In New Zealand and elsewhere, immigration and ethnic diversity continues to be a highly contentious issue. Immigrants, refugees and ethnic minorities have often been portrayed in the media in negative ways, yet neoliberal agendas have also actively promoted capturing diversity dividends and the benefits of immigration. In this paper, we examine the discursive representations of immigration and ethnic diversity in a prominent national newspaper, the New Zealand Herald. We found media reporting tended to focus on three themes: economic benefits, pressure on infrastructure, and criminality. Our critical, contextualised analysis of media coverage revealed problematic latent constructions of immigrants underlying these explicit discourses. Immigrants as a group are denied their humanity and constructed as merely economic objects, while ethnic minority immigrants, in particular, are cast as morally inferior. We argue that these subtle dehumanising representations are underpinned by liberal expectations of an economic ‘diversity dividend’ that stresses ‘quality migrants’ and reinforces xenophobia and long-standing public and political anxieties in New Zealand about immigration and ethnic diversity.


Creator | Kaihanga
Sandy Lee and Trudy Cain
Year of Creation | Tau
Creative Commons Licence
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives CC BY-NC-ND
Keywords | Kupu
media, ethnic diversity, immigrants, diversity dividend, dehumanisation, Aotearoa New Zealand
Main Language | Reo Matua
Submitter's Rights | Nga Tika o te Kaituku
I represent the publisher or owner organisation of this resource
This Research has
been peer reviewed by academics at a university
Bibliographic Citation | Whakapuakanga

Lee, S., and Cain, T. (2019). Diversity Dividends and the Dehumanisation of Immigrants in the News Media in Aotearoa New Zealand. New Zealand Population Review, 45, 185-210.

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