Ryan Bridge: Kiwi politeness opens us up to immigration fraud

Opinion 24/10/2019

Us Kiwis are an awfully polite collection of people, aren't we?

We're always bending over backwards to please others, saying yes and please and thank you. Someone bumps into you on the street and you say "sorry sorry sorry sorry" even though it was their fault!

That's just what we do. It's a fantastic trait - it shows we're respectful of others.

But sometimes, just sometimes, it gets us into trouble - people can take advantage of our good nature, and that's potentially what's been happening on the immigration front.

When a new immigrant wants to bring their spouse to this country they usually have to prove they've been living together for at least a year. This helps avoid immigration fraud where people pretend they're married to get into the country. We've seen it before

Except that until a few months ago our immigration officials were waiving this requirement in some cases. Why?

They were worried about Indian couples feeling upset because they have arranged marriages - they don't live together before marriage. So it's very hard to prove you're in a committed relationship when actually, you haven't been.

Some people say we should respect their culture and open the border gates. 

I say no. We must respect ourselves and protect ourselves from immigration fraud at all costs, and besides, these are our rules and they apply equally to everyone no matter your race, your colour, your sexuality. 

We're entitled to have rules, aren't we?

We're also allowed to have our own cultural practices that others should respect. 

Despite the instinct to please, to bend over backwards to be overly polite, we should also not shy away from protecting ourselves and this wonderful beautiful country we've built together from fraud.

Ryan Bridge is a co-host of The AM Show and host of Magic Talk Drive.