NEW ZEALAND CHINESE - ( EARLY HISTORY ) ( I ) ( 333 )
source - stephenyoung.co.nz
edmondsallan - Hello - 47. Personal communication with Hon. Kerry Burke, 31 March 2001.
48. K. Burke, Review of Immigration Policy, August 1986, Government Printer, Wellington, 1986. Mr Burke said to me there was ‘no problem’ in passing his review in the Labour Government. The Immigration Act, 1987 followed and spelt out procedural details (but not policy).
49. The government subcommittee comprised the MPs J. Anderton, R. Prebble, F. Gerbic and R. Northey. The No. 2 of Gates and Shroff was Don Bond, and their academic advisors included R. Bedford, J. Poot and Ruth Farmer. Shroff wrote ‘New Zealand’s Immigration Policy’, in the N.Z. Official Year Book, 1988-89, in which he acknowledged the influence on his department of J. Poot’s research on the relationship of international migration and the economy, much of it via a computer model. Poot embodied his thinking in the papers: J. Poot, G. Nana and B. Philpott, International Migration and the New Zealand Economy, A Long-Run Perspective, Victoria University Press for Institute of Policy Studies, Wellington, 1988; and J. Poot, ‘International Migration and the New Zealand Economy of the 1980s’, in A.D. Trlin and P. Spoonley (eds.), New Zealand and International Migration, A Digest and Bibliography Number 2, Massey University, Palmerston North, 1992. The paper by W. Kasper, Populate or Languish? Rethinking New Zealand Immigration Policy, New Zealand Business Roundtable, Wellington, 1990, was also influential. A.D. Trlin, ‘For the Promotion of Economic Growth and Prosperity: New Zealand’s Immigration Policy, 1991-1995’, in A.D. Trlin and P. Spoonley (eds.), New Zealand International Migration, A Digest and Bibliography Number 3, Massey University Printery, Palmerston North, 1997, p.4, summarised: ‘Poot et al (1988) demonstrated that an annual net migration gain of 15,000 people [which was] equated by Kasper (1990) with an annual gross intake of 30,000 [39,000 according to Poot, 1992] would [over 15 years] yield small but significant increases in the national income, living standards, population growth and the demand for labour … without adding to inflation as immigrants stimulated the economy with their demands for housing, goods and services.’ Other writers have added to the list of assumed benefits of immigration in the resulting genetic and cultural diversity, new skills and entrepreneurialship, new ideas and expanded international linkages. Consequently, New Zealand governments have in the recent past (Otago Daily Times, 21 March 1990; Dominion, 23 December 1997) aimed for net annual gains of 10,000 and gross intakes of about 35,000 but have been defeated by the uncontrolled factor of departures and unpopular immigration regulations. From 1 October 2001, the Labour Government is aiming for a gross intake of about 50,000, up from 38,000 in the previous year (Otago Daily Times, 17 September 2001, p.2).
50. M.E. McCollom, ‘Immigrant Entrepreneurs’, in J.A. Klein and J.G. Miller (eds.), The American Edge, Leveraging Manufacturing’s Hidden Assets, McGraw-Hill, New York, 1993, pp.163-65.
51. National Business Review (NBR) Weekly Magazine, 15 February 1991, p.14. This survey was conducted by the Lausanne business school, IMEDE, for the World Economic Forum. Also see Otago Daily Times, 19 May 1993, where New Zealand was also ranked 17th (behind seventh placed Australia) in the United Nations’ quality of life index. In an earlier editorial on immigration, the NBR, 24 August 1990, p.8, supported a net inflow of immigrants and concluded that, ‘It is from Asia New Zealand has most to gain from immigration’.
