MEDIA WATCH: Who knew Rachel Smalley hates Indian Students so much?


Did this column make you go huh?

Rachel Smalley: Indian students need to go

The nine Indian students who are facing deportation for visa fraud and are living temporarily in a Church in the Auckland suburb of Ponsonby.

What a position they’re in, and what a position Immigration New Zealand is in, too, writes Rachel Smalley.

The students signed their visa applications and in doing so, they signed fraudulent documents filled out by their agents. They paid those agents in India to help them to apply for a New Zealand visa, and it is the agents – they say – who are at fault here.

…all good so far right? Pretty standard appraisal of the position these students find themselves in, but then it kinda all goes off the rails pretty quick…

Not so. It is they who are at fault and whether it’s knowingly or unknowingly, the students have committed fraud.

…whoa, what? These students have been duped by a corrupt visa system that the Government knows about and benefits from, but according to Rachel, it’s all the students fault?

It then goes into this weird self involved tangent to justify why she blames the students…

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I have been through a similar process. I married a South African in London and when our son was one, we moved to New Zealand.

It was all quite sudden. I had a week until I was on-air hosting Nightline on TV3 and I was trying to find somewhere to live, so I employed an agent to look after my husband’s visa.

You have to jump through a lot of hoops to get a resident’s visa… in our case, we had to prove our marriage wasn’t a sham, both of us needed police checks from the British Police and in my husband’s case, from South Africa too. He needed full medicals, authenticated birth certificates, proof that we’d lived together for some time… you name it, we needed it. And that’s why I used an agent.

And when we came to sign that final application, it stated very clearly that a signature was verification that everything in that application true and correct. It doesn’t matter if you’ve used an agent – it is you, the applicant, who is liable if anything is incorrect. And I remember spending a lot of time going through that visa application because if Immigration New Zealand finds something wrong with it, you can find yourself on pretty shaky ground.

…so as a privileged middle class professional white woman, Rachel was a bit put out by all the stresses in her jet setting life and had to really check the forms she was signing?

Ummmm. Ok Rach, but that doesn’t equate to dumping on these students who have been tricked.

Not according to Rachel…

So while I have some compassion for the plight of these students, the law is the law. Their applications are fraudulent. They cannot be allowed to stay in this country. Imagine the precedent that would set? They can leave the country by their own free will, or be forcefully deported. If police have to enter that church and forcefully deport them, then so be it.

…and just when this couldn’t get any more charmless and graceless, Rachel decides to have a go at the Church for helping these students?

And I also question the role of the Church in this. The Unitarian Church. These nine students are not asylum seekers. They are not going to face political or religious persecution if they return to India. Their lives are not at risk so quite why the Church has stepped in here is a little baffling. The Church is sheltering illegal immigrants who have committed fraud. That is not the role of The Church. That is not, in my opinion, God’s work.

…I don’t even  know where to begin with this.  The church is showing this thing called ‘compassion’ Rachel, it seems to be a word and concept you have almost zero understanding of.

The cherry on this shit cake is her final words…

Police, in the end, will likely have to forcefully deport them. I suspect they’ll do it at night when the TV cameras and the media aren’t around – but that is the only acceptable outcome in this. There is no other option but deportation.

…wow. Just. Wow.

Look we can all agree that the visa scams that are operating out of India are a disgrace and we need to close this loophole that promises citizenship if you get a work visa or student visa here. The international education sector is an unregulated wild west that has kept real scrutiny and regulation at bay and is part of the governments open immigration policy to keep the property bubble afloat.

We can acknowledge all of that AND STILL have some compassion for the position these scammed Indian Students find themselves in and we should call to have a stay of deportation and do all we can to help and assist these guys WHILE closing down the loopholes that exploited them.

Taking ones own middle classed privilege and then using that as a cookie-cutter for complex issues is something Mike Hosking does, it is sad to see someone who is usually far more intelligent and reasonable falling into the same trap.

Rachel Smalley is a better journalist and commentator than this.


  1. She cried when she got caught out over the heifer remarks and wanted compassion then. Even if she thought it was off air it wasn’t kind. Obviously some unkind and not compassionate thoughts.
    These young men have lost family money probably borrowed and are not allowed to complete the qualifications. It could ruin them and their families. They deserve compassion. The agents need to be stopped and international education in nz needs to be more careful.

    • Don’t be so naive!…How do we know that these guys did not know it was a scam? ( do you have proof of this?)

      ….Anyone who has lived and travelled in India for any length of time knows there are scams galore (this is a third world country)

      ….even in New Zealand there are Indians cold calling trying to get into your computer…fix it they say(when it isnt even broken)….but er no…they actually steal your passwords and bank account numbers…there are also fraudulent heavy truck licenses

      • I’m disappointed in you. You’re using the actions of a few to make a complete generalisation of everyone.
        I had thought you were a reasonable person accustomed to critical thought.
        Not so it seems.
        Who’d a thunk?

