NZ First's Winston Peters attacks Government on high number of Chinese parents applying for parent reunification category of migration

In another sign of New Zealand First's likely approach in the September 20 election campaign, Winston Peters' has attacked the Government's approach on allowing the parents of migrants from China to apply for family reunification visas.

Peters asked Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse about figures showing applications for family reunification visas from China dominated those from all others.

"Why is the Minister and the Government encouraging one country to use New Zealand as a retirement home with all the benefits that most New Zealanders work 40 or more years for and pay for in their taxes?," Peters said in a question in Parliament.

Woodhouse said there was a lag between a surge in migrants and a subsequent rise in applications for family reunification visas. He said the Government had also changed the rules and planned further changes to limit the number of parent category migrants.

"Chinese skilled migrants were rather more prominent under the previous Government, which was supported by that member’s party, and we are now seeing some coming in, but I note also that this Government has removed the centre of gravity provisions that would have made Chinese parents more likely to gain residence under that category. It is a much fairer system," Woodhouse said.

Peters then tabled documents from the Parliamentary Library showing applications from parents of migrants from China were larger than those from all other countries put together.

Woodhouse rejected any suggestion that China was being favoured over other countries.

"I note that since that member’s party supported the previous Government, the parent category approvals have dropped, the centre of gravity provisions have been removed, the sponsorship requirements have been increased, the family income thresholds have been increased, and I have a bill in the House that would extend the sponsorship period from 5 years to 10 years, and that member’s party is not supporting it," Woodhouse said.

"So if he is serious about this, he would support the Immigration Amendment Bill," he said.

Statistics NZ figures show India was the largest contribut of net migration in the year to April with 6,400, while China was next on 6,300 and Britain third on 5,900.

Immigration NZ states that parents of New Zealand residents for three years are entitled to apply to migrate under the parent category, but only after they have submitted an expression of interest and then been formally invited to apply. The rules were changed on July 30, 2012.

There are two tiers to the parent category, with tier one having higher priority with higher financial and income requirements than tier two.

New Zealand's Residence Programme has a 'Capped Family stream' of between 14,850 to 16,500 places between July 2011 and June 2014. The queue for tier one applicants is currently six months, while the queue under the previous parent category is five years and the queue for tier two applications is up to seven years.

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19 Comments

Make it easier to visit for extended periods but get rid of allowing parent to immigrate - period. They add nothing to the general well being of NZ. Forgive my hard feelings but I have seen so many old Chinese move in, then start looking after the grand children to allow the in betweeners to go back to China to run the family business. I presume no one is paying any tax to NZ but after a while the benefits flood in. Would be interested to hear from hospital staff  re the number of old Chinese they see. I was in the N Shore hospital a couple of months ago and witnessed two old oopas try and get the staff to understand their ailment - they were touching there midriff and going ooh / ahh.; It was quite laughable - preume their children were back home in China................

However my parents who live here now pay considerable NZ tax.
regards

Fully agreed. I know that eg thousands of well-to-do German pensioners would like to stay a couple of Southern summers in NZ (no children in NZ, no re-unification etc), but there is no suitable immigration category for them. Only some investment category for which you literally need to be a millionaire.
 
So NZ misses out on their money and they miss out on the good time. Lose-lose situation.
 
Woodhouse says in response that NZ determines migration by what suits it best. Looks like he has a funny definition of what is best for NZ, or - more likely - simply does not understand the effect of his own counterproductive regulations.

I'ts a bit unfair to target the eldelry Chinese - as all are playing this game.  The elderly migrants are a time bomb and presenting at our hospitals with a lifetime of health issues that have been untreated for years - bad hips, hearts, lungs (many smoke), HIV, liver disease and all manner of third world diseases.
There is also the trick of sponsoring the parents - they kids make an undertaking that they can financially support the parent.  Once two years is up they withdraw support and mummy and daddy head in and get a special benefit.
The whole issue is a bit like housing - data is either not being collected or it is not being analysed.
I hope Winston keeps digging so Joe Public can see what is occurring and have a say..

I have no problem with parents coming over, as long as they pay for their own heathcare and any other costs involved.
Why should this money be stolen from hard working kiwis? It's not like we get the same in singapore/china/hong kong. In fact we would be laughed out of the country if we even suggested it.
NZ's Immigration Policy = A Joke

It's a little bit unfair to blame these family reunification and say they don't contribute to NZ economy..
The story usually goes like this:
1-Chinese (as we are talking about chinese..) parents "invest" in their children and send them to study in NZ.
2-These kids pay an insane amount of money to NZ universities and schools (yes, money directly into NZ economy) and the children can study here, get a student visa, after that a resident visa and become NZ permanent residents
3-When the children (grown ups already) have a permanent job, good income and/or match all requirements they bring their parents here as reunification.
4-Parents get the returns of their investment: a better life with all the family
Want to blame the reunification? Fine, do it, but blame as well a huge part of New Zealand's economy that is based on that, like education (and it's a big cake..). Not every foreigner comes to study to NZ because of the "schools' high quality"
PS: And by the way, about taxes.. Taxes are not only the taxes on income. Whenever they buy in any shop, they fill up petrol tanks, etc. they are all paying taxes.