52. In addition, immigrants have told the writer that the political uncertainties of Hong Kong, mainland China and Taiwan at the time were also factors in their decision to leave. Ross Pauling, a senior partner in charge of Business Migration at Coopers and Lybrand, Manukau, noted four reasons: ‘the educational opportunities it offers for their children; its NZ policies and environment for racial equality and understanding, the stability of its Western-style democratic Government; and the relatively pollution free environment.’ (Coopers and Lybrand, Forecast, August 1990, p.5). Although they knew about the ‘quality of life’ features, obviously many immigrants did not fully know the difficulties of establishing business and earnings in New Zealand. Yet some may not have cared about all the details since they were coming for a less hectic life, a life style change (G. Reid, ‘Dreaded Asian Invasion a Myth,’ N.Z. Herald, 12 July 2000, p.A13; personal communication with James Koh, 7 April 2001). W. Friesen and M. Ip, ‘New Chinese New Zealanders: Profiles of a Transnational Community in Auckland’, in W. Friesen, M. Ip, E. Ho, R.D. Bedford and J.E. Goodwin, East Asian New Zealanders: Research on New Migrants, Aotearoa/New Zealand Migration Research Network, Research Papers, No. 3, Albany, Auckland, Massey University, Department of Geography, 1997, found only 10% of their survey had immigrated primarily for business reasons.
53. NBR Weekend Review, 18 November 1988, p.15: ‘ "People are looking for an insurance policy." And New Zealand’s is going cheap. "It’s the cheapest in the world".’ See also NZ Listener, 19 November 1988, pp.18-20; Otago Daily Times, 28 June 1989; and Listener and TV Times, 22 and 29 January 1990. Yet the BIP has brought in solid migrant families and money. However, the relative ease of entry by the BIP has also fostered a disparaging view that some Asian (and later South African) immigrants came to New Zealand specifically to use the country (after the granting of permanent residency or citizenship) as a ‘back door’ to Australia. Evidence to support this view remains anecdotal so far; I myself have not come across any such case.
54. Indeed, some commentators thought the BIP was actually designed to attract Hong Kong emigrants. For example, Colin James wrote, ‘the Asian profile has been growing, partly as a result of a programme designed to encourage wealthy Taiwanese and Hong Kong residents to bring their money … and business skills to New Zealand.’ (Far Eastern Economic Review, 19 April 1990, p.21). Others like Professor Michael Hill (of the Department of Sociology, Victoria University) had the same perception although A. Trlin and J. Kang, ‘The Business Immigration Policy and the Characteristics of Approved Hong Kong and Taiwanese Applicants, 1986-88,’ in A.D. Trlin and P. Spoonley, (eds.), New Zealand and International Migration, 1992, p.48, cast doubt on this aspect. Burke himself denied any design in connection with the Hong Kong exodus, and Gordon Shroff said to me he was actually worried about the Hong Kong potential influx as he thought many of them might be seeking a temporary rather than a permanent haven.
55. NBR Weekend Review, 18 November 1988, p.15.
56. N.Z. Immigration Service, Report of the Working Party on Immigration, March 1991.
57. N.Z. Immigration Service, Immigration Fact Packs.
59. N.Z. Immigration Service, New Zealand’s Targeted Immigration Policies, July 1995, p.4.
60. NBR Weekend Review, 18 November 1988, p.16; ‘A general profile of Hong Kong immigrants to New Zealand is of couples in their late 30s and early 40s, with two or three children either approaching, or in adolescence. They are neither super-well educated nor super-wealthy, yet conversant in English, with a commitment to ambition and advancement and with an average up to $500,000 to $600,000 to do something with’. A. Trlin, and J. Kang, ibid, pp.48-64, found much the same characteristics for Hong Kong and Taiwanese immigrants, except that a high proportion of their sample were well-educated and the Hong Kong Chinese spoke better English than the Taiwanese.
61. Personal communication with Jean Wong, 28 March 1996. Mrs Wong, a prominent member in the Auckland Taiwanese community who was one of the first to arrive (in 1980), told me that while the BIP admitted numerous solid families of small businessmen, many other Taiwanese immigrants had the equivalent of a ‘few’ million NZ dollars, though their base of wealth often was still in Taiwan. Graham Chin from Malaysia, a bank manager for Asians in the Countrywide Bank (personal communication, 29 March 1996), confirmed that the first wave of Chinese migrants came particularly under the BIP and often had ‘three or four million NZ dollars net’. He said the second wave came mainly as General Category migrants and had less, especially after buying a house.
62. J. Koh, International Linkages initiated and/or established, in Proceedings of the Population Conference, New Zealand Immigration Service, Wellington, 12-14 November 1997.
