March 25, 2021
Pathway to residence would cleanse dawn raid stain
A founder of the Polynesian Panthers says the best way to apologise for the dawn raids is to create a pathway to residency for current overstayers from the Pacific Islands.
The Greens are calling for an apology for 1970s' policy which had police and immigration officials searching homes, schools and workplaces for Pacific Islanders to deport – while ignoring the greater number of people from Europe who had also overstayed their permits.
Will 'Ilolahia, who was part of the group of young Pacific Islanders and Māori who fought back against the policy and other forms of discrimination, says dawn raids started under Labour, and the present Government should face up to its legacy in a practical way – starting with the 10,000 overstayers in New Zealand now.
"I've got cases of present overstayers who have been here more than 10 years who pay taxes, who have had their whānau excel in representing the motu in different areas of sport, who have been working all that time but getting ripped off by their employers because they know these workers won't move on because they are so happy to just get a job," he says.
Mr 'llolahia says an apology is overdue but it would be empty without action.
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