The Dim-Post

November 12, 2015

Disorder in the House

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 7:40 am

I think there are a few things driving the events in Parliament over the last few days:

  • Labour is ‘moving to the centre’, and we often see politics become nasty when parties fight for centrist votes because they’re not battling over ideology or policy, but rather voter perceptions of the parties and their leaders. So our politics may continue to be very nasty until the election
  • The Speaker is terrible at his job. I don’t just mean that he’s biased – Labour’s last Speaker Margaret Wilson was biased, but Wilson was also a trained lawyer and a Professor of Law and she (mostly) applied her bias through deft application of the Standing Orders. Carter doesn’t have the wit for that, and he applies his bias through changing the rules every few minutes depending on who is speaking and throwing opposition MPs out of the House whenever they challenge him on it, and by childish tricks like pretending not to hear offensive statements from National MPs, which is less than convincing when he’s just been roaring with laughter at them.
  • Carter also seems to have a big problem with women MPs. He’s generally happy to engage in debates over Points of Order with people like Chris Hipkins and James Shaw, but Metiria Turei or Jacinda Ardern, say, tend to get snapped at and silenced within a few seconds of rising to their feet.
  • Not everything in politics has to be strategic. MPs who have been the victims of sexual assault and who have worked as advocates for the victims of assault are going to be pretty angry at being accused of ‘backing rapists’ (especially now we know that the Prime Minister mislead the media and the House about the presence of rapists and murderers among the New Zealand detainees on Christmas Island.) Like, I’m sure there are considerations that this stuff will hurt Key with female voters and maybe it will, I genuinely have no idea. But most of it is driven by people being genuinely offended by Key and his Speaker.

58 Comments »

  1. The Speaker is terrible at his job. I don’t just mean that he’s biased…

    What, Danyl – you looking to pay a visit to the Privileges Committee, too?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — November 12, 2015 @ 8:13 am

  2. Your implied offer to act as my defense pro-bono is gratefully accepted

    Comment by danylmc — November 12, 2015 @ 8:15 am

  3. Carter also seems to have a big problem with women MPs. He’s happy to engage in debates over Points of Order with people like Chris Hipkins and James Shaw, but Metiria Turei or Jacinda Ardern, say, tend to get snapped at and silenced within a few seconds of rising to their feet.

    This has been starkly evident this week in his treatment of Marama Davidson. On Tuesday he interrupted a perfectly normal question to lecture her on what a noob she was. Yesterday, she was the one expelled.

    And, as you say, if Hipkins or Shaw raise a point of order, he’s virtually benevolent.

    Comment by russell brown — November 12, 2015 @ 8:17 am

  4. Hah! I’d bring marshmallows to toast as they burn you at the stake.

    Do you care nothing for the glorious traditions and reputation of our House of Representatives?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — November 12, 2015 @ 8:19 am

  5. @Russell,

    But … but … merit! Or something.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — November 12, 2015 @ 8:20 am

  6. The sooner the arrogant Key and the inept Nats are out the better!!

    Comment by A M Thom — November 12, 2015 @ 8:35 am

  7. especially now we know that the Prime Minister misled the media and the House about the presence of rapists and murderers among the New Zealand detainees on Christmas Island

    “We” being the 5% who pore over details of corrected numbers, not the 50% who heard Key’s original lies. Mud thrown, job done.

    As for Carter, he is a lost cause. The only question is how much more damage he will do to public perceptions of Parliament, before he goes (willingly or not). It would be nice to think he will reflect and change, but given his behaviour there’s not the slightest reason to believe he will.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — November 12, 2015 @ 8:35 am

  8. And on cue …

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/73946876/john-key-absolutely-correct-to-say-labour-backs-rapists

    That’s Key in a nutshell. On the one hand, the article reports the facts (i.e. Key was wrong). On the other hand: “Key told More FM … “. Whose ruthless interviewers doubtless followed up the lie with … Taylor Swift.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — November 12, 2015 @ 8:47 am

  9. But most of it is driven by people being genuinely offended by Key and his Speaker.

    Unintended consequences.

    The Key is Weak contrivance elicited something genuinely objectionable.

    But I wouldn’t really on Key doing that every time.

