WelCom March 2019:
On the eve of Waitangi Day, Regional Economical Development Minister Shane Jones spoke about the Provincial Growth Fund at Mangahoa Station, a Landcorp farm near Kaikohe. Fr James Lyons responds to some of the Minister’s comments.
An outburst of divisive rhetoric just ahead of Waitangi Day, by Regional Economic Development Minister, Shane Jones, is not what most people would expect from a responsible politician.
It was shameful and disturbing and must surely trouble his cabinet colleagues.
Shane Jones told a Northland rural audience he’d ‘had a gutsful’ of the New Zealand farming industry bringing in ‘Filipino Catholic immigrants’. The implication was that they were taking work away from New Zealanders.
‘We are going to do the bloody work ourselves,’ he exclaimed in his speech, reported in the Dominion Post newspaper on February 5, to a big round of applause.
He went on to say that ‘the Catholic Church had done well financially from the influx of Filipino workers into New Zealand’.
While he apparently made no further mention of this in his address, his words are not helpful to racial or cultural tolerance.
Reported just a day before Waitangi Day, with its emphasis on unity, harmony and respect, this Minister of the Crown showed an appalling lack of judgement, shaming himself in the process.
Yes, there has been a big influx of Filipino immigrants to New Zealand in recent years. But I have not seen evidence that they are taking jobs away from New Zealanders.
Also worrying is Shane Jones’ assumption that the all Filipinos are Catholic and that they all support the Catholic Church. While there are certainly good numbers of Filipinos in our pews, there are no signs of a financial boon for the Church because of their presence.
Shane Jones has shamed the Waitangi spirit at the very time the country needs its vision and