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Asian MPs talk crime and immigration

Radio New Zealand logo Radio New Zealand 12/06/2017

New Zealand First MP Mahesh Bindra and Labour MP Raymond Huo outside Parliament. © Jane Patterson/RNZ New Zealand First MP Mahesh Bindra and Labour MP Raymond Huo outside Parliament. Every Asian family Labour MP Raymond Huo has ever met has been burgled, he says.

Mr Huo told RNZ’s political editor Jane Patterson Asians felt they were being targeted by criminals in attacks on their homes and businesses, in this new Voices podcast about issues important to Asian voters ahead of the September election.

That could be partly as a result of the stereotype that Asians are wealthier than other people, he said.

New Zealand First MP Mahesh Bindra and Labour MP Raymond Huo standing outside Parliament.New Zealand First MP Mahesh Bindra and Labour MP Raymond Huo outside Parliament. Photo: Jane Patterson/RNZ “Chinese families, anecdotally, they do carry cash.”

He said the community was also targeted because Asian crimes were seriously under-reported because of language barriers and cultural differences.

“Many migrant community members do not feel safe at home or at work,” - Raymond Huo New Zealand First’s Mahesh Bindra said the concerns of Asian communities mirror those of "mainstream Kiwi society; affordable housing, good education for the kids, well-paying jobs (and) quality heath care".

On the issue of crime, he pointed out that many Indian families ran their own cash businesses, including dairies, liquor stores and petrol stations.

"Not out of choice but out of compulsion to do their business they have to have some cash flow in the tills, and also their everyday customers do not always use a card, it’s mainly paid in cash – so that makes them very easy targets for these criminals."

The Indian business community was very frustrated by the police’s "pathetic", slow response to crimes, he said.

"Ranging from a couple of days, to three days, if at all they turn up.

"For more serious crimes like somebody getting hurt, I’ve been told that communities feel that the police wait till somebody’s hurt."

On the subject of immigration, another topic covered in the interview, both New Zealand First and the Labour Party have called for cuts in the number of immigrants coming to this country.

Mr Huo said immigration was "always about balance. At the moment we have not kept up (with) the growth in population. New Zealand investment in infrastructure lags seriously behind".

Mr Bindra said that New Zealand First was not against immigration, but instead what he called a "mass, unfocused, open-door policy".

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