Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Dirty Politics

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  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Paul Campbell,

    I was really annoyed at the amount of paperwork I had to provide to get my daughter's citizenship. Passports, citizenship, births, deaths and marriages, these are all part of Internal Affairs. They have a website. Surely they have computers? Databases? Networked? Surely a copy of my passport, certified by the embassy here in Beijing, should be enough for them to see that I'm a citizen by birth and therefore my daughter is entitled to citizenship by descent?

    So on day I'm going to have to get my daughter full citizenship - she's 3, so we have time - but with closed offices and a website with broken links....

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    But it’s hard to see how it could be otherwise without giving automatic citizenship to people three or four generations removed from a connection to NZ.

    Well, no. What Danielle said is an example of how that wouldn't happen. Internal Affairs already has records of who's coming and going when, shouldn't be too hard for them to figure out that so-and-so who is a citizen by descent most likely lives in NZ, judging by the amount of time they've spent in the country, and so can click over to full citizenship.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    The question of how countries decide who gets citizenship is a different (but still interesting) issue. My cousin wouldn't get citizenship if she were born in NZ now, because the rules have changed and you no longer get citizenship just by being born here; you need to have an NZ-citizen parent as well.

    When you extend citizenship down the generations, but don't allow citizenship by birth, you end up with some curious circumstances.
    My children have Irish citizenship because their great-grandfather was Irish and Ireland allows continuous inheritance of citizenship so long as you sign up within (18 months? 2 years?) of birth. But Ireland no longer allows citizenship by right of birth. So my children, who have spent a total of 10 days in Ireland, have the right to live and work there - and the concommitant advantages of being EU citizens - while some children who were born there don't. That seems pretty peculiar to me.
    (Neither they nor my husband have the right to vote there. Do you think they should?)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    If anyone can present evidence

    Considering accurate stats don't seem to exist and people are mostly just guessing at the number of expat Kiwis, that would seem to be a pretty difficult task. What I can tell you is that I've been in China 15 years, more or less, and will be moving back to NZ in early March. Others on this thread have mentioned having lived overseas for periods ranging from 4 up to 20 years and have returned. My experience - limited to China, which is probably not very comparable to Anglo countries - is that expats never really have 'Home' far from their minds, and that although home is where they're living now, capital H Home is their home countries, in which they're still well invested, at least emotionally and, ummmm...., identificationally (if that's a word that makes sense). And those who break off their ties to the country of their birth aren't particularly interested in voting in elections there.

    And yes, as I'm pretty sure has already been pointed out, the outcome of NZ elections does affect us.

    So, I'm cool with being denied an electorate vote because I don't live in any NZ electorate (yet), but I don't see why I should be denied a party vote.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    Do you think they should?

    If they're citizens, yes, they should have that right. Would they? That's the real question. We all have rights we don't exercise. People who don't feel invested in a country generally don't tend to suddenly decide they're going to exercise their right to vote.

    I think Ireland provides a good example of why NZ citizenship by descent is a "2nd class citizenship" - the fact that children of a citizen by descent born outside NZ can't claim citizenship prevents an Irish-style situation from developing. Which is probably a good thing - imagine if all those entitled to Irish citizenship all decided to move to Ireland. That one rather small island would be swamped. And it is my experience that those born and raised in Ireland don't consider diaspora Irish to be really Irish. Well, Europeans generally: "So what if you're great great great great grandparents left Norway/Ireland/Scotland wherever decades ago? You're not one of us, you're American/Canadian/Australian/New Zealand/Argentine/whatever". So perhaps Ireland needs to fix its citizenship law.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    My experience – limited to China, which is probably not very comparable to Anglo countries – is that expats never really have ‘Home’ far from their minds, and that although home is where they’re living now, capital H Home is their home countries, in which they’re still well invested, at least emotionally and, ummmm…., identificationally (if that’s a word that makes sense).

    "Home" is a funny word, often it seems to be the place you're not - living 20 years in the US "home" was always NZ, not long after we moved back it started referring to Oakland - now , 10 years later, I think we realise that both places are home and always will be

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    you need to have an NZ-citizen parent as well.

    Or a permanent-resident parent.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    if you’ve been away from New Zealand for the length of time after which two-thirds of NZers overseas don’t come back, you’re probably not coming back, so you don’t get to decide what happens here.

    That’s all pretty arbitrary. Why choose two-thirds and not 95%, or 99%? Why is “probably not coming back” grounds to lose the vote, and why should that only be assessed on the length of absence?