63. Personal communication with Hon. A. Malcolm, 28 March 1996.
64. McCollom, ibid, p.164, wrote that ‘The very process of uprooting and resettling forces immigrants to become highly adaptive, ingenious and perservering.’ Perhaps this observation applies less to migrants emphasising the idea of a ‘great life style’.
65. McCollom, ibid, pp.168-70.
66. McCollom, ibid, pp.171-76.
67. Personal communication with Graham Chin, 29 March 1996.
68. Weekend Herald, 18-19 November 2000, p.E2.
69. N.Z. Herald, 29 October 1997, p.A13; and M. Ip, Successful Settlement of Migrants and Relevant Factors for Setting Immigration Targets, in Proceedings of the Population Conference, New Zealand Immigration Service, Wellington, 12-14 November 1997.
70. J. Lidgard, E. Ho, Y.Y. Chen, J. Goodwin and R. Bedford, ‘Immigrants from Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong in New Zealand in the mid-1990s: Macro and Micro Perspectives’, Population Studies Centre, Discussion Paper no. 29, University of Waikato, Hamilton, 1998, p.16. (The published reports of Statistics New Zealand are frequently so broad nowadays that one has to commission specific files, as probably happened in this paper).
71. E. Ho, J. Goodwin, R. Bedford and B. Spragg, ‘Migrants in the Workforce: A Preliminary Comparison of the Experiences of Chinese and Korean Recent Immigrants in 1991 and 1996’, Briefing Paper No. 7 prepared for the participants at the Population Conference, Wellington, 12-14 November 1997, Population Studies Centre, University of Waikato, Hamilton, 1997, pp.14-15; quoted by A. Trlin and A. Henderson, The Effects and Implications of Unemployment Among New Chinese Arrivals: A Report from the New Settlers Programme, paper presented at the conference of the Association for the Study of Chinese and their Descendants in Australasia and the Pacific Islands, and the Department of History, University of Otago, at Dunedin, 20-21 November 1998.
72. Smith, ibid, pp.55-59. The Otago Daily Times, 16 August 1997, p.16, reported M. Ip’s survey which found that each of about 1,000 Chinese migrants had taken an average income drop of $NZ21,000.
73. The subject of the student allowance caused public ire because it was thought that some Asian newcomers were claiming them on the grounds that their parents had little or no income in New Zealand, although suspected of having considerable assets either in this country (like an expensive home) or in the previous homeland. The story goes that Asian students were turning up in their BMWs to apply for the student allowance. Despite this, the mainland Chinese students may have received the most attention because they seemed to be frequent applicants. But there were genuinely poor Chinese students who were studying for another degree because their original qualifications were of little use for finding work. North and South, February 1997, pp.40-41, found that at Auckland University, 6536 were on student allowances; 1982 of them were permanent residents rather than New Zealand citizens; and 476 of the permanent residents listed their land of origin as Taiwan, Hong Kong, mainland China or Korea. In Canterbury University, 473 or 44% of the permanent residency students were receiving student allowances, compared with ‘only 30% of the New Zealand students enrolled at Canterbury [who] are eligible for student allowances.’
Now that student allowances are barred for two years after entry, another story has arisen concerning new immigrant students (allegedly from mainland China) who apply for the emergency benefit, obtain a student loan and eventually skip the country after graduation. The writer has heard variations of this story, commonly with the addition of getting parents to New Zealand and leaving them here afterwards to live on social welfare. But where are the hard figures? The reality from a doctor’s experience is that older people moved to a new culture and environment strongly tend to be social isolated, especially if family leave them alone.
So, while not excusing any exploitive students and their parents, one wonders how extensive the above practices might be.