    Comment by NeilM — November 12, 2015 @ 9:25 am

  10. I do wonder whether Hipkins has backed the Speaker into a corner over the “effective repetition” issue. Surely somebody in the Clerk’s office will point out that this is a road to chaos, since MPs can just endlessly adopt and repeat unparliamentary remarks from the day before.

    Comment by Trouble Man — November 12, 2015 @ 9:32 am

  11. ” he applies his bias through changing the rules every few minutes depending on who is speaking”

    What rules has he changed on the fly? The rule about having to be called-up on an offensive statement immediately was first used to protect Ron Mark. I’m sure if Carter really changed the rules on the fly to suit his needs, he would be doing it to punish NZ First considering Nationals hatred of Winston Peters

    “and by childish tricks like pretending not to hear offensive statements from National MPs”

    How do you know he’s pretending? Seriously, I can imagine its quite hard to hear what Key is saying when both sides of the house are yelling at each other and he is yelling “order”. I dare you to try to hear everything that is going on while you’re yelling at the top of your lungs. It’s easy for us to hear at home since most of the injections don’t get picked up by the mic. But Carter doesn’t have that luxury, being right in the middle of it. To fix this problem, all MPs (from all parties) should be made to no longer inject so the Speaker can better hear answers, and judge whether they are satisfactory/offensive.

    “Carter also seems to have a big problem with women MPs”

    Once again, I have to disagree here. Turei’s problem is that she quite frequently promises that she is going to raise a fresh point of order, only to immediately break that promise. Of course the Speaker is going to be more distrustful of her. At least when Hipkins tries to raise repeated points of order, he has the sense to at least pretend he’s putting a new spin on a matter.

    Comment by Cybeny — November 12, 2015 @ 9:43 am

  12. I don’t think this will help John Key’s image. There’s nothing to win.

    He can only lose voters, particularly women who have been personally affected by sexual violence. That’s a lot.

    Comment by Wurble — November 12, 2015 @ 10:21 am

  13. Labour clapped when it was announced that Little and Hitchens will be before the Privileges Committee for criticising Carter. They hope to have platform to prove their case for bias and political interference by the Speaker. Though the Speaker cannot be removed except by death or resignation.

    Comment by ianmac40 — November 12, 2015 @ 10:40 am

  14. “Hah! I’d bring marshmallows to toast as they burn you at the stake”

    The last heretic condemned to death by the Catholic Church was Cayetano Ripoll in Valencia Spain 1826.The civil authorities refused to allow him to be burnt at the stake and he was hanged instead. Supposedly the Church was miffed at this and his body was put in a barrel with flames painted on before burial.

    Comment by dukeofurl — November 12, 2015 @ 11:42 am

  15. The Privileges committee my have to order a lot of barrels…… LOL

    Comment by dukeofurl — November 12, 2015 @ 11:45 am

  16. The speaker will be looking very hard for a circuit breaker here. Getting a split decision from the privileges committee in which the National members uphold the breach and the opposition member don’t will do nothing at all to defuse the situation. It will just reinforce claims that he is partisan.

    Comment by Nick R — November 12, 2015 @ 11:59 am


  17. The last heretic condemned to death by the Catholic Church…

    The Catholic Church is nothing when compared to Parliament’s Powerful Privileges Committee!!!!!*

    (*Not actually that powerful. Can recommend to the House that someone be ordered to apologise for what he or she said, or maybe recommend fining him or her up to $1000. In theory could recommend that the House imprison a person, but let’s not get silly, shall we?)

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — November 12, 2015 @ 12:03 pm

  18. @Nick R,

    Problem is, this isn’t the Speaker’s call any more! Once it’s with the Privileges Committee, then it’s entirely in their hands what to decide and to recommend. And if the Committee lets Hipkins/Little off, then it’s open season on the Speaker … any MP will be able to go to the media and attack him (or his successor) for bias. Which would have (roughly) the same effect as Super 15 or NRL players being free to mouth off about “one-eyed refs” or “crooked calls” as and when they choose – they won’t be able to do their job (as “neutral” overseers of “the game”).

