Thursday, 6 November 2008

some great policy

more policies are coming up on the labour party website. a couple that i'm particularly interested in are the immigration policy and the family violence policy.

in terms of immigration, i'm really pleased with the immigration advocacy policy. i think it's long overdue. most electorate offices of MPs spend a majority of time on immigration work, which means the government is already paying for it. i'd much rather we had specialist advocacy service, which would mean properly trained staff. it would actually save the nz immigration service time, because staff would ensure that all applications and related documents were filed correctly.

one of the worst problems with NZIS at the moment is the contradictory advice you get if you ask them a question on detail. talk to two different staff members, and you'll get to completely different answers to the same question. they rarely give out anything in writing, so you're unable to challenge them. it's really frustrating. having an adequate advocacy service that provides the right answers and guidance to potential migrants will smooth the process and make settlement much easier.

another issue is that there is new legislation for oversight of immigration consultants, which is an attempt to clean up that particular industry. however, for the new system to work, potential migrants must have the language skills and the money to make a complaint. having the advisory service will assist those migrants who have just paid all available cash to a shonky consultant, and aren't otherwise in a position to make a complaint.

from the family violence policy, i'm particularly interested in this bit:

Labour will fund an available and appropriate forensic evidential support service for victims of rape (for example the Sexual Assault Referral Centre model in the United Kingdom or Australia).

The aim of this initiative is to ensure that any evidence gathered by the support service can be stored and the evidence and reports from the service be admissible as evidence in any subsequent criminal or civil proceedings.

Not all victims of violence wish to make a complaint to the police immediately. Having Sexual Assault Referral Centres in place would ensure all victims of violence could easily access a service that can document any injuries and gather forensic evidence to support a prosecution in the future should the victim choose to make a complaint. This allows the evidence to be gathered outside of a police investigation but preserves the integrity of the evidence should it be required later.

this is a great proposal, and will definitely need a labour-led government to implement. because it's just the kind of area of expenditure that is encaptured by the term "bloated bureaucracy" used so often by the national party.

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