Pancha Narayanan, President MNZ
John Gascoigne's article (NZ Herald, 22 May 2023) can be seen as reflecting a personal viewpoint rather than presenting a comprehensive research piece. It appears to lack a solid foundation and neglects to acknowledge important historical facts. The concept of multicultural communities, for instance, originated as a result of actions taken by European explorers and conquerors during colonization, which involved annexing territories, displacing indigenous populations, and exploiting economies.
Consequently, diverse ethnicities were brought in as indentured laborers across the globe. Given these historical realities, it is unfounded to solely blame multicultural communities for the current situation in New Zealand, particularly when such an assertion is merely the author's subjective opinion.
It is concerning that someone identifying themselves as a Cambridge-based economic commentator, like John Gascoigne, would espouse a supremacist mindset and present flawed opinions. His writing veers into the realm of veiled racist language, which could be considered as hate speech. Rather than relying on factual data, Gascoigne becomes overly opinionated. It is important to highlight that his assessment is fundamentally prejudiced and lacks substantial basis.
In addition to the aforementioned concerns, the decision made by the NZ Herald to publish Gascoigne's article not only raises questions but also invites scrutiny. By providing a platform for content that promotes questionable views, the publication runs the risk of being seen as endorsing or supporting those views. This, in turn, significantly diminishes the credibility and reputation of the publication, as it gives the impression that it has compromised its journalistic standards.
Moreover, Gascoigne's article serves as a regrettable illustration that reinforces our longstanding observation regarding the state of New Zealand journalism. Specifically, it highlights a tendency towards Eurocentrism and a notable lack of investigative abilities within the industry. Gascoigne's misguided opinions, which are based on subjective perspectives rather than well-founded research, only exacerbate this perception.
A robust and responsible journalistic approach involves thorough investigation, fact-checking, and presenting a diverse range of perspectives to offer readers a comprehensive and balanced understanding of the issues at hand. Regrettably, Gascoigne's article appears to fall short in meeting these fundamental requirements, reinforcing the notion that New Zealand journalism is lacking in its commitment to in-depth investigation and comprehensive reporting.
To foster a more vibrant and inclusive media landscape, it is imperative for New Zealand journalists and publications to embrace a higher standard of investigative journalism. This entails delving deeper into complex issues, scrutinising multiple viewpoints, and presenting well-researched, evidence-based analyses. By doing so, they can rebuild trust with their readership and contribute to a more informed and nuanced public discourse.
Gascoigne cites the example of Singapore, but comparing Singapore with New Zealand is like comparing apples with oranges. The two countries differ significantly, including in their respective democracy indexes.
By delving deeper into the matter, one would discover that New Zealand holds the tenth position worldwide in terms of happiness, while Singapore ranks close to 25. This highlights how Gascoigne's perspective on New Zealand's economic situation is conveniently biased. It is evident that he has formed a preconceived opinion even before initiating his analysis, as indicated by his choice of words.
In response to John Gascoigne's article, which highlights New Zealand's economic decline and attributes it solely to multiculturalism and immigration policies, it is important to present an alternative perspective that challenges his assertions. While acknowledging the challenges New Zealand faces, it is crucial to consider the positive contributions of immigration and emphasise the need for an immigration policy based on the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
1. Economic Survival and Embracing Diversity:
The decision to lift the white-only policy was driven by economic survival. Embracing diversity and inclusivity has strengthened New Zealand socially, culturally, and economically, as it has allowed the country to tap into a diverse range of skills, talents, and perspectives.
2. Immigration and the Labour Market:
Gascoigne overlooks the fact that New Zealand's immigration policies have primarily focused on the labour market, aiming to address current shortages of workers in specific sectors. Immigrants make significant contributions to the New Zealand economy, often filling skill gaps and bringing diverse expertise that stimulates innovation and growth. By attracting skilled migrants, New Zealand has been able to foster economic development, enhance its competitiveness on the global stage, and maintain its status as a developed country.
3. Tiriti-based Immigration Policy:
Gascoigne fails to acknowledge the importance of a Tiriti-based approach to immigration policy, which involves recognising and respecting the rights and aspirations of Tangata Whenua in shaping immigration decisions. Inclusive immigration policies that involve meaningful consultation and partnership with Māori can contribute to a more equitable society and promote socio-economic development that benefits all New Zealanders. By integrating Māori perspectives and values into immigration policy, New Zealand can fulfil its obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi and foster positive relationships with Tangata Whenua.
In conclusion, Gascoigne's narrow perspective on New Zealand's economic decline and his criticism of multiculturalism overlook the broader benefits that diversity brings to society and the economy. A more inclusive and Tiriti-based approach to immigration, coupled with targeted labour market policies, can help address skill shortages, foster economic growth, and promote social cohesion. Rather than scapegoating multicultural communities, it is essential to focus on addressing systemic issues including racism, investing in education, and training, and ensuring equitable opportunities for all New Zealanders to thrive in a rapidly changing global economy.