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Green MP Urges Compassion For Indian Family

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Keith Locke
Keith Locke

Wellington, Oct 5 NZPA - Green MP Keith Locke says the Government should show compassion and allow an Indian family with two New Zealand-born children to stay in the country.

Usha and Sital Ram have been overstaying in New Zealand and yesterday a bid to allow them to remain with children Hermani, aged eight, and twins Gagan and Gaurav, aged six, was rejected by Associate Immigration Minister Kate Wilkinson.

The parents are to be deported and are now deciding whether to take their children to live in a slum in India or leave them behind in Hawke's Bay where they may have a better life.

"I love my children, so so much, but what do I do?" Mrs Ram told the Dominion-Post.

"I can't take them to where there is nothing. I don't want to leave them but they are New Zealanders and would get a better life here."

Previous court decisions have found in favour of allowing parents to stay in the country to care for their locally born children and while in Opposition, the now Speaker, Lockwood Smith argued in favour of children's rights in those situations.

Green MP Keith Locke told NZPA that the Government was ignoring the rights of children which it had sworn to uphold when it agreed to an international convention.

"We are supposed to put the interests of children first and not put them at a disadvantage because of some problem with their parents status," he said.

"I think particularly in this case when they are aged six and eight they have been bought up essentially in New Zealand, they have New Zealand friends at New Zealand schools -- they are New Zealanders in every respect from citizenship to their way of life and situation and they should be able to stay here as a united family.

"It's not as if their parents have committed any great crime, why not let them stay?

"This is a chance to show compassion."

He did not think allowing the family to stay would set a bad precedent.

"I think you've always got to be flexible in the application of immigration rules. It is actually a long established principle around the world that if you've got well settled families who are technically overstayers... then that should be given consideration.

"It's not really setting a bad precedent its setting a humanitarian precedent."

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