    So now that the complaint is made, National and their allies pretty much have to uphold it.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — November 12, 2015 @ 12:09 pm

  19. The last heretic condemned to death by the Catholic Church…

    The last heretic burned to death was Muath al-Kasasbeh in 2015. His death was posted on Twitter.

    Comment by unaha-closp — November 12, 2015 @ 12:15 pm

  20. ISIS is catholic now?

    Comment by Phil — November 12, 2015 @ 1:09 pm

  21. The end times are approaching.

    Comment by Hurricane — November 12, 2015 @ 1:32 pm

  22. Well based on just having listened to Question time for 11th November 2015 I can comment that Chris Hipkins is very polite to the speaker when he makes a point of order. I was bought up to believe that politeness is rewarded with politeness. but maybe that’s just me.

    I can also comment that the speaker was very indulgent of a series of supplementary questions from Metiria Turei that all began “Given that “. IIRC he only once asked her to get to the actual question.

    I’m not sure why the Greens persist on this tactic as it is so easy for National to answer simply by saying that they don’t agree with the preposition, which *is* an answer to the question, but if they really must they should get some coaching from Annette King. Jonathan Coleman generally shakes off the question by attacking the preposition but she forces a much longer answer out of him than “yes”, “no”, or “the statement isn’t correct”.

    Comment by rsmsingers — November 12, 2015 @ 1:45 pm

  23. Oh man – sublime to the ridiculous…

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/73964931/john-key-unapologetic-over-rapist-remarks-says-abuse-hurled-at-him

    Comment by Gregor W — November 12, 2015 @ 3:06 pm

  24. “Labour is ‘moving to the centre”

    That’s an interesting observation and will make the next wee while very interesting. This current conflab is great for Little as it distracts his base from this shift.

    Comment by Black Paper — November 12, 2015 @ 3:33 pm

  25. And listen to the today’s QT Question 1 after 7:30 minutes. Consistency of Speakers ruling from yesterday or Carter dances on the head of a pin. Wow! http://www.inthehouse.co.nz/

    Comment by ianmac40 — November 12, 2015 @ 3:54 pm

  26. @23 Gregor. Key is the victim here and that is his reason for not needing to apologise. Don’t ya see?

    Comment by ianmac40 — November 12, 2015 @ 3:56 pm

  27. “Like, I’m sure there are considerations that this stuff will hurt Key with female voters and maybe it will, I genuinely have no idea.”

    If last election is anything to go by, I don’t think it’ll make a difference by itself, female voters or not. Kim DotCom was right to say that Key could probably survive shooting little kittens in his garden with a shotgun.

    As least from the random people I’ve met who claimed to vote National, plenty of them weren’t impressed with National or with Key. Some were just totally confused with everything happening. But, in so many words, they were voting as they did because they still saw a National-led government as the least worst option.

    If the government’s going to change, then opposition parties and a likely candidate Prime Minister (probably Little) really need to figure out how to convince voters that there’s a real, viable alternative out there. Then they need to continue to do so in the face of the government’s below-the-belt PR machine that’s working against them. Simply pointing out the flaws of the PM and his Ministers, over and over again, probably won’t cause many people to change.

    Comment by izogi — November 12, 2015 @ 5:30 pm

  28. “Simply pointing out the flaws of the PM and his Ministers, over and over again, probably won’t cause many people to change.”

    Worked for them when they were in opposition and Clark was PM. iN FACT IT IS THE ONLY JOB OF THE OPPOSITION !

    Comment by dukeofurl — November 12, 2015 @ 5:56 pm

  29. Yeah but my point is that that’s not all they did. National also made themselves look better than Clark and her government for enough voters. People might really dislike National, but then the look at the other side and, to a point, probably still see a bickering mess.

    Comment by izogi — November 12, 2015 @ 6:02 pm

  30. Yeah but my point is that that’s not all they did. National also made themselves look better than Clark and her government for enough voters.

    Isn’t that what Little and Robertson literally spent their weekend on. Jobs, jobs, jobs (it’s the economy, stupid).

    Comment by Wurble — November 12, 2015 @ 8:45 pm

  31. Our PM gets a pretty hard time in the 1300 or so comments written up on this mess in The Guardian today. So does Mr Speaker – just how far can that Privileges Committee reach?
    Having skimmed many of these aforementioned comments (the majority of which seem to be from kiwis), I couldn’t help wondering how much of NZ has actually completely abandoned our mainstream media and now relies on websites located on the other side of the world to find out what’s going on here.

