New Zealand: New Immigration Minister Reviewing Restrictive Immigration Policies

Owing to the results of the November 28 election, Minister of Immigration Tuariki Delamere was ousted from office. The new Labour Party appointee to the position, Lianne Dalziel, has announced her intentions to review the recent changes Delemere had made to New Zealand's immigration regulations to exclude refugees and immigrants who are HIV-positive.

According to a recent article in the New Zealand Herald, Ms. Dalziel does not agree that keeping PWA refugees and immigrants out of New Zealand is a good way to stop the virus spreading, but she is concerned about the costs of health care.

Body Positive and APN+, the Asia-Pacific Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS, urgently request that supporters write to Ms. Dalziel--immediately, as she may make her decision quickly--to urge her not to retain the unfairly discriminatory policies introduced by her predecessor a few weeks ago, especially with regard to refugees.

Please write to Ms. Dalziel at Parliament House, Wellington, New Zealand (no other detail of address required), or send a message through the Immigration Department's website: Go to http://www.immigration.govt.nz/faq/ and click on the line for further questions at the bottom of the page. Please ignore any personal questions you do not wish to answer and write your message in the space available.

You may wish to make some of the following points:

  • The World Health Organization and the United Nations Commission on Human Rights have strongly condemned policies of mandatory HIV screening and travel restrictions. These discriminatory policies have no public health rationale and violate the human rights of PLWHA.
  • The measures that former Minister Delemere proposed carry the possibility of creating a false sense of security among the population, passively encouraging people to engage in unprotected sex, rather than protecting New Zealanders. The measures also imply an outdated stigma that HIV-positive people are unqualified dangers to society, in need of containment. Rather, as the World Health Assembly has urged since its formation in 1949, public health measures should emphasize the development of internal resistance to disease within each country, rather than draconian measures taken at its borders.
  • Applaud New Zealand's successful efforts to reduce the rate of HIV infection within its borders and its remarkable human rights record demonstrated in the Human Rights Act of 1993, which protects against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and HIV-status. Rescinding the restrictive measures that Delemere instituted would prove a positive step that continues within this progressive tradition.