        • where were the Indian female students in this scam…none!…they were all young males

          …either Indian women are getting in legitimately or their families dont regard them as a priority for education…I suspect both ( many Indian women have a lot of problems with equality in India)

          ….do we want to be importing misogyny and male supremacy

          …while our own New Zealand youth (Maori, Pakeha and Polynesian) can not afford tertiary education or New Zealand housing

        • Its a systemic problem that no one involved is wonderful at. Just a bunch of zombies walking around feeling victimised. Once academic achievments are made there is no affordable housing, the health system is collapsing, be honest and name one thing functioning efficiently.

          New Zealand has reached peak cloths in many ways.

          The reasons why many things is coming across as radical is because we’ve become accustomed to doing bugger all. I dread the thought of a Christchurch type fire happening in the North Island because northerners arent as stoic as southerners. So Chooky is correct

  2. “They” is a subject pronoun, I believe, Rachel. Also, the word, in this instance, is “forcibly”, not “forcefully”. You will need to resign, I’m afraid. After all,the law is the law.You knew when you entered journalism school that a reasonable standard of English was expected. Don’t make a fuss, now, Rachel.This is the only acceptable outcome. I’m sure you understand.

  3. How about an investigate piece on the “institute” where the students “studied”? Who owns it? Send someone in undercover with a camera… these visa factories all need to be shut down.

  4. So, using Smalley’s perverse “logic”, all those poor buggers on “Fair Go” who’ve been ripped of have no one to blame but themselves?


    She has lived a privileged life, that much is obvious. But Smalley should be careful of her Black/White view of the world.

    Such inflexible moral rigidity often has a strange way of biting her on her backside when she least expects it.

    • 100% Frank,

      I used to have enormous respect for Rachael Smalley when she fronted the old media Q+A political programs pre/Key era but now she is running with the sharks of the right wing and has been ruined by them all now and is worthless as a human being.

    • Rachel Smalley is rather typical of our career graduate, conformist journalists, who mostly work for the MSM. There is the odd journalist who actually believes in journalistic work and investigative approaches, also learning stuff at the coal face, but such ones are the minority. Most love their well groomed appearances, have done a journo course and strive to move into the upper middle class, living in a nice villa in the “right” part of the city.

      Dinner and cocktail parties where waiters paid the minimum wage serve them, that is also part of the daily lives of our career journalists, such as Rachel. An egalitarian country needs a return to proper journalism, where they work for good public broadcasting and truly independent media, that is not bound by the interests of neoliberal capital.

  5. Smalley…we are talking about the woman who bemoaned the loss of Nick Leggett to National, and thinks Labour has ‘lurched’ to the Left and lost touch with working NZers*??
    I’m going to respectfully suggest her lack of nuanced compassion for those less well positioned as herself is not exactly out of character.

    (*well, I think Labour has lost touch with the working poor of NZ….but by being so bloody Centrist)

  6. Karma,

    Rachel’s time will come, then will be the time to celebrate the Schadenfreude.

    The decent thing to do in this case is simple, allow the students the benefit of the doubt and have them reapply, from NZ. Then appraise the application in the usual manner. Clean, easy, ethical.

  7. Smalley has a point. If your tax agent commits tax fraud and you sign the IRD return, YOU are liable for fraudulently submitting a false return. Not the agent. The same legal responsibility applies to immigration applications. Are you suggesting that we should give Indian students some leeway when signing tax returns as well? You wouldn’t give me, a privileged middle-class person that benefit.

    And don’t assume people from India and somehow more vulnerable than a someone from Smalley’s background (not sure what that is). I work with migrants from all countries and India has its fair share of crooks (alongside all the hard working honest people who also live there). The media are pretty naive in these cases, but immigration agents have heard it all before (I know a few of them as well). It’s a hard job.

    • @Cosmic – well that’s the excuse anyway.
      But if you are an Indian, a lawyer, a consultant, or some1 you pay to act on your behalf, they are all regarded as ‘advocates’. In a position of trust.

      IF I go to a lawyer in NZ and pay him to act on my behalf, I take his/her advice. On aspects of law, or whatever their area of expertise, I don’t presume to have a greater knowledge than they do – otherwise I’d simply represent myself.

      She does not have a point. She acts from a position of cultural ignorance, and it’s that same cultural position that lawyers, consultants, charlatans, and various other arseholes (with Kiwi citizenship, or at least PR) are taking advantage of for monetary gain.

    • +100 COSMICRAY…Smalley does have a point!…and in my opinion she has been shabbily treated with full critical and photo exposure by this Post!

      …interesting that none of these students were female…maybe the female would-be students went through legitimate channels?

      …and/or maybe their families don’t regard education for women a priority?

      …apparently radio talkback in India has not given these male students much support or sympathy for the scam of which they are supposed victims

  8. Unfortunately @ Martyn, she seems to have been able to fool even cynical you that she is indeed a journalist.
    But yeah, but nah.
    She’s actually about as deep as a puddle on an Auckland sidewalk.