    Comment by McNulty — November 12, 2015 @ 9:07 pm

  32. Speaking of the Guardian, here is an intriguing news item that casts an interesting – if indirect – light on the issue of the rapists and murderers on Christmas Island:

    “A British citizen who has spent 50 of his 51 years in Australia, who served in the Australian army reserve, and whose partner, siblings and elderly parents are in Australia, is being held on Christmas Island facing deportation for lighting a scrub fire.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2015/nov/12/british-citizen-in-australia-for-50-of-51-years-faces-deportation-for-scrub-fire

    Comment by Higgs Boatswain — November 12, 2015 @ 10:02 pm

  33. It’s typical for our own MSM to consider it newsworthy to rattle off a list of prominent overseas outlets that have noticed lil’ old New Zealand, so I’d not be surprised if some people choose to go elsewhere instead. Unfortunately I think ‘elsewhere’ for many people now is also often places like Facebook, which is highly tuned to show people what they want to see, reinforcing existing opinions instead of challenging them.

    [Apologies if a similar comment to this comes through twice. For some reason my first one didn’t get in.]

    Comment by izogi — November 12, 2015 @ 10:08 pm

  34. The British citizen above isnt even the most bizarre. They are holding an Australian born man in detention, because some years back while on holiday in Europe he lost his Australian passport, and as his parents were Irish born he qualified for Irish citizenship ( probably found travel easier as well), and he returned to Australia on his new Irish passport. That means he has lost his Australian citizenship and because of some offence is being deported.

    Comment by dukeofurl — November 12, 2015 @ 10:13 pm

  35. Adding to the above refs, I normally skip Seven Sharp but tonight I notice they ran a story about one of the first people to choose to come to NZ to challenge his Australian deportation. According to the story (not verified!), he has a history of dishonesty and property offences. He’s 50 years old, 47 of them in Australia, two children in Australia. He was a ward of the state there from 8 years old, in jail for the first time at 15 and has spent half his life in jail. Until now he’d been detained in Darwin for 6 months. Supposedly he decided to take up the offer to be sent here when they threatened to send him to Christmas Island.

    Comment by izogi — November 12, 2015 @ 10:21 pm

  36. @duke: I doubt he lost his Australian citizenship, but since he entered Australia on an Irish passport, he’s treated as an Irish citizen for immigration purposes. He may be caught in a catch 22 situation where he can’t apply for a new passport due to being detained, but can’t prove he shouldn’t be detained without an Australian passport. I imagine if he were to allow himself to be deported he could acquire an Australian passport and then re-enter, although I can see why he wouldn’t want to go through that, not least for the cost.

    NZ has similar requirements – a NZ citizen must present a NZ passport when returning to NZ in order to be treated as an NZer for immigration purposes. I doubt they would actually go so far as to deport somebody who is known to be a NZ citizen, though.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — November 12, 2015 @ 11:22 pm

  37. Is there a ref for @duke’s Australian-born guy?

    I can see how either country might turn someone back at the border if they weren’t proved to have the appropriate citizenship, and if there was also evidence of a criminal past or something else that might trigger a person to not be let in. New Zealand’s Immigration Act (section 103) basically seems to say that you need a New Zealand Passport or other comparable evidence if you’re to be treated as a kiwi at the border.

    If you mean he was sent back to Ireland long after entering Australia on an Irish passport, though, I can’t seem to find how that might legally happen in New Zealand. The Citizenship Act fairly clearly states you’re a New Zealand citizen if you were born in the country or by various other means. It mentions nothing about the passport you most recently used to enter the country.

    Comment by izogi — November 12, 2015 @ 11:56 pm

  38. Regarding the British detainee, Tony Abbott rushed through Section 501 with suspected ISIS militants in mind. Most of the other detainees are collateral damage.

    Subpar Speakers of the House are difficult to dislodge, unless they’ve actually been done for criminal or financial misconduct. Only John Trevor (for bribery) and Michael Martin (for the expenses scandal) of Britain have been tipped out for it.

