Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Fear and Loathing in Pakuranga

Recent accusations by Winston Peters about several former Iraqi citizens living in Pakuranga make me feel distinctly queasy.

The sheer predictability of Mr Peters' attacks against immigrant groups several months out from a general election is truly nauseating. Like clockwork the loaded language, conspiritorial innuendo, and appeal to our fear of difference get trotted out at the same point every electoral cycle.

In this case, he has taken a slightly different approach. A small number of local residents have been named in the House as having had involvement in Saddam Hussein's government, a claim that the men deny. The tactic seems to be do pin awful crimes upon a few individuals in the hope that this will stir up resentment against entire immigrant communities, and from this garner political capital.

Judging from recent reports the men are vigorously defending themselves against the allegations, and will not take the matter lying down. They flatly deny the vague allegations made, and suggest that Mr Peters' source may be someone with a personal grudge.

My view is that until such a time as Mr Peters has some specific and credible information to prove the unsuitability of the men concerned to settle here, he ought to shut up. If he does have this infomation then there are proper channels to direct it through - running a trial by media to cast suspicion upon whole immigrant communities in this fashion is a disgrace.

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