NZ First launches new attack on Asian immigration

  • Breaking
  • 02/04/2008

New Zealand First has launched a new attack on Asian immigration, saying New Zealand is going to be flooded with Asians and there is no guarantee about what they are going to do here.

The attack was launched not by Winston Peters but his deputy Peter Brown.

His remarks come as the party contemplates whether to support the free trade agreement with China due to be signed in a few days time.

The Asian population, especially in the Auckland region, has been steadily climbing - more than 230,000 live there now. And the Asian population is projected to keep on growing, which has New Zealand First's deputy leader Peter Brown worried about what he's calling the rise of 'mini societies of Asians'.

He says the Asian immigrants risk causing division, friction and resentment.

"(The immigration statistics) are horrible," says Brown. "We are going to flood this country with Asian people with no guarantee about what they're going to do when they come here."

The latest population forecast shows that by 2026 the number of ethnic Asians in New Zealand will increase by 3.4 percent to 790,000, just behind Maori who reach 820,000 and well ahead of Pacific Islanders. Europeans make up most of the population.

Brown, an immigrant himself, fears the Maori population will eventually be overtaken.

"Mini China, mini Asia, mini Hong Kong, even a mini London I would have concerns about," says Brown.

But Peters, Brown's leader, had little to say as he crashed his way through journalists this afternoon.

The National Party's Pansy Wong says it is not surprising NZ First is plugging the Asian invasion message of the past at this time of an election year.

"Some in the Asian community have matured and appreciate it is election year - some others might get upset," says Wong.
Hard words on immigration have drawn attention in the past, like those from former Australian politician One Nation founder Pauline Hanson.

A group set up to foster relations with Asia rejects Brown's concerns about divisive mini societies.

"I think any comments that seek to divide people are always dangerous, particularly when they are not based on any real evidence," says Dr Andrew Butcher of the Asia NZ Foundation.

The Asian New Zealand Foundation says Asian people have been coming to New Zealand for decades and fit in well with New Zealand communities. The group says the comments are not helpful considering New Zealand leads the way when it comes to cultural diversification.
Listen to RadioLIVE's Jemma Dempsey interviewing businessman Mitchell Pham on the World at Noon.
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