By 2015/2016 Immigration New Zealand (INZ) only had the capacity to investigate a third of immigration fraud and migrant exploitation cases that met its criteria.
But in 2016/17 that number plunged to just 18 percent after the number of reported cases almost doubled.
Yeah Immigration NZ just did not have the money to do it’s job properly.
Not only were Immigration staff buckling under the pressure but our visa system lacked integrity.
Under National an increasing large number of people could overstay for ten years or more by rolling over their temporary visas and there was simply not enough money to monitor them…let alone the employers exploiting migrant workers.
Not many – not based on a single lonely article here or there.
And should we be surprised that there are process issues embedded in severely underfunded government departments?
No we should expect that.
But we are barely conscious of these details when our lives are so full of paying our own bills – our personal ambitions, relationships and work to be done.
Unlike the case of Karel Sroubek that dominated daily headlines from mid October through until December 24 2018 – the far bigger issues of inheriting rampant immigration fraud and migrant exploitation ( which had far greater impacts upon New Zealand as a nation ) was forgotten by our story loving media.
Nobody showed us the numbers.
Nobody reviewed the progress.
Not a word was spoken – the media bells all were broken.
Budget 2018 added $34 Million to tighten up our Visa screening services…and at last we got more staff on the job ( 29 ) – but that was just not sensational at all.
It deserved only a single article.
But the Karel Sroubek case involved importing MDMA, and witnessing a murder and the possibility that someone better behaved had been booted out – plus – the PM could be dragged into it.
This was like throwing a bucket of bonito guts to frenzied sharks.
PM Ardern had told us all that this was a rare case – only about 40 per year pop up where a Minister has to make a decision based on the information the Minister is both given and directed to focus upon by immigration officials.
She also told us to read between the lines – a remark concerning the decision of Judge Wade who reckoned Sroubek’s life would be in danger if he returned home.
Our media speculated wildly about PM Ardern’s remark that extradition deals might be done between states etc…and there was more to things …like in a 007 thriller.
This media speculation in the barren factless deserts of their own imaginations – when proven to be wrong – was turned upon the PM by chortling opinion writers like Barry and Hosking and other slime balls like Tova.
My eyes rolled at the twerps thinking they were suddenly invested with superior intelligence.
The attacks were enjoyed by everyone who never saw the strawman right before them …and of course I said nothing as I listened to self proclaimed experts prove they were morons.
It was perfect fodder for NZME audiences – our right wing judges and juries fixed to their couches and car radios –
lapped it up during breakfast and drive for a good six weeks.
So Sroubek had imported MDMA and was in prison serving 5 years – had been assessed as a low risk of reoffending – and blah de blah – while thousands of cases of migration fraud and exploitation were not investigated due to National’s relentless underfunding?
Thats our opinion based media for you.
Their mountains are made from molehills.
The real mountains are not even mentioned.
Apparently there have only been 3 MDMA related deaths in New Zealand but far more – were hospitalised from the shitty chemicals added to pills claiming to be MDMA.
Yeah – according to the Spinoff – we test pills at festivals ( know your stuff ) and as a result avoid the much greater number of fatalities that Australia suffers – due to it’s harsh crack down approach etc etc
Overall MDMA is not the most dangerous of drugs – and when compared to alcohol related deaths – it is a virtual saint playing an ecstatic harp in an immortal choir.
We’ve all heard these comparisons.
Had National really achieved anything at all by having Michael Woodhouse and Mark Mitchell pontificate about Sroubek to the baying press for six weeks?
Maybe the media waters were chopped up and they were able to move on from the Jami-Lee revelations?
But what good did National actually do for New Zealand?
Derek Cheng reported twice in the last week before Christmas – that OIA released information proved that a crucial email was missing from the file – that would have alerted Iain Lees-Galloway about Sroubek’s return home.
Oh Woodhouse said Lees-Galloway should have gone fishing for more information after this – and smack me down – Lees-Galloway said he did pursue this and was told by the underfunded immigration officials that no such information could be provided.
There you have it.
Tova O’Brien went off her nut – claiming that all this showed was a lack of transparency – when in fact it showed that Lees-Galloway was exonerated and a faulty process was to blame.
The Standard called her out loud and clear about this on Christmas Eve.
The PM had called it correctly – if you read between the lines – National had underfunded Immigration for years and there were much bigger problems still to improve…but this whole Sroubek molehill boiled down to a process error by immigration officials – not an error by the Minister.
The media awarded National points for this – ironically.
The usual suspects – Audrey, Barry, Duplicity, Hosking and of course the methylated lizard of knobs.
National could talk about nothing else – certainly not Maggie’s bullying – and they had moved on from Jami-Lee.
Who can forget Pullya frothing at the chops for Lees-Galloway to resign …in her dog whistling and hypocritical style…..and all the morons who still have not even caught up with the facts.
Yes – it’s all around us – the dumb fuckery.
Soon National and its trained media will be barking endless speculations about tax in the weeks leading up to the Tax Working Group making it’s recommendations in February.
Meanwhile the improvements being made to immigration visa screening and migrant exploitation will go unreported.
Gerard Otto is an activist and writer