Woodhouse Doing His Best To Hide A Scandal

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse needs to front up to prove his claim the government is investigating and prosecuting widespread abuse of English language testing, says New Zealand First Leader and Member of Parliament for Northland, Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“The reality is an unholy mess is going on.

“In October last year Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) investigator Theodore Ashton found thousands of approved residence applications prior to October 2016 could be in error because of fraudulent English testing.

“In November 2015, Nigel Bickle, Deputy Chief Executive of Immigration New Zealand, said on a test sample that 95 out of 98 visa applicants were not asked for any evidence that they met the minimum English proficiency.

“In June 2016 in another MBIE sample, manager Paul Arram found out of 105 applicants only one applicant was requested by Immigration NZ to provide an English language test certificate.

“In May this year the New Zealand Qualifications Authority said English testing mechanisms for overseas students at even the highest performing tertiary institutions were unsatisfactory.

“Under the minister’s watch educational institutions are routinely accepting overseas students despite hopelessly poor English and giving these students the answers to pass.

“The minister’s claim in Parliament today that the government was doing what the public expected – investigating and prosecuting – shows he is playing fast and loose with the truth.

“Where’s the proof?,” says Mr Peters.