Google
WWW CFIR Dallas

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

STUFF : POLITICS - STORY : New Zealand's leading news and information website

STUFF : POLITICS - STORY : New Zealand's leading news and information website

BREAKING NEWS


NZ NEWSPAPERS

NATIONAL NEWS

WORLD NEWS

SPORT

BUSINESS

WEATHER

POLITICS
Opinion
Cartoons

HEALTH

TECHNOLOGY

ENTERTAINMENT

ODDSTUFF

RURAL

INSIGHT

TRAVEL

FOOD & WINE

MOTORING

CARTOON GALLERY

PHOTO GALLERY

TV LISTINGS

CROSSWORDS

HOROSCOPES

COMPETITIONS

NZ MAGAZINES

SUBSCRIPTIONS

YOUR SAY



MAKE STUFF MY HOME

ABOUT STUFF

FEEDBACK












© Fairfax New Zealand Limited 2004. All the material on this page has the protection of international copyright. All rights reserved
SEARCH STUFF WEB HEADLINES ALERT







P O L I T I C S S T O R Y
RELATED LINKS
» Have your say

» Subscribe to Archivestuff






Immigration Service investigating 'insult' to Tongan official
17 June 2004

Reports New Zealand insulted a senior Tongan official with demands she take a pregnancy test are being investigated, Immigration Service operations manager Steve Jones said today.


Meleseni Lomu, 49, Tonga's acting secretary for finance, was to have accompanied Tonga's finance minister to Rotorua last week for a four-day meeting of Pacific Forum economic ministers.

She stayed at home when service officials in Tonga demanded she take a pregnancy test prior to a visa being issued.

Mr Jones said several aspects of the case, which he first heard about today, did not add up.

He had contacted the New Zealand Immigration Service manager in Tonga to find out what had taken place.

He had asked the manager "to talk to Mrs Lomu, to get to the bottom of this".

It appeared Mrs Lomu had a multiple entry visa to New Zealand issued to her in April, Mr Jones said.

She had used it twice to transit through New Zealand.

"I am at a loss to understand why she should be applying for a visa to come in June, when she would appear to have the documentation to be able to travel.

"We just need some clarity around it."

All his evidence suggested Mrs Lomu had not been asked for a pregnancy test, he said.

"She's a senior diplomatic Tongan travelling on a diplomatic passport, she was 49 years old at the time of application.

"Even with the most stern regime in the world I can't imagine that we would have asked her to do a pregnancy test in any case.

"It's a little bit mysterious at this point.

"If a diplomat was uncomfortable with any issue regarding immigration she could have gone to the high commission and it would have been instantly resolved."

Mrs Lomu pulled out of the trip after being told by New Zealand officials that she would have to take a pregnancy test to get a visa, The Dominion Post reported today.

The New Zealand high commission in Nuku'alofa offered to waive the test if she agreed to an interview with an immigration officer but she declined, she said.

"I did not want to go for the interview because obviously they just want to have a look at me and see whether I am pregnant."

The service introduced pregnancy tests last year to stem the flow of women giving birth while visiting New Zealand.

It last month apologised to Tongans for causing offence.

Mrs Lomu, who has visited New Zealand many times, is the Tongan equivalent of New Zealand's deputy secretary of the Treasury.

She said the new requirement was discriminatory and insulting.

Her minister had asked the high commissioner if it was true she had to undergo a pregnancy test.

"He said, 'Yes, it's for all women.' He asked whether there's an exemption (for officials) and he said at this stage there is no exemption but he will try and assist and the alternative given was for an interview."

Mrs Lomu, who has a husband and two children in Tonga, said she had not been asked to have a pregnancy test before visiting any other country.

Last month, Tongan community leaders told a parliamentary committee that Tongan women, many with strong Christian beliefs, found New Zealand's new policy hurtful.

Immigration Minister Paul Swain then told officials to ensure no one ethnic group was unfairly targeted by a pregnancy testing policy.

In the past 11 months, 5500 visa applications have been made by Tongans wanting to visit New Zealand.

Green MP Keith Locke said pregnancy testing was an insult to visitors which blackened New Zealand's good name.

"The only solution is for the Minister of Immigration to order an immediate end to pregnancy testing," Mr Locke said.

"No one should be discriminated against on the basis of their gender or child-bearing status."



0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home