When did Kiwis start loosing compassion?
I’m a daughter of a migrant. That’s right, a migrant. I’m a born and bred New Zealander - born here, raised here and in my final years of high school.
Recently there has been an influx of hate speech and fearfulness of migrants. Many believe migrants threaten jobs, jeopardise the health of the population, burden the country, take away houses, take up time at hospitals and my favourite - congest roads.
These fears are amplified and exploited by news outlets who reinforce these sentiments and are viewed by a large number of New Zealanders. Nearly every night I see migrants mentioned on Facebook and in newspapers, and I know almost immediately it’s not in a good way.
Now I’m not saying that New Zealand has a biased press, I’m just saying that every time the dirty word "migrant" is mentioned, it almost always comes with something negative, something that reinforces the belief that migrants should go back to "their country".
The media is not solely to blame - politics and society are also part of the problem as well.
These ever-increasing negative thoughts have lead to anti-migrant sentiments in society, which spread and become the norm. We’re so immune to the idea that migrants can bring benefits, that we start to criticise without thinking. We start to believe the sole cause of crisis is migrants, forever ignoring how this belief affects others and how we could be partly to blame. "There’s no jobs - bloody migrants."
Politics has also contributed to the rise in nationalism. Politicians such as Donald Trump and Theresa May close their borders and blame migrants for a number of their nation’s problems. These feelings have been enforced on their respective populations, but also across the globe.
More locally, Winston Peters also uses the same tactics. No jobs? Migrants. No homes? Migrants. Hospital overcrowding? Migrants. Transport problems? Migrants. We believe what he’s saying because there’s no way he can be wrong.
"We see Asians everyday, right? That’s because of the National Government, and now we’re bloody overcome with migrants."
However, aren’t we all migrants? We are all descendants of migrants whether we’re Maori, Pakeha, Polynesian, Asian, Indian ,Russian or any of the other diverse ethnicities that make up our country.
Some of us came earlier, some later, but since when did we start counting the number of years since our descendants came here as our sole right to this beautiful piece of land? All of our ancestors had a common goal: to get the hell out of their country and find a better life. A life without fear. A life without hate.
Recently I saw an article about how the Invercargill Mayor wanted to be consulted before becoming a refugee settlement. There were so many comments of dislike and negativity. Since when did we have belief that we deserve better while others should be turned away?
There is a strong belief that the nation’s welfare be put before others. Yet, who are we to deny someone in need when they are just wanting a better place to live? Where is our compassion? We are all humans, aren’t we?
Just because someone’s parents came here on a waka or the Endeavour dosen’t mean they should be held in a higher regard than someone who has arrived here with hopes and need.
Recently the US and Europe have started to express these sentiments and are thinking of closing their borders. Do we want our nation to follow them? Or can we rise above?
We are so critical of the US, yet we’re essentially doing the same. Immigration New Zealand has made it much harder for migrants to come into the country. Do we want to be another country that turns our backs?
Our nation is made up of people who are all children of migrants, those who decided to take the journey to New Zealand.
Who are we to deny people who are just like our ancestors, searching for a better life?
- Stuff Nation