9. Shouldn’t we give priority to immigrants from cultures most similar to ours?

9. Shouldn’t we give priority to immigrants from cultures most similar to ours?

Answer

Aotearoa New Zealand is a multicultural society founded on a bicultural treaty between tangata whenua and later arrivals. Initially those arrivals were British settlers but over the decades they now originate from all over the globe – meaning we’re one of the most culturally diverse nations on earth, a rich cultural diversity that we are proud of. 

In addition New Zealand has formal obligations to the citizens of a number of Pasifika nations and migrant inflows from them have contributed to the richness of New Zealand society. Insofar as immigration policy is concerned then, and over and above these traditional commitments, New Zealand has no cultural preference in its immigration targeting apart from English proficiency being worth points for some immigrant categories. And neither it should – we are citizens of the world, and cultural tolerance and diversity is the bedrock of contemporary Aotearoa New Zealand. The Opportunities Party strongly endorses this commitment.

Having said this, provision of social services such as health, welfare assistance and education are far more effective if done in a way empathetic with the recipient’s culture. We have heard a lot of the difficulties in this area with providing Maori and Pasifika with such services effectively. It is no less of a challenge with citizens of other cultures. It’s a mere fact of life then that the greater the multiplicity of cultures in a society, the more expensive and difficult it is to provide these opportunities to everyone equitably.