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03 May 2006
The New Zealand government wants to modernize and simplify the legislation to establish a fair and fast decision-making process to protect the country's interests. There are, however, plenty of public concerns with a few of the new proposals.
Critics of the proposals say some of the suggestions are contrary to natural justice and open to abuse. One suggestion includes the usage of classified information in the decision making process, but the information would not be shown to the migrant seeker so there will be no way to respond to the information or appeal the decision.
"The proposal totally infringes on natural justice," said Dr Jane Verbitsky, a social sciences professor at Auckland University of Technology.
Professor Verbitsky further criticised the proposal under which the residency applicant would be given a special counsel only upon an appeal.
"But the special counsel can't tell the applicant what the classified information is, so how can they make a case for appeal?"
Immigration lawyer Ken Oh was concerned at the proposal to grant immigration officers the powers of search and entry.
"These powers could be abused by immigration officers."
Department of Labour officials say that policy details were yet to be worked out but assured that safeguards would be put in place to ensure that the provisions of the Bill of Rights were upheld.