You are here:  Home  >  Bloggers  >  Latifa Daud  >  Current Article

The struggle to make different ok

By   /  February 23, 2016  /  5 Comments

TDB recommends Voyager - Unlimited internet @home as fast as you can get

Two weeks ago the story broke about a mathematics professor who was denied residency in New Zealand because his stepson has autism.

    Print       Email


Two weeks ago the story broke about a mathematics professor who was denied residency in New Zealand because his stepson has autism.

I know I am a bit late to the party on this issue but at the end of the day this is part of an on-going struggle for acceptance from anyone in this country with any kind of difference.

According to the NZ Herald, Immigration New Zealand said, “We have declined your application for residence because Peter does not meet the health requirements to be granted residence in New Zealand and is not eligible for a medical waiver.”

You can’t get any more blatant than that. While it makes it even more shocking that Professor Dimitri Leemans is an academic, at the end of the day it shouldn’t really matter. Anyone who wants to make New Zealand their home and make a valuable contribution, which Mr Leemans was clearly doing, should be allowed to do so.

Mr Leeman’s response was absolutely on point: “It is already hard to have a disabled child but it is even harder when you live abroad because you don’t have the family to support you and then it is even harder when you see you are not welcome with your child in the country where you live.”

Being a migrant is difficult. It’s not done unless you genuinely feel the need to leave everything you know in hope for something better. But we did the opposite of make things better, which is heartbreaking.

Want to support this work? Donate today
Follow us on Twitter & Facebook
    Print       Email


  1. Chooky says:

    I do hope the family can stay. Where the parents are such an obvious asset to New Zealand society ( far more than someone with just mere money assets) surely this outweighs any relatively small state care costs for their son.

    …and who knows autism may be able to be alleviated in the future

    many people are on the autism spectrum and some are very gifted and able in narrow fields

    In Norway an Iraq geologist with a handicapped son was given residency ….and he made a huge eventual contribution to Norway …If he had been rejected because of his handicapped son, Norway would have been the loser. New Zealand must be flexible on this.


  2. Andrew says:

    We don’t want people with Autism here!

    You know, folk like Einstein, Isaac Newton and Mozart…


  3. Nick J says:

    We will be poorer without him. I read this morning about the GP who cannot find another GP to help in his Tokoroa practice. So many times I have sat with taxi drivers who tell me they are surgeons, engineers etc but that NZ wont let them practice unless they “retrain”, and even then they don’t get hired.

    We are becoming a poorer country through our impoverished policies and attitudes. A man who loves his handicapped child and who helps others learn is as good an immigrant as we need.

    • Andrew says:

      I recall from about ten years ago an Indian immigrant who was an Edinburgh trained surgeon working on the veggie counter at Countdown because he couldn’t practise in NZ. His wife was a similarly educated anaesthetist.

      They did their menial job in NZ long enough to get access into Aussie and moved. They were reportedly working in their chosen profession within 2 weeks of arrival in Queensland.

  4. Mike in Auckland says:

    I have long ago given up any hope that this country will soon again be an “egalitarian”, “fair” and “just” society, it may never have been that in the first place, but all I hear and read confirms to me, we are sold endless BS, and I experienced enough of it myself.

    New Zealand immigration favours “fit” persons, that can deliver work, business and/or investment (money), and those not fitting that requirement are somehow sooner or later told to bugger off, or to not bother from the very beginning.

    Only if a case is spread out in the media does Immigration NZ and the government of the day reconsider some individual cases “on their merit”. But even that does often not work, as people have become numb of individual fates and their fall-out.

    What now rules most of New Zealander’s minds are ME, I, MY WANT, MY NEED and WHAT CAN I GET OUT OF IT, little else.

    Yes, some still offer support and also make donations, but I heard that this is decreasing, whether it is about the lot of refugees from Syria, about people with some serious illness or whatever else the story.

    Thanks for that “brighter future”, John BS Key.

You might also like...

The Daily Blog Open Mic – Sunday 16th June 2019

Read More →