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How Tonga Aids New Zealand

Editorial, Tonga Chronicle

Editorial, Tonga Chronicle

“Over the past two weeks we have had very disturbing reports on islanders, particularly Tongans, who have appeared in courts for either failing to produce their passports or over-
their temporary permits in New Zealand. This followed a series of dawn raids by
police and immigration officials to find Pacific Islanders who are in New Zealand illegally.

Only last week also, the New Zealand Minister of Immigration, Mr Fraser Colman, ordered a halt to these raids and said that such actions were ‘alien to the New Zealand way of life’ and he believes that ‘these so-called dawn raids do no reflect credit on anyone’.

On the other hand, I feel that New Zealand, in attempting to create a favourable image in the eyes of her Pacific neighbours, and the world at large, may be unconsciously encouraging ‘overstayers’ to continue breaking the law. And I refer here to the law of a
country that is offering economic assistance of a tremendous proportion to Tonga, and which laws we in Tonga should respect.

I'm sure that no-one is much more aware of our precarious economic position and the fact that much of the village developments are credited to New Zealand earned money, than the New Zealanders themselves. If this is so, then I feel we can only show our appreciation in the simplest manner, i.e. respect of the laws of the country to which we are

Admittedly, many find the three months permit far too short to accumulate a sizeable fund to be of any use and make the trip to New Zealand worthwhile. Neverthe-
, there are those who arrive in New Zealand with a three month permit and straight away make a genuine attempt to legally extend the permit to six months. Those who page 17 have participated in the Government's six month work scheme must vouch for the fact that in six months, one can return to Tonga with enough in his pockets to be able to do something worthwhile in Tonga. It will involve a certain amount of discipline, but would be necessary if one has a firm objective.

But I contend that the majority upon arriving in New Zealand and suddenly finding himself in the middle of the bright lights, the lure of the big city and all the good things of life never experienced before, plus of course handling a large sum of money for the first time, there are many things forgotten. Among these are the fact that a family re-
at home and the reason for going to New Zealand was perhaps to work and get some
money to build a house in Tonga. These ideals are all forgotten with the result that the law is broken, the family is forgotten and New Zealand has to create a favourable image to make it easier for the law breakers.

It is time that we seriously take a loot at the situation and correct it from this end, from Tonga itself and by Tongans, and who knows, New Zealand might abolish the three months visa altogether, and create another uproar in the Pacific. Are we not perhaps relying too much on New Zealand sympathy?