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November 2002, Volume 9, Number 11

New Zealand, Australia

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters wants to restrict immigration to New Zealand and tighten asylum processing. In October 2002, Peters accused the Labour Government's immigration policy as "ethnic engineering," as immigrants changed "the face and structure of New Zealand society by stealth." He asked: "Why are we changing the ethnic base without consultation with New Zealand people?"

The government responded that only two immigration categories required entrants to come from a particular country - the Samoan quota of 1,100 people a year, and the Pacific access category which replaced work schemes for people from Kiribati, Tuvalu and Tonga. Kiribati, independent since 1979, has 95,000 residents, and the population is growing 2.3 percent a year; it is one of the poorest countries in the Pacific. Most income is remittances from migrant workers, especially seamen on the world's ships and miners working in Nauru.

When Peters was deputy prime minister in a previous government, the National Party-led coalition government approved the Immigration Act of 1999, which includes a provision that says persons applying for asylum may not be removed or deported from New Zealand until UN convention procedures have been followed; about 20 percent of asylum applicants receive refugee status.

The New Zealand Refugee Status Appeal Authority reported that the number of appeals increased to 1,277 in the FY01-02 ending June 30, 2002. Thais were most likely to appeal; 24 percent of the appeals were filed by Thais, followed by one percent for Indians.

Data. New Zealand had 3.9 million residents in June 2001, and is projected to have 4.8 million by 2051. With net migration of 20,000 a year, the median age will be 43 in 2051; with zero migration, the median age would be 46.

Statistics New Zealand reported that fewer Kiwis were moving to Australia: 12,800 permanent or long-term New Zealanders moved to Australia in the year to September 2002, compared with 28,400 to September 2001.

There was a net influx to New Zealand of 37,100 migrants in the year to September 2002; the leading countries of origin were China (14,600); India (6,500); the United Kingdom (5,900); South Africa (3,100); Japan (2300); Fiji (2,200); and South Korea (2,000).

Tourism. New Zealnd, a 12-hour flight from Tokyo or Los Angeles, is attracting more tourists because its isolation is contributing to the perception that it is safe. The profile of New Zealand was raised by the filming of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and by New Zealand's tenacious hold on the America's Cup yacht races. New Zealand has about four million people, and 120 million sheep.

Australia. After the October 2002 Bali bombings, the Howard government began a wide-ranging security review of all agencies, increasing to 1.1 million the number of names on the Document Alert List that is used to check incoming visitors.

The Labor party accused the Australian government of not doing enough for foreigners granted three-year temporary protection visas. Under a government proposal, those with TPS would have to satisfy the same eligibility requirements as recipients of the Newstart allowance for immigrants, which require recipients to work to get welfare support. Labor's complaint is that TPS foreigners are not eligible for English-language training and other job-search support services that are offered to refugees re-settled from abroad.

Megan Saunders, "Migrants, visas under suspicion," The Australian, October 19, 2002. Cynthia Banham, "Job burden for asylum seekers," Sydney Morning Herald, October 18, 2002. "No new asylum seekers for Manus Island: PNG," Australian Broadcasting Corporation, October 12, 2002.