  9. Having some experience with NZ Immigration, I think that Rachel is a bit premature and biased in her assessment and conclusions. While I do not rule out that some of the students knew well of the risks they took with the agents back home, there is NO sufficient proof, they willingly and knowingly acted themselves in a dishonest or even fraudulent manner. They may have trusted, given some the benefit of the doubt, but they were caught out and ended up at the wrong end of the immigration system.

    Immigration NZ will get them out of NZ, that is certain, I know they will do it one way or another, as this is about setting an example and sending a signal to India and prospective students. They will not give any mercy here, as that would in their view send a “wrong” signal to the students wanting to come here, and their agents.

    And the BS comments they make to the remaining students, to better leave voluntarily, as then they can re-apply, they are just that, total BS, as they will NEVER be allowed back anyway, an application will only result in the old data coming up in the system, and them being denied re-entry full stop.

    So the students may as well choose deportation, as then the tax payer, the government will foot the bill, although they may demand it back from the Indian government, and/or the families of the students or so.

    This is all done and dusted, the support offered by people at the church and outside, that must be appreciated, but they will know themselves, what the realities are, and that there is NO chance to help these students stay.

    Again we have Immigration NZ play BS and hard line, while in other situations they will be lenient, where it is deemed to be convenient. They want to clean up the Indian student business, and that is what it is, a big BUSINESS, and so they want to set a signal, these Indians are the pawns or prey in the game.

    Immigration in NZ is HUGE business, and so the whole business will continue, with some problems and issues, with some being denied visas and deported. NZ Inc under this government wants to keep the immigrants coming, that is fact, as that is facilitating them to “manage” the neoliberal economic system here, keep wages and salaries down, offer jobs to desperate, who would do anything to get entry, and to offer employers the slave labour for minimum wages they so desire.

    I have first hand experience and information with foreign students, and they are actually only attracted to come and do these sometimes bizarre courses here, at private institutes and also the publicly funded tertiary ones, with a clear promise that this will give them so many POINTS in the system, and an automatic two year work visa following the graduation.

    This is what most ordinary Kiwis are totally ignorant about, and our shit media do not tell us the truth either, they are complicit in the game. New Zealand is a cheap sell out country now, where anything goes to make a living and profit, these students ended up between the frictions of the machinery, they are losing out, others will continue to be attracted, welcomed and signed up to pay ten to fifteen thousand in fees just to do a course a year, and with that buy into the system, with first temporary work visa up to twenty hours a week, then with full time work visa for two years.

    All this info I got first hand from one such overseas student, and he is desperate and will do ALL to get any job here, to stay, and get his family here. This is the fucking truth about our immigration gains and the “growth” we are told about by this treacherous government, where the PM and others should be put before a court for something similar to high treason.

    They sell out their own fellow citizens, condemned to low wages, to unemployment and social issues and suffering, including homelessness, as long as this immigration racket goes on.

    “Post Study Work Visa (Open)

    The Post Study Work Visa (Open) allows you to find a job that is relevant to your qualification. It’s valid for 12 months, and during this time you can work for almost any employer in New Zealand. After you have found a job relevant to your qualification you can apply for a Post Study Work Visa (Employer Assisted).”

    “Post Study Work Visa (Employer Assisted)

    The Post Study Work Visa (Employer Assisted) allows you to stay in New Zealand and work for a specific employer for a further two years, if your job is relevant to your qualification. To be granted a visa, you must hold a Post Study Work Visa – Open or apply no later than 3 months after the end date of your student visa (no later than 6 months if the qualification was a Doctoral Degree).

    Post Study Work Visa (Employer Assisted)
    Staying permanently

    After your Post Study Work Visa (Employer Assisted) you may qualify for a New Zealand resident visa under the Skilled Migrant Category. This visa uses a points system based on factors such as age, work experience, your qualifications, and an offer of skilled employment to determine eligibility.”

    Those who end up here and stay working, they will not get welfare support for at least two years, even if qualifying for PR, they are easy prey, and often victims, to exploiting employers, who of course love these new migrants, who are so “willing” to do almost anything to “prove their worth”.

    That leaves more and more Kiwis at the bottom and out of work, with little hope, as they may not have the funds to access training and higher education, so remain second or third class in their own country.

    This is FACT, my friends, this is the shit this government serves us up, and Labour have not even got much of an opinion, let alone policy on all this.

    Fuck NZ, I say, with such easy access, open exploitation, residency and citizenship for sale, this is a country of endless “prostitution” of values, and work, nothing else.

  10. “The international education sector is an unregulated wild west that has kept real scrutiny and regulation at bay and is part of the governments open immigration policy to keep the property bubble afloat.”

    Say that again!

  11. Rachel overlooks the fact that whilst English is her first language, it isn’t for these Indian men.
    When you are trying to conduct affairs in a second language and your agent turns around and s…ts on you, how is it your fault?
    Rachel looks at things from her apathetic comfortable middle-class perspective so can’t see any problems, because the problems are always someone else’s.

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