What are the 'New Zealand values' NZ First wants to test migrants on?

New Zealand First MP Clayton Mitchell wants to boot out migrants or refugees who don't adhere to "New Zealand values". So what exactly are New Zealand values?

"They're largely Christian-based, but not necessarily aligned to any religion," Mr Mitchell explains.

"They're about respecting your mum and your dad, respecting women, respecting other New Zealanders, ensuring the people that want to be part of this country aren't bigoted or racist or have any bad feelings towards others."

The Respecting New Zealand Values Bill has the backing of the party's membership, with one suggesting we had to learn from Europe's recent experience.

"If you bring millions of Muslims into Europe now and have problems, do they fit or not, are they fit for purpose - is that racism?"

But NZ First's government support partner says migrants aren't a threat to New Zealand values.

"The values identified - things like respect for women, respect for the rainbow community, religious freedom - are all good, but there's absolutely no evidence that migrants are causing a risk to those things here," Green MP Golriz Ghahraman says.

Experts say it's impossible to test for New Zealand values and Kiwis already struggle with them.

Massey University Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Spoonley says it's impossible to test for those values.

"'Are you in favour of gender equality?' You're only going to give one answer if you want to get into the country. It really is nonsense."

Mr Mitchell doesn't give much detail on exactly how a values test would be implemented, except to say migrants will have to "sign up" to New Zealand's values.

It's also unclear whether this idea has been run past the Prime Minister, who used her address at the United Nations to promote what New Zealand stands for - except she called them "universal values".

Ray Lindsay from Porirua has a suggestion for NZ First: support new migrants to help them integrate, rather than put them to a test.

"I think what we've got to do is encourage them to get a better understanding of us so we can understand them as well," he says. "It's a double-sided coin."

NZ First MPs will consider whether they want to go forward with the idea when they next meet.


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