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Immigration-Good Character Requirement

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    Immigration-Good Character Requirement - 29-Mar-2005
    Questions & Answers for Oral Answer 29 March 2005
    Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader-NZ First) to the Minister of Immigration: Why does the New Zealand Immigration Service require, before a New Zealand visa or permit can be granted, an assurance that the applicant and any family included in an application are of good character?

    Hon PAUL SWAIN (Minister of Immigration): Character checks are in place to determine whether people wanting to enter or remain in New Zealand meet the requirements of section 7 of the Immigration Act, and associated policy. The Act sets out the types of convictions that would preclude someone from entering New Zealand.

    Rt Hon Winston Peters: Does the Minister believe that a person with proven links to an organisation that promotes paedophilia and that publishes literature promoting sex between boys and men is a person of good character, being the publisher and editor of the publication Unbound that contains articles about men and boys having sex, as well as pictures of naked boys, and why was this not picked up by the New Zealand Immigration Service?

    Hon PAUL SWAIN: As I said, section 7 talks about the kinds of convictions, and as I have said to this House before, this person had police clearances in both South Africa and America. However, the application form asks whether a person has been the subject of any investigation, and also asks about the nature of the person's previous immigration status. It is important that people fill out the form right. Investigations are under way to see whether, in fact, that form was filled out correctly. If it was not, then a visa or a permit can be revoked.

    Rt Hon Winston Peters: Is the Minister aware that the former owner of Free Forum Books before Jim Peron, Mr Eric Garris, has made the following statement with regard to Jim Peron's involvement with North American Man/Boy Love Association: 'I did not sell the NAMBLA bulletin. I did not sell the NAMBLA bulletin or allow NAMBLA meetings in the bookstore when I owned it. Jim was an ardent supporter of NAMBLA and gave it a home at the bookstore after I sold it to him. On several occasions I expressed my negative feelings toward associating the libertarian bookstore with NAMBLA. When I sold the bookstore to Jim, the only condition of the sale was that he would allow the Libertarian Party to meet and distribute literature in the store. I would never have asked him to allow NAMBLA to meet there, and would not have sold him the bookstore if I had known he would use it to promote NAMBLA.', and what comment does the Minister have today regarding Mr Peron's character now, who previously stated that to continue to hold North American Man/Boy Love Association meetings at the bookstore was a condition of the sale to him?

    Hon PAUL SWAIN: I am aware of the comments that were made originally by this person, saying that the condition of the sale was that that magazine or that information was to be held at the bookstore. My office has been contacted by someone who has told me that in fact he or she believes that not to be the case. I have asked for that information to come to me in written form and I would be very keen for the member to give me a copy of it so I can investigate it further.

    Rt Hon Winston Peters: I seek leave to table the following: a note from Eric Garris, the previous bookstore owner; a note from Dr Frits Bernard as to who was the editor of Unbound; and also a volume of Unbound, which sets out page after page of evidence in respect of this man's beliefs and proclivities.

    Leave granted.

    Hon Richard Prebble: Has the Minister received any evidence from Mr Peters that Mr Jim Peron has committed any crime in this country or any other country?

    Hon PAUL SWAIN: I am aware of a number of allegations that have been made in the House, but I have not had any evidence yet along the lines of what the member's question was about.

    Rt Hon Winston Peters: Has the Minister received any information or reports that in this House there is a political party that seems to be a defender of paedophilia behaviour and paedophiles in New Zealand?

    Madam SPEAKER: The Minister has no responsibility for another party.

    Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. My question asked whether the Minister has received any reports.

    Hon Dr Michael Cullen: The Minister of Immigration has no responsibility for that particular matter. If anybody has I suppose it might be the Leader of the House, but even then, I doubt that I have.

    Hon Richard Prebble: The matter does not settle there. Mr Peters is making a serious slur on parliamentarians. That is most certainly out of order, and if he was suggesting that I am defending paedophilia he is most certainly mistaken. I require him to withdraw and apologise for that very serious slur. It is all right for Mr Peters, and we cannot stop him from slandering anyone outside this House, but under our rules he cannot slander a member of this House.

    Rt Hon Winston Peters: First of all, the caucus of the ACT party is not a party-or anything like it, apparently. Secondly, I was prepared to allow that Rodney Hide had made a serious mistake in helping someone who walked into his office, or had others walk into his office seeking an MP's assistance, and I am still prepared to. But when some member of Parliament rises, knowing that the evidence that is out now clearly points to such a person, then I resent in any way, shape, or form that it is me who is guilty of a breach of privilege, or has in any way offended the rules of Parliament.

