Government should prioritise jobs for Kiwis - Tuariki Delamere

By Bronson Perich

Former immigration minister Tuariki Delamere says the government's Covid-19 wage subsidy is propping up businesses right now, so it’s hard to predict future employment numbers and needs.

“It’s (unemployment) going to be high, very high, and New Zealanders need to come first,” Delamere says.

Delamere says the pandemic has changed everything. He says it's fair to predict Aotearoa may not need as many migrant workers as needed in previous years.

“We may not need as many afterwards (post-Covid),” Delamere says.

“That’s something for the government to work out.”

Kiwis didn't really care

Delamere failed to win a seat in Parliament in 1999. He now owns an immigration consultancy and a drag cabaret. Recently, he became TOP immigration spokesperson when he was nominated to run for Auckland Central in this year’s general election.

His experience with handling visa applications, residency and citizenship cases leads him to believe that employers are exploiting migrant workers. He adds his belief that immigration advisers and officers are in on it as well.

“There has been in some cases complicity with a couple of the immigration officers,” Tuariki Delamere says.

He says an independent authority needs to investigate predatory practices among employers and immigration officers.

“We haven’t really cared that much – it’s just a bunch of migrants,” Delamere says.

“We’ve allowed them to get away with exploitation.”

Slavery in Aotearoa

He wants resources invested so that employers can be thoroughly investigated, and amnesty for migrant workers that testify against their employers. Recently a Hawke's Bay based Samoan chief, Joseph Auga Matamata, was ordered to pay $183,000 and sentenced to 11 years in prison. He was convicted for slavery and human trafficking, after luring Samoans to Hawke's Bay with promises of well-paying jobs over a period of 25 years.

So far, Te Ao Māori news has been unsuccessful in contacting immigration consultant Anthony Rarere.