “significant” number of Kiwi-Indians are affected because arranged marriages were so common.
“Lot of times our Indian fellows, members, they don’t know who they’re going to get married [to], quite often they go there for two to three months, they find someone suitable and before they get married they don’t live together, they don’t hold hands, they don’t kiss or anything – they get married and married life starts after that.”
Talking about a more recent change to parent category visa at the weekend, senior New Zealand First MP and Cabinet minister Shane Jones told RNZ he was saddened by the “levels of verbiage that the Indian communal leadership have thrown at the party”.
“I would just say to the activists from the Indian community, tame down your rhetoric, you have no legitimate expectations in my view to bring your whole village to New Zealand and if you don’t like it and you’re threatening to go home – catch the next flight home.”
This is where the bullshit starts
Party leader and Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters was happy to take the credit for a tougher approach to partnership visas.
“Has New Zealand First had an influence on trying to tidy up the quality of information on which the immigration department relies? The answer is profoundly yes.”
It was simple, he said, you’re either a partner under New Zealand law, or you’re not.
“It’s clear as daylight – they’re not partners – full stop”, he said.
Visas were being granted when they shouldn’t have been, said Mr Peters, because Immigration NZ was “not even observing the law and the rules”.
The government has also made changes to the parent category visa, including a much higher income test and a cap on the number of parents that can come in.
Mr Peters has previously told RNZ the tightening of that scheme was thanks to New Zealand First’s pressure at the Cabinet table, an assertion not denied by the Prime Minister.
He has asked Immigration NZ to make the rules more clear – the effect of which is greater restrictions on both parent and partner visas.
Who do we believe?
But Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway has pushed back on the comments from Mr Peters.
In a statement he said “there has been no government directive on partnership visas”.
“Immigration New Zealand has made its own decision to ensure staff were clear on their own operational decision making,” he said.
Immigration NZ figures showed 10 out of 87 applications for culturally-arranged marriage visas had been approved as of the end of August.
In the previous four years more than half of all applications were accepted.
Is this yet again the drunken dwarf saying whatever comes from that booze addled brain?