    Hon Richard Prebble: It is all very well for Mr Peters now to refer to some other MP. The person who asked the question was myself, and I take very deep offence at Mr Peters' statement. I was seeking clarification as to whether any crime had been committed, and as far as I can tell no crime has been committed and no evidence has been given of it. So I am now being slurred as being a defender of paedophilia, and I take very great exception to that. Mr Peters may make it his practice to slander people outside this House and may get popular support for doing so, but he may not do it to MPs. I am asking you, Madam Speaker, now that I have been so slurred by Mr Peters, to require him to withdraw and apologise, even though he has great difficulty in admitting that he has made mistakes.

    Madam SPEAKER: I think I have heard sufficient argument on this. Obviously the question when it was first asked was out of order. Members know that they should not imply infamous or damaging conduct on other members. If the member did imply such conduct then he should either deny he was making that allegation or he should withdraw and apologise.

    Rt Hon Winston Peters: I wish to raise a point of clarification for you to make on this judgment, and it concerns an event. I referred to a political party that stood, to a man and a woman, and cheered Mr Jim Peron just 2 weeks ago at its annual conference. I referred to a political party. I did not refer to anybody in this House, and Hansard will disclose that.

    Madam SPEAKER: However, a member felt that the inference was to that particular member, so is the member denying that there was any such inference to an individual member?

    Rt Hon Winston Peters: I am saying that my reference was to a political party. The specific details are of a political party, after the matter had been raised in this House, cheering, to a man and a woman, at its last annual general meeting, one Jim Peron.

    Madam SPEAKER: Is the member saying, and I ask this for the last time-[Interruption] The member has taken exception to what was a serious allegation, from which a reasonable inference could have been taken, even though reference was made generally. I am asking the member, for the last time, either to withdraw and apologise or to state that no such inference was applied to an individual member.

    Rt Hon Winston Peters: I wish to make it very clear to you that a political party-and a parliamentary party-[Interruption] No, I am not going to apologise.

    Hon Richard Prebble: Of course you are.

    Rt Hon Winston Peters: No, I am not. I am not going to apologise for accusing a political party-and I have given the House evidence for it-of being a defender of a paedophile.

    Madam SPEAKER: The member is not going to withdraw and apologise. Are you denying then that the implication was that individual members of that party were supporters of paedophiles?

    Rt Hon Winston Peters: Well, obviously. I referred to a political party. But no one in this House can demand that because I referred to his or her party I therefore referred to that member.

    Stephen Franks: Mr Peters said that the ACT party, to a man and a woman, stood and applauded Mr Peron. That is untrue for a start; I was there. He has included me in his inference, and I demand that he withdraw and apologise to me, for a start.

    Madam SPEAKER: I refer members to Speaker's ruling 47/4, for those who are interested in these matters, and I know that those who are participating in this matter are interested: 'It has traditionally been ruled that it is perfectly in order for members to say that the Government or a member has been influenced by somebody outside Parliament or has had advice from somebody outside Parliament. It is not in order to say that the Government or a member has been dominated by, has received instructions from, has received directions from, or has been dictated to by somebody outside Parliament.' That was the implication. Would the member then please withdraw and apologise. Rt Hon Winston Peters: I will not, because I have made it very clear where my allegation lay, and with respect that Speaker's ruling covers no such thing; there is no reference to this matter at all.

    Madam SPEAKER: I refer the member, then, to Speaker's ruling 47/1.

    Hon Richard Prebble: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. We have here deliberate defiance of the Speakership. Just asking Mr Peters to withdraw so that he can make some TV stunt is not sufficient. I believe he should be named. I take very great exception to what Mr Peters is saying. I say to you that, in my case-because I can speak only for myself-what he is saying is totally untrue.

    Rt Hon Winston Peters: If Mr Prebble and Mr Franks are offended by what I have said, then I apologise personally to those two members.

    Madam SPEAKER: The member has apologised. We will now move on to the next question.

    Rodney Hide: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. I, too, am offended by the Rt Hon Winston Peters' implication in what he said. I think you were right the first time you ruled-that he should withdraw and apologise totally.

    Madam SPEAKER: Would the member withdraw and apologise to all members of the ACT party in the House whom he was referring to in that statement.

    Rt Hon Winston Peters: I withdraw and apologise to all those members, whether or not they stood in support of Jim Peron.

    Madam SPEAKER: No; does the member withdraw and apologise?

    Rt Hon Winston Peters: I withdraw and apologise.

    Madam SPEAKER: The member withdraws and apologises. Would he please-

    Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. You happily allowed Mr Prebble to go on talking about me slandering people outside this House. Well, the test of that is that I am prepared, as I promised Rodney Hide, to say what I have said in a public press conference in an hour's time. I hope he turns up.

    Madam SPEAKER: That is not a point of order.
    Ref: - Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives

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