74. N.Z. Herald, 15 November 1997, p.A5.
75. M. Ip, S K-M Kang and S. Page, ‘Migration and travel between Asia and New Zealand’, Asia-Pacific Migration Research Network, Massey University-Albany, No.2000/1. The authors suggest that the Chinese astronaut phenomenon in New Zealand has progressed in a significant number of cases beyond merely seeking work to the deliberate adoption of the transnational way of life as a means for possessing more than one citizenship, building multi-locality networks, and having multiple transnational work options. The authors think that this extension of the astronaut way of life will grow extensively in the present climate of globalisation. Be that as it may, my comment is that at their level, they have chosen a risky way of life with built-in instability of operations, a way of life not suitable for all. Perhaps it suits numerous southern Chinese and Indian trading families, but it has not been widely adopted by Japanese, for instance. Also, while dual nationality is acceptable in many countries, sooner or later a situation will arise in the course of living when the biblical text ‘You cannot have two masters’ will apply to these persons and families. Is it too far-fetched to think that just one civil crisis at one base could unravel a transnational’s well-laid plans? Transnationalism often appears to be a defensive strategy, as seen for example, in the Chinese advice in New Zealand given to offspring to take up medical studies ‘because medicine is a respected profession which can be practised anywhere in the world.’ The deliberate adoption of the transnational way of life may be another defensive strategy to disperse members of a family to other countries and citizenships. The dispersal may increase commercial opportunities but a principal aim is to ensure the survival and security of part of the family and its assets should civil catastrophe involve other members.
The Beijing Review, 15 February 2001, p.8, reports that there are about 130 million transnational workers in the world today. Yet this phenomenon is not new. J. Keegan, The First World War, Pimlico, London, 1999, pp.10-12, describes the turn of the 20th century as a notable period in the progress of an integrated international economy, with freely flowing capital based on London and other European financial centres, and complemented by world-wide intellectual, philanthropic and religious movements. That active phase of commercial interdependence, which substained many transnational workers, was accelerated by developments in steam and rail transport, the telegraph and stamped postage, rising populations, large scale migrations, new sources of raw materials and cheap manufactured goods. It was widely believed then that such interdependence would rationally prevent an extensive outbreak of war in Europe. But two World Wars followed when men and women had to choose where they stood, that is, what nationality they were and where their loyalties lay.
E. Cheung, ‘Loyalty and migrants’, in Asia 2000 Foundation of New Zealand, Review, March/April 2001, p.10, found that the members of the Hong Kong New Zealand Club had returned from New Zealand to Hong Kong for different reasons. Some could not find work in New Zealand, some were waiting for their (H.K.) pensions to start before returning to New Zealand and some were in Hong Kong selling New Zealand products full time.
76. N.Z. Herald, 13 May 1998, p.A17.
77. The estimate is based on the total Chinese population in 1996 (over 81,000), as against about 17,000 full-blood and mixed blood persons enumerated in the 1986 census who are presumed to be of Kiwi Chinese stock (see end-note 42), plus some natural increase since then.
78. The writer knows of only a few organizations in which different Chinese subgroupings are integrated together; they include the Chinese Medical Association and Vincent St. Presbyterian Church in Auckland, and the Dunedin Chinese Presbyterian Church and the Dunedin Chinese Language and Cultural Trust. In Auckland, the two main Kiwi Chinese societies – the local branch of the New Zealand Chinese Association and the Auckland Chinese Community Centre -- are not strong enough to lead other subgroups. But in every New Zealand city, there are Chinese men and women with goodwill towards other subgroups; Steven Wong in Auckland for example has formed the Chinese Associations of New Zealand which is getting a good response from several other organizations.
79. M. Skinner, A. Trlin, A. Henderson and N. North, Old Country Connections: The Importance of Relatives and Friends in International Migration, New Settlers Programme, Massey University, paper presented at the conference New Directions: New Settlers, Migration and New Zealand Society into the 21st century, Wellington, 12-13 April, 2000, reveals an early tendency of mainland Chinese to assist relatives and friends to New Zealand.
80. Personal communication with Mrs Pansy Wong, MP, 10 March 2001. Nevertheless, about 70% of New Zealanders now realise that Asia is the most important region for this country (T. Groser, CEO of the Asia 2000 Foundation, on Asia Down Under, TV1, 26 April 2001). This statement was based on the Asia 2000 Foundation survey on New Zealanders’ attitudes towards Asia in April 2000. The results were that some 69% of New Zealanders believed Asia was most important region to New Zealand’s future, ahead of the South Pacific (54%), Europe and U.K. (54%), Nth America (50%) and South America (22%).