    Comment by Kumara Republic — November 13, 2015 @ 1:31 am

  39. @izogi: Yes it was a reference to Duke’s guy, specifically Duke saying the guy had ‘lost his citizenship’. My guess is that the Aus government’s position is that they can’t treat him as a citizen until he can produce proof, that only a passport is said proof, and if he can’t get a passport because they’ve locked him up, hey, that’s his problem*. But despite all that, he would still be a citizen and would be able to apply for a passport (presumably from overseas) once he was no longer detained, and if he was later able to produce it, they would treat him as a citizen and admit him to Australia based on that citizenship. I’m not saying this to minimise his problems, because being deported to Ireland, where I presume he has nowhere to stay and no means of support, would be pretty terrible for him. But he won’t have lost his Aus citizenship.

    Australian citizenship can only be revoked by a deliberate act of the Minister of Immigration, and even then only under a certain set of circumstances, none of which relate to entering Australia on a foreign passport.

    The NZ law is similar. You can’t lose NZ citizenship by entering on a foreign passport although you might not be able to access some of the benefits of that citizenship (e.g. free entry to the country). But if somebody was never able to produce a NZ passport to the immigration authorities, then they could technically be treated as a foreign national. Immigration law and policy usually rests on the idea that it is up to the individual seeking access to demonstrate their citizenship – the authorities are not obliged to do their own research to determine who is and is not a citizen when making immigration decisions.

    *Most countries will refuse to issue a passport to somebody lawfully detained because they are unable to travel internationally and thus don’t need one. But at the same time, at least in NZ and very likely in Aus, even people convicted of extremely serious crimes can obtain passports the moment they are no longer being detained. There are no good character requirements for obtaining a passport, merely practical ones.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — November 13, 2015 @ 3:50 am

  40. @kalvarnsen: you are right. I lost my New Zealand passport overseas in a country with no New Zealand embassy. The nearest New Zealand embassy arranged for me to get a UK emergency passport with my citizenship listed as “commonwealth” (I do not qualify for citizenship anywhere other than New Zealand). When I tried to return to New Zealand, border control wanted me to produce a return ticket because I could not prove my New Zealand citizenship. After much discussion, they eventually gave me a visitor visa and warned me that if I did not apply for a New Zealand passport, I would be deported after the visitor visa expired (to where they did not say, the commonwealth is not a country).

    Comment by Sam — November 13, 2015 @ 8:22 am

  41. Since we’re in the commonwealth, they could have deported you to NZ – frogmarching you over the red line in immigration and straight back again.

    Comment by Dr Foster — November 13, 2015 @ 10:59 am

  42. kalvarnsen, however Australia has just rushed through legislation so they can strip citizenship from anyone they don’t like provided that person has another citizenship. They’re not (yet) making people stateless, only practically stateless, but I suspect that is just a matter of time.

    Specifically, the goal is to put supporters of people-we-deem-terrorists-this-week in the position that if they are too supportive they will be shipped back to their country of other citizenship, even if/especially if that country is in a state of war or disaster. Australia has deported people to Afghanistan during the most recent invasion, Sri Lanka while the wholesale form of the killings was going on, and Iraq… well, any time recently really. They explicitly do not have a problem sending people to their death.

    Comment by Moz in Oz — November 13, 2015 @ 11:08 am

  43. @Sam: Emergency passports are kind of a separate matter – most countries (NZ included) do not even call them “emergency passports” but instead “emergency travel documents” because they are intended to be used for a single purpose, return to the country of origin where a permanent travel document can be obtained. I’m sympathetic to the border control staff, but obviously the matter is addressed if the person obtains the passport they’re entitled to. (They’d probably have deported you to the UK, since the passport was issued by the UK authorities, and it’s assumed that all passport holders are citizens of the issuing country)

    The Aussie guy was making a rod for his own back by not replacing his Aussie passport ASAP, although obviously I don’t know all the facts of the story – perhaps he did get the Irish doc simply so he could get back to Australia ASAP. But even if he was silly enough to just think he could rock along with the Irish passport indefinitely – and I realise that the finer points of migration law aren’t widely understood – being deported, even temporarily, seems like a disproportionate response. But that is where we are with Australian immigration law today.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — November 13, 2015 @ 11:21 am

