'Bollywood overreaction': Shane Jones digs in after angering Indian community

Shane Jones has hit back at the Indian community in New Zealand describing their concerns over his comments on partnership visas a "Bollywood overreaction". 

Immigration New Zealand recently adopted a tougher policy on the partnership visa category. To be eligible, couples must have lived together, making it hard for those with arranged marriages to bring their spouses to New Zealand.

Jones defended Immigration NZ last month, telling RNZ: "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, then catch the next flight home."

Last week, Mandeep Singh Bela, coordinator of the Union Network of Migrants and the Indian Workers Association, told Newshub he was fearful the rhetoric could stoke hate crimes against the Indian community.

"To 'take the next flight home' is quite racist and discriminatory towards the Indian community. The last thing we want to see is what happened in Christchurch."

Jones, a New Zealand First MP and Cabinet minister, told Newshub on Tuesday that was a "Bollywood overreaction". 

Bollywood is the Indian Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai formerly known as Bombay. The term mixes the words 'Bombay' and Hollywood'. 

Jones is adamant he's speaking on behalf of New Zealanders who want more control on immigration. 

"I'm giving a voice to the anxieties of hundreds of thousands of Kiwis who upon learning we're now reaching 5 million people, substantially grown by immigration, they're actually very happy that they have a voice."

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said on Tuesday Jones is responsible for his comments. 

Last week he signalled a U-turn on the policy, but said he doesn't think the policy is racist.

"It was an operational decision made by Immigration New Zealand - it was not a decision of the elected Government."

Speaking to Magic Talk's Steven McIvor on Tuesday afternoon, Migrant Workers Association spokesperson Anu Kaloti said Jones was continuing with his racist remarks.

"My community and I think most New Zealanders do not appreciate this sort of racism, and those kind of comments and remarks.

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway.
Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway. Photo credit: Newshub Nation.

"The wording is racist, and the intention is definitely not appropriate either.

"Firstly, migrants do not bring entire villages with them here. Everybody comes here on a legitimate visa, of whatever type, that is issued by Immigration New Zealand."

Kaloti reiterated that the community still expected a public apology from Jones.

"That's just as a minimum, and there have also been calls for his resignation.

"We haven't seen any public condemnation of the racist comments by any of the political parties.

"It's really disappointing."