Overstayers need community solutions - Labour

The Labour Party is calling on the Government to get involved in the overstayer problem and liaise with community leaders to look for solutions.

The overstayer issue has been highlighted by an alleged scam in which Pacific Island people were sold fake visas.

Police have charged the scheme's organiser, Gerard Otimi, with three counts of deception.

New Zealand has about 16,000 overstayers, of which a third are from Samoa and Tonga.

Labour's Pacific Island affairs spokeswoman, Luamanuvao Winnie Laban, said today it was time for the Government to do something about it.

"The recent visa scam highlighted the desperation of many in the Pacific community, as have recent submissions to Parliament's foreign affairs and defence select committee which is inquiring into New Zealand's relationship with the Pacific," she said.

"The committee has been told hundreds of children are not attending school because their parents are in the country illegally and that many are also not seeking the health care they need."

Ms Laban said Pacific Island Affairs Minister Georgina te Heuheu, and her ministry, should begin organising meetings with the Pacific community and church leaders to discuss ways to tackle the problem.

"The minister's silence has been deafening and it's time she stepped up," Ms Laban said.

Immigration Minister Jonathan Coleman was questioned about overstayers during a select committee hearing last week.

He said the Government was not considering an amnesty for overstayers because amnesties did not work in the long term.

Dr Coleman said there was an amnesty in 2000, when there were 20,700 overstayers, and only 5000 took the opportunity.

"But 18 months later the numbers of overstayers in total had actually exceeded the numbers pre-amnesty," he told the committee.

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11 Comments & Questions

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Goff is correct, the 'Overstayers' do need a community solution;-
it is called DEPORTATION, and punishment of the protectors and those 'shelterering' these people.

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My subject title define who you are and what this country is.........YOU SHOULD CONSIDER YOURSELF ILLEGAL MIGRANT SINCE THIS COUNTRY SHOULD BE RUN BY MAORI PEOPLE NOT SOME WHITE TRASH.............

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One cannot argue with Bob. Problems related to health,education etc. are consequences of illegal action. It is not a matter for the wider community. This view is obviously that of Mr.Goff whose party was in government for the last 9 years during which it did nothing in this regard.

Ms.Laban is correct in stating that government should act. It should apply the legal remedy in regard to all overstayers

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Goffs lot created the problem to buy votes and keep his dopey face in our face.

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Not that averse if they have a job and pay taxes, maybe we could deport someone on welfare instead starting with the one who has been on welfare the longest. I wonder how long the dole queue would be then.

Alterntatively, there could be a bond imposed on "visitors" who cant prove existing employment from suspect countries. The bond would be refunded when the "visitor" leaves, if not it could be turned over to bounty hunters to hunt them down. That would spawn a whole new industry and create more jobs.

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Overstayers need an Amenesty, they need all the help and this is a help the govenment of the day can give them.

I know when this Amenesty is given,heaps of overstayers will apply for it. This will legalise their staus in the counrty, without any other agument.

Thanks.

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Will be there any amnesty for overstayers....

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Overstayers need an Amenesty, they need all the help and this is a help the govenment of the day can give them.

I know when this Amenesty is given,heaps of overstayers will apply for it. This will legalise their staus in the counrty, without any other agument.

Thanks.

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i have seen decent families overstaying because of genuine reasons having with them NZ citizen children these people definitely need help minister of immigration should feel it like a human being and should sort out people in need of real help

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Most of the over stayers have nothing to offer to this beautiful country and not all but many pacific islanders who is here legally are already involved with organised crime esp. in auckland or could be sitting on some kind of benefit, so whats the point letting more stay? Deport who ever is staying here illegaly.Put all their photos on TV and Newspapers so someone can identify them and report to them INZ.

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overstayers wana have a brighter future here in nz they wana be some body or be some body which they wana succeed in there life ..........give amensty

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