Monday, 23 January 2012

how did that happen?

oh no, can it be that i agree with winston peters? it appears that i do:

Rt Hon Winston Peters says it is hard to understand how Dotcom passed the “good character” requirements for New Zealand residency.

“It has been reported that Dotcom is known in Germany as a notorious computer hacker and has been convicted of insider trading yet immigration authorities let him settle here under the so-called investor-plus category.

“The prime minister should order an immediate inquiry by a qualified person to see who was involved in this immigration scandal and ensure that it doesn’t happen again.”

well i agree with the bit above anyway. then he goes back to form about the slack immigration service, saddam's henchmen, blahblahblah. not only predictably boring, but annoying because it detracts from a couple of really valid points.

i can't say i know much about the actual case at hand re megaupload. behind not very clever with the technology stuff, i don't really download anything, not even legal stuff, except maybe some bits and pieces from youtube and a couple of free songs from yusuf islam. i am so uncool that i don't own anything by way of MP3 player, e-reader, tablet or smartphone (i barely know what some of these mean).

so really, no big deal for me when these guys got busted. as to whether they are found guilty of anything, i'm quite happy to leave that to the courts. there are arguments to be made about profiteering by the music industry and the big movie companies, and i don't see why any particular person is absolutely entitled to tens of millions of dollars in profits for a particular creative effort. which is why i have a lot of time for j k rowling, who is at least trying to give back to her fans via the pottermore site (which i've never visited so don't really know what that's about either).

but really, the copyright issues aren't so important to me in this particular case (SOPA & PIPA are quite something else, but again i'm not informed enough to comment). it does bother me that someone can pay $10 million to buy residency in this country. i don't see why we should be accepting people just because we want to attract investment.

and while it's good to have cashflow into the country, it annoys me that we think people with money have more to contribute than people without money. the way we value people and their contributions is seriously flawed. to me, the women who come here to work in our resthomes or who end up working as cleaners make an extremely valuable contribution to society. the people who end up running dairies and other small businesses, those who come to work as nurses: just because they don't bring in millions doesn't mean they aren't enriching our country with their presence and their efforts.

i actually object to the notion that people with money get an easier path to immigration. there's no reason for it, and if they want to be investing significant sums here, they can clearly do that without being residents (crafar farms for example).

for that reason, i'm in agreement with mr peters that there should be an inquiry into this particular case. i'd go further and say that there needs to be an independent body outside of immigration, similar to the health & disability commissioner, the prisons inspectorate or the independent police complaints authority, to which complaints can be made. immigration nz needs to know that they will be held accountable by a body that is outside of their influence.

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