Kiwis could be affected by US government's entry rules

Nikki Preston, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Monday, 30 January 2017, 6:33AM
Trump at the Department of Defense (Getty Images)
Trump at the Department of Defense (Getty Images)

Kiwi travellers who may be affected by United States president Donald Trump's drastic move to temporarily ban travellers from certain Muslim nations entering the country should contact the US Consulate for advice.

The advice from MFAT and travel industry players comes after Trump made a sweeping executive order which he said was necessary to "stop radical Islamic terrorists" entering the US by enforcing a 90-day ban on citizens of Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia or Yemen, with also a 120-day suspension of the US refugee programme.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson told the Herald MFAT had not received any requests for consular assistance as a result of the 90 day US immigration ban - but said anyone needing advice regarding travel to the US should first contact the US Consulate General in Auckland.

"We are unable to intervene in the visa decisions or policy of other countries," the spokesperson said.

Air New Zealand spokeswoman Brigitte Ransom said customers who were booked with Air New Zealand and learned from the US Consulate that their travel would be affected should contact the airline to discuss their booking options.

Hello World chief executive Simon Mckearney said the travel agency had not given any advice to customers at this stage and was taking a "wait-and-see approach".

"It doesn't seem to be implying anything against general travellers to America it's more obviously targeting Muslims and refugees, which is the intention of the policy. The everyday Kiwi traveller you wouldn't think would be requiring visas and what not."

Meanwhile Green Party immigration spokeswoman Denise Roche said Prime Minister Bill English needed to follow France and Germany's lead and condemn Trump's racist law change to ban people from Muslim countries entering the US.

She also said New Zealand needed to help those affected by it.

"The National Government must immediately increase New Zealand's intake of Syrian refugees, given they are facing a huge humanitarian crisis and the United States has shut its doors to them."

English and Foreign Minister Murray McCully didn't respond to requests for comment last night. English has not yet received a call from Trump since the US President was sworn in, but is expected to hear from him in the next few days.

Labour leader Andrew Little also addressed the issue in his State of the Nation speech in Mt Albert yesterday, saying New Zealand would "never" take similar measures to the US.

Instead, this country could be a "beacon to the world", Little said.

Referring to Trump and the rise of the far right in Europe, the Labour leader said: "The places that used to light the world with their progressive thinking - their lights shine more dimly now.

"We can show there's a better path than isolation and bigotry. It's our turn to shine and to lead the way, to be New Zealand at its best."

The Human Rights Commission has also spoken against Trump's anti-Muslim stance and urged New Zealanders to support Muslim New Zealanders following the United States' temporary ban on immigration from some Middle Eastern nations.

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy said New Zealanders should not allow hatred and intolerance to spread and be normalised here, despite it happening overseas.

Dame Susan also reminded New Zealand politicians to keep it clean in the upcoming general election.

"We need to call out our own powerful decision-makers if they use racism and division to push their campaigns, but it should not just be up to me - all of us need to let them know that we have zero tolerance for hate politics in Aotearoa."

ON AIR: Kerre McIvor Mornings

9AM - 12PM