Why Act will never support signing the UN Migration Pact

Photo supplied to Whaleoil

The Act party has always welcomed migrants to New Zealand?s shores and that hasn?t been changed by our opposition to the UN Migration Pact. Unemployment levels of 3.9% are at an historic low and with shortages in the elderly care, dairy, construction and seasonal industries, New Zealand needs immigrants in the right areas. However, we must reserve the right to welcome those who maintain their financial independence, contribute to national prosperity and respect New Zealand values of free speech, free association and property rights.

The UN Migration Pact isn?t just about ripping away the government?s control of its own borders. It is self-admittedly a ?Whole of government? agreement that, if implemented, will see public policy in virtually every Ministry and government department perverted by the unknown and unelected technocrats of the United Nations.

New Zealand has consistently been in the top 5 most economically free countries of the world for many years. An agreement that seeks to ?harmonise? our migration policy with corrupt dictatorships will be disastrous for our country. I can safely speculate that if all nations of the world were to implement this agreement, we would not be seeing record-setting waves of migration to Belarus and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The pact?s supporters say there is no need to be concerned about this agreement because it is non-binding. In that case, why sign a piece of harmless window dressing? This is a democratic country, elections are held, governments change and who can possibly know whether a future government will shrug off the pact as non-binding or incorporate it as a paramount part of their foreign policy. I would not be handing a revolver, one pointing straight back at me, to future governments.

Several of the 23 objectives in this agreement that have been drawn up in the usual aspirational warm-fuzzy diplomatic language of the UN do not survive an educated reading between the lines.

Objective 15 is called: Provide access to basic services for migrants.

Currently, you have to be a resident or citizen to access taxpayer-funded services from our government. For example, if you?re not a resident and you need to use a public hospital then you pay for the service, which is pretty reasonable. Now if you?re like me, you welcome immigrants because they will usually take independent initiative to come here for a better life and use their own resources to make their lives better. Objective 15 tips this on its head, giving any person who crosses our borders an immediate human right to public healthcare, all levels of public education and wrap-around assistance by the government to access these services. When Michael Joseph Savage instituted the cradle to grave welfare state, he could never have imagined it would become an international airport to airport welfare system open to any person that shows up on our doorstep.

Objective 16 is titled ?Empower migrants and societies to realise full inclusion and social cohesion?. A glance at the details of Objective 16 shows the following (and I am paraphrasing):

Promote mutual respect for the cultures, traditions and customs of communities of destination and of migrants, including on ways to promote acceptance of diversity and facilitate social cohesion and inclusion;
Establish comprehensive and needs-based pre-departure and post-arrival programmes that may include rights and obligations and basic language training – something I?d expect migrants to have already undertaken for themselves if they?re planning on moving to create a new life for themselves in a new country;
Support multicultural activities through sports, music, arts, culinary festivals, volunteering and other social events that will facilitate mutual understanding and appreciation of migrant cultures and those of destination communities.

Auckland Council through ATEED and local boards already spends multi-millions on these sorts of activities while failing to provide the basic infrastructure essential to the functioning of a world-class city. Council needs to return to funding the basics properly instead of increasing funding of UN-mandated nice to haves.

Promote school environments that are welcoming and safe, incorporating evidence-based information about migration into education curricula, and dedicating targeted resources to schools with a high concentration of migrant children for integration activities in order to promote respect for diversity and inclusion, and to prevent all forms of discrimination, including racism, xenophobia and intolerance.

It?s hard to argue against evidence-based information until you ask the questions about what evidence, whose evidence, the contents of the information and why it needs to be delivered into our schools.

Objective 17: Eliminate all forms of discrimination and promote evidence-based public discourse to shape perceptions of migration

This is the biggie.?It is full of large words no decent person could ever publicly oppose for fear of being labelled a bigot which is what makes Objective 17 the most dangerous one of all.

  • Enact, implement or maintain legislation that penalizes hate crimes and aggravated hate crimes targeting migrants,
  • Promote independent, objective and quality reporting by media outlets, including Internet-based information sources, sensitising and educating media professionals on migration-related issues and terminology, investing in ethical reporting standards and advertising, and stopping allocation of public funding or material support to media outlets that systematically promote intolerance, xenophobia, racism and other forms of discrimination towards migrants, in full respect for the freedom of the media;
  • Engage migrants, political, religious and community leaders, as well as educators and service providers, to detect and prevent incidents of intolerance, racism, xenophobia and other forms of discrimination against migrants and diasporas, and support activities in local communities to promote mutual respect, including in the context of electoral campaigns.

This goes too far.

The Act party is the only parliamentary party to have consistently defended free speech, especially unpopular speech, which is when it really matters: whether it be Lauren Southern, Nigel Farage, Don Brash or the hideous Clementine ?All men must die? Ford. Free speech is all empowering and no oppressed people in history have improved their position without it. Free speech is self-regulating. Whatever good or horrendous thing one person may say, everyone else is free to congratulate or condemn it. Free speech is illuminating. Banning the expression of some opinions does not make them go away. It drives them underground where they can fester, building resentment unseen until they eventually explode in violence.

The media are a powerful watchdog against government corruption and tyranny. Sometimes they get it wrong. Sometimes they produce tabloid nonsense. Sometimes they take beltway issues you and I couldn’t care less about, then blow them out of proportion. For all the flaws a free press may have, there is no better alternative. Government programmes to sensitise media and control messages in electoral campaigns are a hideous proposition and, as a liberal, I find the very idea that our government still hasn?t decided whether or not to sign up to this agreement truly frightening.

Source: Free Speech Coalition

If we pass laws preventing hate speech, who is going to regulate it? Who is going to define it? I can give you the answer to that. The last people you would ever want to. In Russia, that?s Vladimir Putin who is using hate speech laws to jail LGBT activists. In Saudi Arabia, it’s the medieval religious dictatorship that whips and decapitates atheists. Who will it be in New Zealand? Probably the nasty and stupid regressive left who place fake bombs in theatres with Jewish audiences, make violent threats against venues featuring controversial speakers and form gauntlets of venomous abuse outside any events of which they disapprove.

I don?t want to hand over power to people like that to regulate how I may think, feel and speak. Freedom of speech is essential to maintaining a free liberal Western democracy.

We do not regulate free speech.

We do not compromise free speech.

We do not negotiate free speech and that is why Act will never support signing this UN Migration Pact.


By Stephen Berry

Act party: Human Rights spokesman