Work­ers fight for the right

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - CRAIG HOYLE

Mi­grant work­ers are band­ing to­gether to stand up to the gov­ern­ment amid fears they are be­ing scape­goated for New Zealand’s prob­lems.

They dis­cussed their con­cerns at a meet­ing with ac­tivists and union rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Auck­land on Monday evening.

Sev­eral dozen peo­ple at­tended the event, which was held at the Uni­tar­ian Church in Pon­sonby.

The Uni­tar­i­ans made na­tional head­lines in Fe­bru­ary when they of­fered sanc­tu­ary to In­dian stu­dents who faced de­por­ta­tion from New Zealand.

Many of those at Monday’s meet­ing were up­set by the gov­ern­ment’s re­cent an­nounce­ment of an im­mi­gra­tion crack­down.

Im­mi­gra­tion min­is­ter Michael Wood­house claimed the changes would tackle both the num­ber and qual­ity of mi­grants com­ing here for work, but that was dis­missed by Sunny Se­h­gal of the Mi­grant Work­ers As­so­ci­a­tion.

‘‘I think it’s just a sham,’’ Se­h­gal said.

Oth­ers at the meet­ing de­scribed how mi­grant work­ers were left dis­tressed and cry­ing to find that un­der the new rules, they no longer had the pathway to res­i­dency they had been promised.

‘‘The gov­ern­ment changes to the im­mi­gra­tion rules are cre­at­ing a great deal of mis­ery for many work­ers and stu­dents in this coun­try from over­seas,’’ said Mike Treen, na­tional di­rec­tor of Unite Union.

Unite Union’s Shirley Wang said many mi­grant work­ers had sac­ri­ficed every­thing for a chance at a new life in New Zealand for their chil­dren, and had noth­ing to go back to.

‘‘I think it's just a sham.’’

JASON DORDAY/FAIR­FAX NZ

Sev­eral dozen peo­ple gath­ered at the Uni­tar­ian church in Pon­sonby.

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