Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson slams Government's new immigration policies, labels them racist, inhumane and discriminatory

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson has slammed the Government's new immigration policies, labelling them racist.

New measures were announced on Wednesday aimed at speeding up immigration by cutting red tape, but the Green Party is calling it a "white" immigration policy.

Davidson told AM the new policy creates a two-tier system by only rewarding high wage workers. 

"The impact of the immigration reset is essentially setting up a two-tier system and the impact of that, unfortunately, upholds quite a bit of discrepancy and discrimination that New Zealand has unfortunately not fixed for quite some time," she told AM Early host Bernadine Oliver-Kerby.

"So the differences between who is able to gain pathways to residency including in the current reset is an area of concern for us because it shows the white countries, the fair skin countries, the northern sort of American and European countries are far more likely and far more favoured to be able to seek pathways to residency because they are also traditionally far higher-earning immigrants who come here."

Davidson said the new immigration policies show we value certain jobs more than others. 

"What it's indicative of, is long-standing discrimination that we are valuing certain jobs and not valuing others," she said. 

"Aged care - who doesn't want our older generation to be taken care of and those workforces to be valued for the important job they're doing for our older generation," she said. 

"So if we set residency pathways based on salaries, we aren't taking into account fairer skin migrants from a white country will likely have easy access to criteria." 

Davidson called for a tiriti-centred approach where Tangata Whenua is at the heart of decision-making.

"Do we want to make sure we are not setting up and furthering far too common racist narratives about who comes here and what countries they come from? " 

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson.
Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson. Photo credit: AM

The Green Party co-leader said the language we use is also a concern. 

"If you look at some of the languages we use, we use the language of ex-pat for migrants from North America across Europe," she said. 

"Have a look at who we call skilled and unskilled - why is aged care not considered a skill to be valued. Why are we not valuing the carrying work in our community that sets up a system for enduring care for different groups of people?"

Davidson said some communities are used to dealing with adversities because of some of the policies New Zealand have. 

"The Filipino community here talk about how they are highly-skilled because they're hammered by all the other countries, so they're used to living with those adversities and dealing and working through those adversities," she told AM Early. 

"Why do we call some skills valued and other skills and other predominate workforces we label as unskilled, that is deeply unfair and it upholds an inhumane narrative."   

Speaking later on AM, Immigration Minister Kris Faafoi said the policy is not racist or sexist and the Greens haven't "got anything to stand on". 

"Because it's not?" Faafoi told AM host Ryan Bridge on Thursday after being asked why it wasn't.

"And the Greens are wrong because it is not racist or sexist," Faafoi said.

When questioned whether the outcome was, Faafoi also said no.

"The system is designed to make sure we get the skills we need and the people who will come in and do those jobs will come from a number of places and will be both male or female or whatever gender they describe themselves as," he told AM. 

When asked about the Green's calling it a "white" immigration policy, Faafoi said: "I don't think they've got anything to stand on, I think they are wrong."

Watch the full interview with Marama Davidson above.