81. R. Walker, C.W.D. Wu, M. Soothi-O-Soth, and A. Parr, New Zealand’s Asian Population: Views on Health and Health Services, Health Funding Authority, Auckland, 1998, Appendix A, lists city and district Chinese populations as follows: North Shore city, 6,441; Waitakere city, 3,726; Auckland city, 20,214; Manukau city, 12,540; Papakura district, 435; Franklin district, 489; total for Auckland region 43,845: Hamilton city, 1,479; Palmerston North city, 1,746; Upper Hutt city, 330; Lower Hutt city, 1881; Wellington city, 5,310; total for Wellington region, 7,521 [generally believed to be dominated by Kiwi Chinese]: Christchurch city, 5,925: Dunedin city, 2,256.
82. Auckland’s city infrastructure was put under strain because most Asian newcomers settled there and because many Chinese and Koreans limited their choice to Epsom, Remuera, Howick, Pakuranga and North Shore. These are well-off suburbs with good primary and secondary schools, and Mrs Lily Lee Ho (a senior Education Department official) and her colleagues told me that some schools were very stressed when their rolls were rapidly altered with large percentages of Asian children - 20% or 30%, and in one case (Pakuranga High), over 50%. The character of the suburbs also altered and, by 1996, new quality housing was being built wherever feasible with Asian buyers in mind. Housing prices went up in the ensuing boom, aggravated by immigrants buying additional property for rental. (The boom subsided with the fall in the number of new immigrants). As regards transport, Auckland is popularly reputed to be in a ‘gridlock’ position, and the water supply and sewage system need costly additions and upgradings because of the growth of the city. Enterprise Auckland, Asian Immigration. Economic and Social Survey, Auckland Institute of Studies, September 1996, p.3, found that Asian immigrants above all dislike the transport conditions in the city.
83. By 1996, it was estimated that residents in Howick had become about one third Asian, most of them Chinese (personal communication with Miss Samantha Wong, a local land agent, 24 March 1996). Whole new streets were being added on the periphery of Howick and about half the new houses were being sold to Asians. Miss Wong said the Chinese were often ‘buying down’, having sold their dwellings in their previous homeland for a much higher price.
84. New Zealanders usually don’t bargain and they dislike flash cars (or at least others owning them), the possession of which promoted comments like, ‘They [the migrant newcomers] had wealth and flaunted it.’ The hesitancy in driving, now less noticeable, may have resulted partly from wives (with ‘astronaut’ husbands out of New Zealand) driving in conditions different to what they were accustomed to. That some newcomers abused the social welfare system is indisputable; for example, upset Howick doctors reported apparently wealthy Asians using welfare community cards at their surgeries (Otago Daily Times, 25 March 1995), which gave each of them (and like Europeans) a medical subsidy perhaps totalling $300-$400 per annum. Probably these sums are for serious new ailments since all migrants undergo checks for a reasonably clean bill of health before arriving. There was suspicion that some Asian immigrants were ‘schooled up’ to claim welfare benefits, but ultimately of course the blame rests on individual greed. In 1996, no figures were available (personal communication with Hon. P.J. Gresham, Minister of Social Welfare, 5 June 1996). In 1997, it was reported that ‘more than 7,700 [unspecified] migrants [were] on some form of welfare benefit’ (Otago Daily Times, 13 November 1997, p.3).
85. Personal communication with Detective Sergeant S.T. Bennett, 5 December 1997; reported in Ng, Windows on a Chinese Past, vol.3, 1999, pp.260-61.
86. ‘Inv-Asian’: Eastern Courier, 16 April 1993, pp.6-7, special feature, part 1; "Wins and Losses in immigration lotto’: Eastern Courier, 23 April 1993, pp.6-7, part 2. These articles were syndicated to a number of free community newspapers like the Eastern Courier, East and Bays Courier and Manukau Courier. The immediate response included letters from M. Ip, A. Loo and Mee-Mee Phipps (East and Bays Courier, 5 May 1993, p.4; Manukau Courier, 6 May 1993, p.10). A complaint against the articles followed (Otago Daily Times, 29 April 1993) and was withdrawn, but then Dr T. Snowdon forwarded a complaint and the Press Council ruled that there was a case for rebuke in relation to part 1 (Manukau Courier, 10 September 1993, p.10).
Till we meet again - Regards - edmondsallan