  44. @kalvarnsen, what you say is probably usually correct, but in this particular case, I did not get an emergency passport to return home. I was studying in Sweden at the time and the emergency was I wanted to go to Greece for a holiday (I do not know how I talked the relevant embassies into giving me an emergency passport, I was completely honest with them about it just being a holiday, but I was also very apolgetic about losing my passport). I was instructed to get a New Zealand passport before returning home to New Zealand (I was going to spend several weeks in Sweden after coming back from Greece). Being a 19 year old, I promptly forgot about this and travelled home on the emergency passport. I had to talk my way through US border control too, they wanted to know where my return ticket was and understood nothing about the story I told them (the concept of the Commonwealth meant nothing to them). Eventually they gave up and figured it was a problem for New Zealand’s border control. This was quite a while ago, if it was now I would want to avoid travelling via Australia or being an Australian citizen.

    Comment by Sam — November 13, 2015 @ 11:55 am

  45. “Eventually they gave up and figured it was a problem for New Zealand’s border control.”

    It also seems interesting that the airline let you board. My understanding was that they often get into trouble with New Zealand authorities for dumping people who don’t have the right to enter, which is one reason why they do their own passport checks on checkin. I’d have thought that an emergency UK passport traveling to New Zealand might have raised some eyebrows. Which airline was it?

    Comment by izogi — November 13, 2015 @ 12:05 pm

  46. The reference is here
    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/how-a-man-born-in-australia-lost-his-citizenship-and-fears-deportation-to-ireland-20151014-gk93q6.html

    It appears he isnt in detention , yet. The part about how he ‘lost’ his Australian citizenship is here

    “Mr Smyth’s identity crisis deepened in December 2014 when he wanted to travel to Thailand and applied for an Australian passport. He was told he needed a citizenship certificate and when applying for one, irregularities came to light.”

    ” “Information provided by Mr Smyth indicates that he may have lost his Australian citizenship in 1992. Due to the situation that before 4 April 2002, the Australian Citizenship Act 1948 provided for the automatic loss of Australian citizenship in some circumstances where an Australian citizen acquired the citizenship of another country.”

    Remember he was born in Australia.

    Comment by dukeofurl — November 13, 2015 @ 12:11 pm

  47. @izogi: It was well over a decade ago, but probably Air New Zealand. I did have the right to enter (My UK passport qualified me for a vistor visa at New Zealand border control), I just did not have the right to stay beyond the vistor visa period (six months, I believe) so I should have had a return ticket.

    Comment by Sam — November 13, 2015 @ 12:15 pm

  48. @kalvarnsen/Sam,

    I doubt they would actually go so far as to deport somebody who is known to be a NZ citizen, though.

    After much discussion, they eventually gave me a visitor visa and warned me that if I did not apply for a New Zealand passport, I would be deported after the visitor visa expired (to where they did not say, the commonwealth is not a country).

    No. They wouldn’t, because that would be completely illegal to do so.

    NZBORA, s.18(1): “Everyone lawfully in New Zealand has the right to freedom of movement and residence in New Zealand.”

    If you are a NZ citizen, then you are lawfully in New Zealand irrespective of the passport you used to enter into NZ. See the Immigration Act 2009, s.9 – you can’t be “unlawfully in New Zealand” for immigration purposes if you are a NZ citizen: http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/2009/0051/latest/DLM1440587.html?search=ts_act%40bill%40regulation%40deemedreg_immigration_resel_25_a&p=1

    So holding a valid NZ passport is just a means of proving citizenship, not a prerequisite to a NZ citizen being allowed to be in NZ (think about it – lots of NZ citizens don’t have passports, but that doesn’t then mean they are all somehow subject to potential deportation!)

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — November 13, 2015 @ 1:55 pm

  49. @Andrew Geddis: I know and ended up not getting another Passport for a while (nothing bad happened). The border control officer just did not know what to do, he could not determine whether I was a NZ citizen or not. So he just gave me a visitor visa and a warning to get a proper passport before the visa expired (even though I technically did not need one because I am a citizen, the officer did not know that I was a citizen for certain, despite my accent). I do like the concept though of them trying to deport me to the Commonwealth.

