It's a dark chapter in our history that most of us would prefer to forget.

They were known as the dawn raids, where the homes of Samoans and Tongans, mainly in Auckland, were targeted by the police before sun-up and in the dead of night.

The inhabitants had to produce their visas, or proof of their residency, and if they couldn't they'd be unceremoniously bundled out of the country.

It was racial profiling at its worst.


Of course many of the Islanders who responded to the bang on the door, or were stopped in the street, were here legitimately.

The raids based on race caused outrage and at the time most immigrants were actually from the United Kingdom and Australia!

Ironically the raids reached their peak in the recession ravaged economy of 1976, the same year that the country centralised the Government's economic database in Whanganui which was seen as a big brother is watching exercise by the great unwashed and as the most significant crime fighting weapon by the then Police Minister.

So you can imagine the shivers that went up the spine of the Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway when out of the blue he was told immigrants were being targeted based on their profile data.

It's been going on for the past 18 months and it seems the Minister's department forgot to let him in on the secret.

As he front footed the issue Lees-Galloway was obviously conscious of those racist dawn raids but insists it's nothing like that and isn't in breach of the Human Rights Act where discrimination based on race is illegal.

It must come pretty close though considering the data being collected includes ethnicity and whether immigrants have used our health service or have been through the criminal justice system.

The immigration bureaucrats say they're targeting the people who pose the most risk to New Zealand.


And with eleven thousand overstayers, almost the equivalent of the population of my hometown of Gore, who can blame them?

At least the difference between this crackdown and the dawn raids forty years ago is that hopefully they'll have more reliable information and they won't be stopping suspects in the street.

Unfortunately there will be mistakes, the authorities are bound to knock on the doors of people who're entitled to be here.

We're told its a pilot so the obvious question is, how many overstayers has it netted so far?

Well incredibly the bureaucrats don't have the numbers.

And here's me thinking pilots are conducted to see how effective something would be!