Family pleads to stay
By Hayden Donnell – North Shore Times Tuesday, 18 November 2008
BEN WATSON/North Shore Times
UNCERTAIN FATE: Ashleigh Joustra and Liza, Daniel and Amelia Labuschagne fear being sent back to South Africa.
A family facing deportation say they would rather give up their daughter for adoption than see her face an unsafe future in South Africa.
Forrest Hill man Daniel Labuschagne is desperate for his family to stay in the country despite Immigration New Zealand not renewing his work permit.
He fears for the safety of his children and the future of his family should they return to South Africa.
“I’m fearing for my kids’ lives. It was not safe for our kids over there,” he says.
“I will do anything legal to keep my daughters in this country where they have a chance to survive.”
Mr Labuschagne and wife Liza decided to move to New Zealand after suffering a string of crime in South Africa.
Liza had her car window smashed and handbag stolen after stopping to give money to a young man begging at traffic lights. Glass showered on her then nine-month-old baby Amelia, who was asleep in the backseat.
The last straw came when an elderly family member was mugged at an ATM machine by five assailants.
They moved to New Zealand and were granted a two-year work permit on June 30 2006, which allowed Mr Labuschagne to get his current job at Chubb Security.
That is at risk because Immigration New Zealand has not accepted an application to renew the permit. Its initial asessment says there is no shortage of security guards in New Zealand and Mr Labuschagne’s position can be filled by a New Zealander.
The family is devastated they may have to return to South Africa.
Mr Labuschagne’s step-daughter Ashleigh is about to sit year 13 exams at Westlake Girls High School and fears she will not be able to go to university in her home country. The family is uncertain if NCEA credits will be accepted by a South African university.
She narrowly avoided an attack when she returned there to celebrate her 18th birthday in April.
Six-year-old Amelia speaks with a Kiwi accent and knows New Zealand’s national anthem, while Liza has worked in customer service in Glenfield for 15 months.
Mr Labuschagne says the family now feel like “Kiwis” and call New Zealand home.
“We have bought everything here and built our lives here. If we’re back there I don’t know what we’ll do,” he says.
Immigration New Zealand says it has not yet made a final decision to deny Mr Labuschagne a permit.
It has given him until tomorrow to provide information showing there are no New Zealand citizens qualified for his position.
The fact that he had previously been granted a permit does not “automatically mean he will be granted a further permit”.
An endorsement of his work by Mr Labuschagne’s employer will be balanced against a Work and Income assessment of the local labour market.
Source:North Shore Times