It's now good enough for money to cross borders freely (after many long years when that wasn't the case); it's time that the same thing be made true for people.
The hunger-striking Ali Panah is the latest high-profile local case in which people are treated like cattle by a system in which coercion and brutality are so carelessly and bureaucratically inflicted on human beings who are simply seeking a better life. Frankly, I think Blair M. has the situation nailed:
If your problem with this is that the SIS has something on him, then let that case be made public. If your problem is that his conversion to Christianity may not be genuine, then be advised that it is irrelevant whether that's true or not -- his religion (or lack thereof) should be irrelevant in any moral decision made about the welcome he should receive in NZ.
Once again, the NZIS has messed up. Just as you can't tell anything about Ahmed Zaoui's security threat on the basis of information provided by an organisation that once bombed our harbour, no more can you assess Ali Panah on the basis that the Iranian authorites who buy our lamb say he'll be allright.
To send Ali Panah back to Iran is madness. This is obvious to anyone who knows anything about Iran and its brutal oppressive regime - a regime that our government is prepared to humour for the sake of our agricultural industry. But is the NZIS really that stupid?
Free the man, give him a temporary visa, let Dave Dobbyn write a song about him, let him eat something, and Welcome him Home.
And if your problem is that you think Mr Panah will be a claim on your wallet, then let him be released under the cognisance of a sponsor, whose legal and financial responsibility he will be. But don't let rumours and the gimlet-eyed coldness at the heart of the welfare state blind you to the consequences of refusing Mr Panah admission, or his death from starvation this week (if indeed it does come to that) will be on your conscience just as much as it should be on the conscience (if he has one) of immigration minister David Cunliffe.
Don't let his life be the collateral damage of your own twisted xenophophobia.