COMMENT: Let's be clear what this is all about. What lies at the heart of New Zealand First leader Winston Peters' new Kiwi values pledge is the assumption that migrants and refugees are likely to have inferior values to their superiors - the Kiwis.
This new proposal is about finding a back door to making asylum measures more restrictive by stigmatising a group of people who already suffer from a great deal of prejudice and discrimination.
It is wrong and should never be allowed to get through.
The assumption that newcomers are somehow less likely to hold core human values such as fairness, kindness and tolerance dehumanises them and reflects badly on our own values.
Migrants and refugees often contribute actively to the economy and make positive social contributions to their receiving country - still, the attitudes towards them remain ill-informed.
Politicians are increasingly using immigration as a political football to gain popularity, or as scapegoats, for social and economic ills. We must not allow irresponsible leaders, driven by confused and frightened public opinion, to erode the rights of migrants and refugees to live with dignity and honour.
Yes, bad apples exist among refugees and migrants, but so they do among Kiwis.
In this country, 1 out of 3 girls may be sexually abused before turning 16. Now, unless you are prepared to make the crazy assumption that all the abusers must be migrants and refugees, then you have to question the sort of Kiwi cultural values that have produced this statistic.
And it doesn't end there. New Zealand has one of the highest rates of suicide and domestic violence among the developed countries in the world.
Maybe the solution is to look into harnessing external cultural values that combat the destructive elements of Kiwi culture, including the drinking and macho culture that remains rife.
The best way to ensure social cohesion is to protect the rights of migrants and prevent their marginalisation in society.
Peters and his party should be concentrating on the reported widespread exploitation of migrants in New Zealand that showed workers were "unpaid", "denied toilet breaks" and were subjected to "threats and abused by Kiwis bosses".
As an accented Iranian migrant to this country, I know how it feels to always be the "other" and to have my great culture and its values reduced to snippets of unrepresentative news and imagery that lack history and context.
Peters' proposed law change will achieve nothing but to exacerbate existing prejudices and to increase the mistrust and suspicion of migrants and refugees, who already have to jump over many legal hurdles and pass strict tests to get here. Decent Kiwis would know intuitively this is wrong and I hope our representative members of Parliament would fight this with all their might to prevent it from ever becoming a stain on our migration and asylum laws.
• Donna Miles-Mojab is a British-born Iranian living in New Zealand.