    To me it seems that people only do actually vote if they feel engaged with the country. That’s a pretty good deciding line right there. Not a lot of people will go out of their way to cast a special vote when they really couldn’t give a toss who the candidates are on account of the zero impact it has on their lives. But people who feel that they do have a stake, probably through continual contact with family and friends, should still be able to vote.

    I accept my line is also arbitrary. But I tend to favour lines that give people rights, rather than take them away. Especially when the right is as hard won as getting to vote. It seems to me that the people themselves are in the best position to decide how much their country means to them, much more so than an inflexible rule that is very impractical for people from a remote island.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Sorry to interrupt the discussion people, but we have a hint at the Dotcom announcement which is due on Monday.

    This morning on TV3's The Nation, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald said that New Zealand's spying agencies had been conducting mass surveillance on New Zealanders as part of the Five Eyes arrangement between the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

    There's a good chance that Greenwald has documentary proof, probably from the Snowden files, as John Key has already dissed Greenwald as "Dotcom's little henchman" and accused him of being "part of a Dotcom smear campaign to swing the election."

    "There is no mass surveillance of New Zealanders by GCSB, and there never has been mass surveillance of New Zealanders by GCSB.

    "Now in the fullness of time we'll respond to Dotcom's little henchman, but mark my words, he's wrong."

    Key said what the GCSB did do was "provide support to agencies like the police if required".

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1440 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart,

    What if the GCSB analyses data on New Zealanders provided by its 5 eyes partners? In that case JK's claim that the GCSB doesn't carry out mass surveillance of New Zealanders would be (technically) true but Greenwald's assertion that mass surveillance of New Zealanders by our spying agencies is occurring could also be true, because of their analysis and use of the data.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Angela Hart,

    I've been wondering whether in fact the Five Eyes partners merely have an agreement whereby they analyse each others' data. That way each state could claim full deniability, as Key has done many times, while enjoying the "benefits" of massive surveillance operations being conducting against their own citizens. So Waihopai could be processing all US data (for example).

    Or is that tipping too much of nod towards the tinfoil hats?

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1440 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    From reading the GCSB Act 2003, it’s pretty clear (to me at least) that if the GCSB is/was engaged in any content* spying on New Zealanders, it would have to be doing so under s8C, on behalf of the Police, the Defence Force, or the SIS. If that’s the case, then although it’s technically the GCSB doing the spying, the buck stops with whichever of those agencies requested the GCSB spy on their behalf.

    Content spying on New Zealanders, whether gathered by GCSB or its 5-eyes partners, would be illegal (s8B) unless it was gathered under s8C, in which case GCSB wouldn’t have to rely on 5-eyes partners to do it.

    John Key could also say that GCSB doesn’t carry out mass surveillance of New Zealanders by arguing that it’s not “mass” surveillance if it doesn’t include, I don’t know, Stewart Island; or by arguing that it doesn’t count as the GCSB doing it if it’s being done on behalf of another agency. “Well, at the end of the day, I think you’ll find, technuckly, that it’s eckshly the Pleece doing their job to keep ordunry kiwis safe”. Or something

    *I’m trying to distinguish between metadata and communications content. There is a difference between recording that you sent an email to someone at a particular time, and actually reading what was in the email. Metadata spying is still mass surveillance, but probably less likely to bother the John Key fanclub than content spying. i.e. metadata spying would not be the bombshell Dotcom is hoping for, but content spying would be.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Alfie,

    Or is that tipping too much of nod towards the tinfoil hats?

    No tinfoil needed. Revelations about other 5eyes countries indicates that exactly this scenario does occur. But it's only one activity. I'm interested to see if there are others. The illegal surveillance against Dotcom, and 80+ other NZ individuals (or other individuals on 80+ separate occasions - I'm not 100% sure on that), indicates they're prepared to go further than pass the parcel with their partners.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

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    They heard it through the grapevines…

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

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    Max Headroom on the ides of September...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    So ... here's a non-exhaustive list of journalists attacked by John Key:

    John Stephenson, for going to Afghanistan and reporting in detail about the region and its conflict(s)

    Nicky Hager, for informing the public about matters of serious public interest, while taking pains to protect private lives

    Glenn Greenwald, for winning a Pulitzer Prize

    Steven Sackur, for having the affrontery to interview him properly

    and sundry other "knuckleheads" who simply do their job.

    And a non-exhaustive list of journalists (sic) who do meet his approval, being a "force of nature" ...

