Open letter to Mr John Key
I want to thank you for the 8 best years of my life. New Zealand is a wonderful, beautiful country with the most amazing people. It was like losing the will to live when we had to leave on the 29th of December 2015.
In 2007 we really thought moving to New Zealand was the right thing after I was rejected by my own country for being white male and in a senior job. Yes it sounds harsh even unbelievable, but I was retrenched to make way for a person of colour as the company I worked for did not have enough B. E. E. (Black Economic Empowerment) points and therefore risked loosing their government contract.
Furthermore feel free to research South African employment ads of the time and you will notice almost all ads had the words “Affirmative Action” or “Black Economic Empowerment” in them, meaning, “if you are white, don't even bother applying”. Whilst looking into these facts also please look into the genuine facts and figures regarding the near genocidal proportions of murder on white farmers and, not far behind this, is the murder of innocent people, black and white, during house invasions and other property crimes.
This is the country you've sent us back to. After 8 years in a safe country, we are not equipped to live here anymore and are living in constant fear. But enough of the crime in South Africa. I'm sure anybody with half a brain and the ability to read and use the internet knows how bad things are in South Africa.
I have gone to your country as a relatively young man (44), yes overweight and with a damaged left knee, but I was healthy as and I walked without a limp. My knee was actually not to bad until the 22 February 2011 quake in Christchurch. (See my ACC claim regarding this.)Only mistake I made was being honest about my medical past on all the forms ever completed with regards to the immigration process. (And yes, I do know about a man who was diagnosed with kidney cancer just after he arrived in New Zealand, kept quiet about it and applied for and got permanent residency and then died of said cancer a few years later.)
As our case is well documented in the media all over the world, I don't see the necessity to explain it again, but it is with extreme sadness that I remember the two periods of forced unemployment in New Zealand and being made a liar in the media.
After telling us and confirming to a reporter that my 2011 residency and subsequently my work visa applications were declined due to my high BMI (Body Mass Index), and then later making me out to be a liar, saying my weight had nothing to do with it. Man how low can you go? I do realise that it wasn’t you personally, but ultimately the officials are answerable to you.
Furthermore, the fact that one has to cease working immediately when a visa is declined is inhumane (if I could use a stronger word without swearing, I would have used that). You won’t believe how quickly your funds disappear when this happen to you. How can you force people to stop working knowing full well that by taking away their ability to support themselves will also have a direct influence on their financial ability to appeal? It puts an unnecessary financial burden on the immigrant whilst having a negative effect on the employer of the immigrant and putting the onus on the community to help support the immigrant and their family. The very people you are professing to protect against the financial abuse by my future health care. There can be no easier way to force unwanted immigrants to leave the country, even while they are in an appeal grace period, than by crippling them financially and forcing them to do the one thing average human beings fear most, begging for help.
After our situation with Immigration New Zealand in 2013, we almost lost everything and were left with a mountain of debt. Unfortunately, even though we were not allowed to work, we still had to pay all the day to day expenses of any household and somehow survive. If it wasn't for the financial assistance we received from Kiwis during this period the situation would have been far worst. The Kiwis that I got to know and love would rather help someone when they are down than kick them in the teeth.
Back to 2015, we were still trying to recover financially from the 2013 situation and now, for a second time in two years, we were forced to stop working. So please tell me, after we have spent all the money we had to settle in New Zealand (and believe me INZ and all their demands, was one of the biggest recipients), why no compassion?
I know we could have appealed on humanitarian grounds, but you left us bankrupt. We didn’t have the finances to do it then or now. For goodness sake, we couldn't even pay our own airline tickets back to South Africa. We can’t do it from South Africa either because we are both unemployed (there is no WINZ in South Africa) so that leave us with no, zero, zilch income.
We had to sell all we possessed on this earth to leave without being deported. I can send you pictures, or better still, send one of your diplomats to come and see for themselves, how we are currently living. We went from being gainfully employed, happy and living in a beautiful house to a double bed mattress, two suitcases and two plastic 60Lt containers, living in my cousin’s dining room in his duplex flat. I'm sure this is not the way he, his wife and their three daughters want to live, but if it wasn't for them we would have been on the totally homeless. Oh yes, in case you were wondering, nothing have changed in the eight years we've been living in New Zealand, white males are still at the bottom regarding employment, closely followed by white females. (I do know this as we both have been applying, unsuccessfully, for employment since arriving in December.)
Yes I made a mistake, I “unknowingly/naively” worked at the Honeypot Café/Geraldine Town and Country Club and waited until my visa was about to expire before I reapplied and did I know better, I would have made a plan sooner to amend my visa. Now suddenly, because of this, I'm not a bona fide worker anymore, after eight years? If it was up to the people we got to know me really well in the Geraldine area, we would be made citizens. Also, what happened to your promise early in 2015, to help ± 500 people on the South Island, that have been on work visas longer than five years, to get permanent residence? My wife and I were ecstatic when we heard this news and we were sure we were two of the ± 500. Also see the article about the shortage of good Chef’s (http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/294585/not-enough-cooks-in-the-kitchen), and believe me when I tell you that I am an excellent Chef.
We are good people, I know it in my heart, asking you to forgive my mistake and let us come home. We have now reached rock bottom, no more money, no employment in the near future. I know you have the power to grant us a pardon.
Also please take into consideration that I was 44 when I started working in New Zealand, but I am 53 now, we built all our hopes and dreams on living in our beloved New Zealand, we spend all of our life savings to move and settle in New Zealand, how do I start from the bottom again.
Please have some compassion and let us return home.