Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Vol. 37, No 21. August 28, 1974
Prime Minister, Wellington, New Zealand. 8 August 1974
8 August 1974.
Dear Mr Shaw,
I have received your letter of 29 July and your telegram of the same date about Malaysian students and related matters.
I have no intention of answering the sort of catechism with which you ended your letter. Nor do I accept the implication you presumably intended to convey by using the word "irresponsible" in your telegram. Indeed it seems necessary to suggest to you that you should consider more carefully not only the nature of your messages to me but also some of the other material about the topic of Malaysian students for which I assume you would claim a degree of responsibility.
I do not intend to enter into any further argument with you about the allegations of "spying" which you have made against the Malaysian High Commission. The Government is quite able to make its own assessments of this sort of thing and to reach properly balanced conclusions as to action that may or may not need to be taken.
I was surprised to read in your letter that NZUSA did not know why completion of a three-year university or technical institute course should be one of the conditions attaching to applications by overseas students to be allowed to stay in New Zealand. I am informed that NZUSA was represented at the meetings of interested parties when this and other aspects of New Zealand's immigration policy were formulated. I would have expected NZUSA to raise any points it wished when it had the opportunity to do so.
Concerning the cases you refer to in which permanent residence has not been granted to two overseas students, the Government cannot commit itself to do more than favourably consider such applications. The extent to which an individual may face persecution on his return home is of course a highly relevant consideration which requires to be carefully assessed. The Government believes itself to be in a position to make that assessment.
In all the circumstances I do not now propose to receive the delegation about which you have approached me. The situation has changed considerably since the approach was first made. In my view, there need be little room for complaint in future provided all concerned act with moderation and good sense and with the best interests of Malaysian students as the sole criterion by which they would want their actions to be judged.
(Sgd) Norman Kirk.