    Cameron Slater.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1332 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    My experience – limited to China, which is probably not very comparable to Anglo countries – is that expats never really have ‘Home’ far from their minds, and that although home is where they’re living now, capital H Home is their home countries, in which they’re still well invested, at least emotionally and, ummmm…., identificationally

    And that’s putting it pretty mildly Chris. Though I’m not completely au fait with the 2013 China visa revisions, I’ll assume (and correct me if I’m wrong) that for a large portion of your time in China you’ve been on year long (Z) working visas, issued by your University, restricting you from working anywhere except that University. I’ll also bet the house you’ve never legally bought any land here.

    In the eventuality that for whatever reason you left that job at any time, you would then have been faced with cancellation of the visa and the prospect of either 3 months to find a new job/ get a family (L) visa/ leave the country and be separated from your family. If you had not found a compatible job within that time and instead been forced to procure the year long family visa, you would not have been eligible to work, but if on the family visa you had then found a job in a company qualified to provide working visas you would have again had to submit to the invasive medical in order to garner another year long stay.

    For my own part I got tired of the rigmarol, I was unwilling to submit to more needles, and found bequeathing an employer that much power untenable. So despite being married to a Chinese citizen and having lived here over 10 years, I settled for the freshly minted low frills family visa meaning I’m ineligible to work and must leave and reenter the country every 60 days and in each instance I must reregister with the police or face fines of 100NZD a day. Some, many even, may categorize this as a privilege. But with that kind of security/ stability, letting the capital H drift far from mind is not in any way a realistic proposition.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Chris Waugh, in reply to mark taslov,

    Yep.

    China certainly doesn't encourage its foreign residents to settle down.

    On the other hand, there's no shortage of foreigners resident in China who just don't want to settle down, who'd much rather isolate themselves in an expat ghetto.

    And in between is, I suspect, most of us who find our own limits of how settled we can get. Friends have told me they always thought of me as a lifer, and now I'm on my way out. Well, it was having a child that showed me where my limit is.

    But I guess my point is no matter how China welcomes its foreign guests, there aren't that many foreigners here who stop thinking of their home country as Capital H Home.

    Oh, and the legendary permanent residence (hahaha!) is possible to get. I know one guy who managed it. It was not easy, as I'm sure you can imagine.

    ETA: Needles? Should only be necessary for those coming in on a new visa. At least here in Beijing the medical is not required for those renewing a residence permit. Still, I did have to do it when I escaped Tianjin, but I suspect that had more to do with the incompetence of the school than any requirement.

    And a trip out every 60 days wouldn't be so bad for those in the Pearl Delta who could just pop over to HK or Macao for a weekend, but in the rest of the country, wow, that'd get really expensive really quickly...

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    I know one guy who managed it.

    !!!

    ETA: Needles?

    Yeah, only if you’d not found work in the 3 month window and been forced to switch to a family L to remain in the country before finding a new job . Not for standard Z renewals, just the transfer back to Z. In the past I've been in the position of accepting a less than ideal position or holding out for something better/ needles. And yes, you’re quite right, that was my reason for moving down to Shenzhen. A friend based in Shanghai, who was in a similar boat, was visiting me every few months until recently. ¥.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    I know people in Shenzhen whom simply take the subway to the end of the line every couple of months, cross out, back in. Others who actually live in Shenzhen and commute to work in HK (their passports fill up ....)

    I'm the proud owner of am APEC business card (costs about the same in NZ as a single visa to China) theoretically it can be used for the 60 day thing though I'm think more likely occasional 1-2 month long stays are in my future

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming,

    How to tell when your PM is terrified:

    "The Prime Minister has admitted for the first time that New Zealand spies did look into a form of mass surveillance on Kiwis, but never actually went through with it.

    John Key was responding to the arrival of journalist Glenn Greenwald, with thousands of documents taken by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden that he says prove New Zealanders have been subjected to wholesale spying by the Government.

    Mr Key has always said that he would resign if that was proven, but tonight he's launched a counterattack.

    Mr Greenwald claims he will produce evidence that could take down the Prime Minister, but just a short while ago Mr Key hit back and upped the ante big time, promising to get ahead of Mr Greenwald and declassify top-secret documents that will prove him wrong.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart, in reply to nzlemming,

    yup, for the first time JK knows he needs to take an allegation seriously and produce evidence to the contrary. If he does, how can we know that it's the full and accurate story though? Given how much he claims not to know and not to want to know.

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Angela Hart,

    It's even more interesting than that. The Minister in charge of the SIS/GCSB is not permitted to use information gained by or about them for political purposes. Which this would obviously be. Gentlemen, start your lawyers ;-)

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2935 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

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    Kia Ora Welcome to New Zealand Mr Greenwald.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

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