A Green Party member’s bill pulled from the ballot today would strike an anti-Pacific racist law from the country’s books and help heal the wrongs of the past.
“Forty years ago the Government passed a law stripping people from Western Samoa of the automatic right to New Zealand citizenship. It is a racist law and it is time to strike it off the books,” says the Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson.
Teanau Tuiono’s Restoring Citizenship Removed By Citizenship (Western Samoa) Act 1982 Bill would restore the right to citizenship for people from Western Samoa who were born between 1924 and 1949, as had been promised to them.
“In 1982, the Muldoon Government rushed through the Citizenship (Western Samoa) Act to deny New Zealand citizenship to Western Samoans.
“Earlier that year, the Privy Council found that because those born in Western Samoa were treated by New Zealand law as “natural-born British subjects”, they were entitled to New Zealand citizenship when it was first created in 1948. But the Muldoon Government took that right away - choosing racism over the rule of law.
“There are people alive today who were not just entitled to become New Zealand citizens, but who were New Zealand citizens – but whom the government stopped being citizens because it didn’t like where they were born.
“It is possible to trace a direct line from the inequities that Pacific peoples face today to the widespread anti-Pacific racism of the Dawn Raids era.
“Aotearoa is a Pacific nation. The interconnectedness of our whakapapa and history across Te Moana nui a Kiwa is as extensive and deep as the moana itself.
“Supporting this bill is the bare minimum we can do to acknowledge the mistakes of the past and for us to move forward,” says Marama Davidson.