    Comment by Sam — November 13, 2015 @ 2:46 pm

  50. @Andrew: That’s precisely my point – you may have the right, but unless you can prove you have the right, you can’t exercise it. So without a NZ passport, you can’t enjoy the right of indefinite legal residence.

    Obviously this does not apply to those who don’t have passports and never leave the country, but that’s because they’ve never been placed in a situation where they must prove their right to be in the country – because the only place that that is ever assessed is at the border.

    (For the record, 80% of NZ citizens hold valid passports – one of the highest rates of passport ownership in the world)

    Comment by kalvarnsen — November 13, 2015 @ 7:47 pm

  51. @dukeofurl: Ah I see. I didn’t realise he had done this so long ago. Yeah, it looks like he is boned – Australia used to have a clause that means a “voluntary and formal act” to acquire the citizenship of another country involved automatic loss of Australian citizenship. If I was his lawyer I’d argue that he acquired Irish citizenship by birth and that acquiring the passport was not an act of acquisition of citizenship, but that’s such an obvious argument it’s probably already been tried. And for all I know Irish law at the time may have said otherwise. Poor bugger. That’s why those clauses are generally no longer in favour among first world countries.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — November 13, 2015 @ 7:51 pm

  52. @kalvarnsen,

    OK – I misunderstood your use of the term “deport”. Under the Immigration Act it has a particular meaning, where a person who has gained entry into NZ (and is here unlawfully) is removed from it. People who show up at the border without the right passport/visa are simply denied entry and returned to the country that they arrived from.

    But for the record, you can “enjoy the right of indefinite legal residence” in NZ without having a NZ passport. All NZ citizens have this – s.13(3)(b) of the Immigration Act 2009: “no New Zealand citizen is liable under this Act to deportation from New Zealand in any circumstances.” So if, for instance, Sam hadn’t ever bothered getting a NZ passport after being let in on his emergency UK one and one day Immigration NZ knocked on his door to have a word about his immigration status, he’d simply need to tell them “I’m a NZ citizen”. It’s then for Immigration NZ to show he’s not, so they can lawfully remove him.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — November 13, 2015 @ 8:44 pm

  53. ” People who show up at the border without the right passport/visa are simply denied entry and returned to the country that they arrived from.”

    The situation that often comes up is somebody who arrives with a passport that allows temporary entry but doesn’t have a NZ passport despite being an NZ citizen. So they can’t be turned away, but they also haven’t shown their right to stay indefinitely.

    Let’s imagine, though, that Sam is in fact not an NZ citizen, but nonetheless claims he is. How can Immigration NZ show he isn’t one? Do they have to comb through the entire births and deaths registry to make sure his name isn’t on there, and then do the same with the citizenship registry? I admit I’m not familiar with the day-to-day of Immigration operations as they relate to enforcement, but this seems unlikely.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — November 13, 2015 @ 9:23 pm

  54. @kalvarnsen,

    There’s a difference between the right to enter NZ and the right to remain here. NZ citizens only have an unrestricted right to enter NZ if they have a NZ passport. If they don’t have this (like Sam), then they are subject to a border official saying “no” and refusing them entry (which is not the same as “deportation”). While I suspect that this doesn’t happen very often – I’m guessing border officials probably treat cases like Sam’s like they treated Sam – the NZ citizen gets returned to where they started their journey and has to sort out the appropriate entry authorisation (like an emergency travel document) from there.

    But once a NZ citizen is in NZ, then they cannot ever be deported irrespective of what passport they used to enter the country. That is an absolute legal restriction on Immigration NZ’s powers and so if a person targeted for deportation (which is not the same as refusal of entry) says that they are a NZ citizen, then the onus is on Immigration NZ to determine that they are not. And while passport status may be a shortcut way of doing so, it is not the conclusive answer … they have to use the “entire births and deaths registry to make sure his name isn’t on there, and then do the same with the citizenship registry” as you say.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — November 14, 2015 @ 8:24 am

  55. @Andrew: But as I say, most of the time the option of refusing entry is not available to border control staff, since most NZ citizens attempting to enter NZ on non-NZ passports do so with documents that permit them temporary entry.