Well put. Much of the so-called education system is just a front for de facto migration services. And everyone knows it. 
 
NZ should stop selling out for a couple of quick "education" bucks, then everything else would not be a problem either incl. housing affordability btw.
 
However, try getting the boomers off the trough without losing an election ... so better you keep fiddling with the symptoms, like Woodhouse does.
 
 

Winnie may underestimate just how dutiful some children are.
 

One day, not so long ago, on a train trip from Waitakere to the city, taking a mature-aged genuine-kiwi-born lady-friend out for a day trip
 
In our carriage, there were a group of old chinese biddies sitting together, jabbering away in mandarin or cantonese or whatever, no speak inglis
 
When the ticket inspector came along for a lookee-looksee at our tickets, when he got to the old ladies they all pulled out their gold-cards
 
Well bugger-me
 
My mature-aged genuine-kiwi-born-lady-friend who had lived in Auckland all her life, paid her taxes and rates, did a spastic and went absolute bat-shit troppo, abusing the shit out of these old birds. She went right off the deep-end. Boy, did they get a spray.
 
I moved to the back of the carriage until it died down. It was a screaming match

Well, Winnie will get one vote at least.
How embarrssing for you....
...beacuse they were Chinese? or was she just jealous of their gold cards?

It was about how elderly migrants can lob into the country, cant speak english, not interested in learning how to speak english, don't assimilate, but when it comes to the goodies and welfare and handouts for the long suffering loyal subjects of the realm, they're at the front of the queue.
 
They sure as heck weren't buying SUV's and filling up their petrol tanks as suggested above

Seems a bit petty to me and a bit racist too.
Everyone over 65 is entilied to a gold card if they are currently and ordinarily resident in NZ - correct? It's not based on race or where you happened to be born is it?
Your friend has no idea how long those ladies have been living here, she just made an asumption that they were recent arrivals based on the fact they were not talking english. Reminds me of those cases not so long ago in Australia where people were attacked because they dared speak something other that the Queens own - lord help us if we ever stoop to that level.
Quite frankly your friend sounds like she needs to get over her feelings of insecurity and anger management issues. A bit of fresh air and a day trip to Auckland perhaps?
 

You seem awfully proud of your friend's redneck racist behaviour.  Why would your friend want to eavesdrop on a group of people having a conversation? It's a private conversation and they could use French if they like.
How do you know they had not been paying tax? They might have been living and running a bakery or a dairy in New Zealand for years.

I still don't get what is so special about parents from China. Wouldn't parents from other countries present similar problems on our healthcare services? 
It is a great idea to have the old folks looking after the kids while both parents go out to work. Less burden on our welfare system. Less juvenile delinquents too.  There has been no news  of 12 or 13 year-old Chinese boys or girls doing mischief, robbing or killing dairy owners.

I have been inside the homes of many of these elderly Chinese immigrants. Many, many of them live in state housing and collect NZ super. They grow their own veges.
So, courtesy of the NZ taxpayer they get an income, a house, healthcare, public transport and land to grow their food on. All without ever having contributed to the economy! Is it any wonder that they all want to jump on the gravy train?
Then, to add insult to injury, many are extremely ungrateful and some mistreat the state houses they live in. As they have come from communist-era backgrounds, their expectations are great.
 
I usually don't have any time or patience for anti-immigration rants, but on this topic, Winston has a very valid point. We don't have the tax base to fund this sort of foolhardy largesse and a lid must be put on it.

Are you sure you're not confusing Chinese migrants with refugees?  I've not seen or heard of elderly Chinese migrants in state housing.   Don't the Chinese usually own their own homes? At least that's what the news has been telling us, that they are buying up homes.

Yep. NZ has only had small numbers of Chinese refugees and mmost of those over 40 years ago.
There is no way that the people I met (in their state houses) had been here for that long.
Younger Chinese are indeed buying up homes, many of which (especially on the North Shore, I've heard) sit empty. They are a way to keep their money safe from the Chinese government.
I saw lots of elderly foreigners in state housing. Eastern Europeans was another large group, but the Chinese were by far the biggest.

You don't get NZ Super unless you have been resident here for at least ten years, of which five have to be over the age of 50.

MdM - it should be more like 25 years.
There was talk of China growing old before growing rich, if you can export the ageing you can solve this problem.:)
What would be interesting to know is if this "parent reunification category" has any part in the decision making to send there children here to study.