ACT’s Human Rights Spokesman Stephen Berry is calling on the Government to allow the UN Global Compact for Migration to be debated by Parliament.

“The TPPA was presented to Parliament for approval before it was ratified, but the Compact hasn’t received the same scrutiny.

“If the Compact cannot achieve a parliamentary majority, the Government should withdraw New Zealand from it.

An anti-UN Global Compact for Migration Rally will be held this Saturday in Aotea Square in Auckland.

“This agreement could have a chilling effect on freedom of expression and the freedom of the press as it seeks to shape public views on immigration through childhood education, the media, and public information campaigns.

The agreement urges nations to promote:

- ‘awareness-raising campaigns’ to ‘inform public perceptions regarding the positive contributions of safe, orderly and regular migration’;

- ‘legislation that penalises hate crimes’ without specifying what a hate crime is;

- the ‘sensitizing and educating [of] media professionals on migration-related issues and terminology’.

“ACT has always been an unabashed defender of free speech. We voted against the Harmful Digital Communications Act and we’ve defended the rights of controversial figures to speak publicly.

“This agreement takes us in the wrong direction. There is too much scope for these provisions to be abused by parties who wish to shut down free speech.

“New Zealand will face regular reviews on its progress in implementing the Compact from the world’s worst dictatorships, as Justice Minister Andrew Little found recently.

Mr Berry stresses that ACT’s long-standing support for immigration isn’t changed by his party’s opposition to the agreement.

“ACT welcomes migrants who share New Zealand’s liberal values. We value people who want to create new opportunities with the freedom New Zealand affords them.”