National is considering going to the police about the dealings of Labour MP Phillip Field...
Excuse me, but what the heck? When examples of real corruption over serious constitutional issues arise, the parliamentary opposition is silent. Minor scandals like this however, and they're all over them -- and regardless of your views of the propriety or otherwise of Field's helping would-be immigrants (and I do have mine), it is only a minor quibble. Minor things obsess Her Majesty's Opposition. Sign a painting you didn't do, throw a tennis ball, or have a nose to tail in a ministerial car, and this opposition are all over it like gonorrhea in an STD clinic.
However when serious constitutional issues arise such as taking Helen Clark to court over her misappropriation of public money in order to run for office, and the parliamentary opposition parties have this to say: "
. . . . . . . ." That's right. They're as quiet as a man who's just received a course of treatment at the STD clinic. It's somewhat enlightening about their priorities, wouldn't you say?
And what's this: The Nats don't just want to dob Field into the police for ... um ... well, they're not sure really, but on top of that they say they "might also alert other Government agencies ... to accusations that the MP used 'slave labour'."
Are they kidding? Have they looked at a dictionary? Let's check. Wikipedia defines "slave labour" as:
A condition of control over a person against their will, enforced by
violence or other forms of coercion. Slavery almost always occurs for the
purpose of securing the labor of the person concerned. A specific form, known as
chattel slavery, implies the legal ownership of a person or persons.
Did Field have any ownership at all over the Thai would-be immigrants? No. Did they paint and tile his house against their will? No. Did he coerce them? No -- and no one has adduced any evidence he did.
If there was any coercion of these would-be immigrants -- of the restless refuse of teeming Thai shores who were here and yearning to breathe free -- they found it in our absurdly restrictive immigration laws, which left their lives and families in limbo and gave anyone who chose to use it the whip hand over their lives. Instead of coercing them however, as immigration offficials eventually did, Field helped them. I for one have no problem with that. I do however have a problem with the immigration laws that made such help necessary, and that left them so desperate.
If there is one good thing that could come from all this, it is this: With our immigration laws on the table and presently under review, it might be time to realise that would-be immigrants are not cattle, they are human beings. Let peaceful people pass borders freely. With that policy in place, situations like those under discussion just wouldn't even occur.
LINKS: National gets tough on Field - NZ Herald
Darnton Vs Clark - trial website
Definitions for slave labour on the web - Wikipedia
Phillip Field - Not PC (Peter Cresswell)
TAGS: Immigration, Politics-NZ, Politics-National, Politics-ACT