    As for the citizenship registry, I am not aware of Immigration NZ ever having to use it – I’ve followed several immigration hearings, and I’ve never heard any defense lawyer challenge the assumption that presenting a non-NZ passport as customs is is not sufficient proof that the subject is not a NZ citizen.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — November 14, 2015 @ 2:29 pm

  56. @kalvarnsen,

    …most of the time the option of refusing entry is not available to border control staff, since most NZ citizens attempting to enter NZ on non-NZ passports do so with documents that permit them temporary entry.

    Sure! So … what? All this means is that NZ citizens, who are allowed into the country, get into the country. Your right to be in the country thereafter is absolute – it’s completely irrelevant how you got in. In fact, lets imagine a NZ citizen who has never obtained a passport of any kind sailed a yacht across to Australia, snuck ashore there undetected, and then some while later sailed back to NZ and gets caught sneaking ashore here. That person has committed a crime – they’ve breached the Immigration Act (which requires you to present a passport to an immigration official on arrival). But their right to remain in NZ is unaffected – once their identity (and hence their status as a NZ citizen) is established through birth records/citizenship registry/etc and they serve any sentence that may be imposed for breaching the law, they walk free.

    As for the citizenship registry, I am not aware of Immigration NZ ever having to use it – I’ve followed several immigration hearings, and I’ve never heard any defense lawyer challenge the assumption that presenting a non-NZ passport as customs is is not sufficient proof that the subject is not a NZ citizen.

    And that would be because no NZ citizen would ever be subject to an “immigration hearing”! As soon as a person in New Zealand (as opposed to at the border seeking entry to NZ) raises the claim that they are a NZ citizen, then Immigration NZ is legally obligated to check whether they actually are such (because if they are, Immigration NZ has no authority over them). And if they find the individual is a citizen, then they can take no further action against them.

    In particular, immigration hearings only happen where Immigration NZ thinks that they have a reason to cancel a visa/deport someone. So, ipso facto, they never will involve a NZ citizen (because such individuals don’t require visas/can never be deported). So the fact you’ve never heard the issue raised at an immigration hearing is exactly what you’d expect!

    To illustrate, let’s go back to Sam, as he’s a real-world case example. Let’s say he never got a NZ passport, after entering NZ on a visa in his emergency UK document. He then came to Immigration NZ’s attention as a possible overstayer of his visa (say through data matching with the police after he was in a traffic accident). Immigration NZ come to him and say “we’re going to deport you as an overstayer”, to which Sam says “but I’m a Kiwi citizen – I just don’t have a passport!” Immigration NZ then check that claim (using birth records/citizenship registry/whatever) and once they see it’s true, then that’s the end of the matter – and no-one beyond Sam and Immigration NZ would ever know what has happened.

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — November 14, 2015 @ 3:02 pm

  57. “And that would be because no NZ citizen would ever be subject to an “immigration hearing”!”

    No, but a non-citizen might claim to be a citizen for the purposes of staying in the country, and their lawyer would, quite rightly, point out that the onus is on Immigration NZ to demonstrate they have authority over the subject of the hearing. If this is a necessary step to any immigration proceedings, why is it never challenged?

    You keep coming back to Sam as an example but I’m actually thinking of a different hypothetical, where somebody who isn’t in Sam’s situation, and isn’t an NZ citizen, claims that they are.

    Comment by kalvarnsen — November 15, 2015 @ 10:28 am

  58. “If this is a necessary step to any immigration proceedings, why is it never challenged?.”

    Because the issue “is this person a NZ citizen?” is resolved one way or the other well before any public “immigration proceedings” commence – whenever the grounds of appeal are lodged, most likely. And possession of a NZ passport isn’t necessary to resolve the matter (which is where we started this whole thing off, in response to your statement that “without a NZ passport, you can’t enjoy the right of indefinite legal residence”).

    “I’m actually thinking of a different hypothetical, where somebody who isn’t in Sam’s situation, and isn’t an NZ citizen, claims that they are.”

    OK. And where does your thinking lead you to?

    Comment by Andrew Geddis — November 19, 2015 @ 8:18 pm


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