Monday, April 30, 2012

When you really need a distraction...ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS

Poor old National must at the very least be sweating a bit under the collar at the moment. It's asset sale legislation is wildly unpopular and has spurred the biggest protests since the mining backdown; the ACC scandal just won't die, and what's more has exposed a rift within the Ruling Party; the pokie-machines-for-a-convention-centre deal with SkyCity has hit an unexpected public backlash as people have realised those with the least will be "cross-subsidising" SkyCity's future profits (we find this odd: a key tenet of New Zealand's particularly manly species of neoliberalism is that cross-subsidisation is a Bad Thing and consumers should pay the real price of whatever it is they're purchasing); and now, overlapping with the unpopular casino deal, National's Majority of One, in the person of John Banks, is under pressure to stand down for not declaring large donations from SkyCity and the "memorable"  Mr Kim Dotcom.
So how to distract an increasingly vexed public when something that really gets people in a lather is required. 
ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS! MASS ARRIVALS OF ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS!
 (Picture source: Wikimedia.org)
Illegals are different. They spit on the footpath. They don't respect our ways and they're jumping the queue.
According to Immigration Minister Nathan Guy the law needs to be changed to allow for the mass (11 people) detention of illegal asylum seekers because the 10 Chinese nationals who made it to (ahem) Darwin shows New Zealand is a target for dangerous and illegal mass arrivals by boat. (Those of you paying attention would have noticed that 10 - the number of Chinese - is smaller than 11 - the number that will constitute a mass immigration.)
While you think about that, here's a map to assist:
The first thing to note is that it is approximately 5,800 kilometres by sea from Darwin to Auckland. To get around Australia and to New Zealand our hapless boat people have to squeeze through a narrow gap between Australia and Papua New Guinea, and then hope they don't crash into any islands along the Queensland coast as they make their dangerous and illegal way to our fair shores. 
Not to be deterred by simple geography, the Minister goes on:
"We had concerns back in 2010 that we could be a destination sought by some...by some I mean a large number on something like a steel hulled vessel that made it 13,000 kilometers all the way across to Canada..."
The Minister then admits that New Zealand has never had such an invasion, and that once arrested under the proposed mass warrant, the government has no idea where to put the detainees anyway but the point is it's dangerous and illegal and National really needs a distraction.
Good luck with that.
As an aside, the pattern overseas has been for private prisons to keep themselves filled up by lobbying for tougher immigration laws. So, for example, Australia has been tough on asylum seekers for about the same length of time its mass detention centres have been privately run. We are privatising our prison system as fast as Judith Collins can sign the papers. What a shame we're unlikely to get boatloads of people washing up on Ninety Mile Beach to fill them.
So, to end, here's a picture of some Villawood detainees enjoying an evening pop concert put on by their concerned private detention centre providers.