Minister Slams NZAMI Chairman's Comments

  • Max Bradford

Immigration Minister Max Bradford has slammed a speech by the chairman of the New Zealand Association of Migration and Investment at the association's annual conference today.

"I was astounded at the comments from NZAMI chairman David Besley. His quite unhelpful statements would border on libellous if directed at an ordinary member of the public," Mr Bradford said.

"The thrust of Mr Besley's argument was to build a case for Government registration of immigration consultants using the grossest of allegations against the New Zealand Immigration Service and immigration policy.

"If Mr Besley is genuinely concerned about the behaviour of some immigration consultants - who he described as " a disgrace to the industry, in for a quick dollar, with no conscience or ability," - then it is up to him as chairman and the members of the NZAMI to clean up their industry," Mr Bradford said.

Government registration was no guarantee of protection for the public, as proved by recent experience with the Accountants Society or the Law Society, he said.

The immigration industry had to understand it was up to them to take responsibility for their industry's standards, ethics and policing of its members.

Mr Bradford said the Institute of Chartered Accountants Act passed last year was an appropriate model for the immigration consultants industry, as discussed with the NZAMI early this year.

"The accounting profession's approach is based on voluntary registration - a profession setting its own ethical standards, educating and policing its own members, and not frightened to take steps against its members for infringing ethical standards and the law."

Registration with an army of bureaucrats policing the industry was quite the wrong approach, Mr Bradford said.

If the immigration consultants industry was incapable of establishing and policing its own codes of behaviour and standards of ethics, the Government would be forced to use existing generic legislation, such as the Fair Trading Act or more draconian legislation, Mr Bradford said.