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Salient: An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 12, No. 2, March 16th, 1949.

Nationality and Aliens

Nationality and Aliens

We in New Zealand have heard much in our press condemning what the papers are pleased to call "police states." To those who have made any study of the rise of fascism in Germany in the 1930's, the sight of a coming Dictator trying to hide his own actions under a newspaper barrage of his opponent's so-called misdeeds, is not unfamiliar. Therefore it is with some grave concern that we view the passing of two particularly interesting but dangerous Acts which were passed during the last session of Parliament, i.e., The British Nationality and New Zealand Citizenship Act. 1948. and the Aliens Act. 1948.

Scope . . .

Section 23 (3) of the former gives the Minister of Internal Affairs the power by order "to deprive any New-Zealand citizen who is a naturalised person of his New Zealand citizenship if he is satisfied that that person has shown himself by acts or speech to be disloyal or disaffected towards His Majesty." It becomes abundantly clear that this provision grants the Minister powers which formerly no court of law possessed. It is unique among the statutes of any British country. For the purposes of the Aliens Act, the person so deprived of his citizenship thus becomes an alien. The Aliens Act contains provisions even more sweeping and gives the Minister in Charge of Police blanket powers to "order any allen to leave New Zealand if he is satisfied that it is not conducive, to the public good that the allen should remain in New Zealand." There is no appeal to the court against such an order and the alien must leave the country within 28 days. Section 15 (1) goes on to state that when the Minister has ordered any alien to leave New Zealand he may, if he thinks such a course necessary "authorise the arrest of that alien and his deportation from New Zealand on a ship or aircraft specified by the Minister and about to leave New Zealand and thereupon any constable may without warrant arrest that allen and place him on board that ship or aircraft, and detain him until the ship or aircraft has left New Zealand." (2) When any alien ordered to leave New Zealand has been so arrested he may, pending his deportation from New Zealand, be detained in such custody as the Minister may direct.

This type of legislation is repugnant to the democratic traditions of this country, and the sooner the offending sections of these Acts are removed from the statute books the better.

. . . Protests

In a meeting held December 9 last year the Students' Association Executive decided to protest to the Minister. As many members of the students Association are New Zealand citizens by naturalisation, it was the duty of the Exec, to protest. In its statement the Exec, stated that they recognised that people of foreign birth, many of whom were refugees from persecution overseas, have contributed and are contributing a great deal through their knowledge and culture to the welfare and progress of New Zealand and particularly of the university. They considered that if the principle of fair trial in a court of law is right for British-born people, then it is also right for foreign-born people. Therefore if any person is accused or suspected of being "disloyal or disaffected towards His Majesty" that person should be entitled to a fair trial by the ordinary process of law, whether he be British-born or not. It should require some evidence more substantial than the opinion of the Minister to condemn a person to suffer such penalties as loss of citizenship or deportation.