New Zealand First says it has caught Ōtaki MP and Immigration Minister Nathan Guy ‘red handed’ with a dodgy new system of fast tracking visas for members of a major Chinese airline’s frequent flier’s club – despite being warned that international criminals belong to these clubs.
NZ First Leader Winston Peters raised the issue in Parliament, producing confidential Immigration New Zealand papers showing both the Minister and officials had met China Southern Airlines to discuss the proposal.
Mr Peter’s got his statement out even before Nathan Guy’s office had announced their deal.
‘High-value Chinese tourists’
Under the laudatory headline, ‘New scheme to encourage Chinese tourism,’ Mr Guy’s office states: ‘Immigration Minister Nathan Guy has today announced a new agreement with China Southern Airlines to make it easier for high-value Chinese tourists to visit New Zealand.’
But Mr Peters says: “This new plan simply means that visas are rubber stamped for Gold and Silver cardholders of China Southern Airline’s frequent flyer club. All the visa requirements are waived.
“It is interesting to note in the proposal that the most important feature for the airline’s clients is to avoid questions relating to financial backing and employment history.”
Mr Peters also produced an internal memo from Immigration NZ’s Intelligence, Risk and Integrity Division warning that China represents a ”huge set of risks” and suggesting that officials had not learned anything from a recent scandal over student visas.
“This memo also shows that China Southern Airlines compliance over flight passenger lists for checking has been patchy and but for political tolerance the company would have received significant fines,” he says.
‘Abuse of border controls’
“This is clearly an abuse of both New Zealand border controls and the visitor visa system and it is being driven directly from the Minister’s office.
“It is disgraceful for the Minister to confirm in Parliament … that he’s prepared to weaken our border security to simply attract a few more tourists.
“Immigration New Zealand is simply carrying out the will of a Government that allows just about anyone and anything into New Zealand. This alarming situation cannot continue,” says Mr Peters.