NZ to take boat people

John Key. Photo Reuters
John Key. Photo Reuters
New Zealand will take 150 boat people a year who have been approved as refugees by Australian authorities in offshore processing, Prime Minister John Key has announced.

The figure will be part of the annual quota of 750 refugees New Zealand takes as part of New Zealand's commitment to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees.

"We are limiting this 150 in order to still maintain a significant commitment to resettling refugees referred by the UNHCR," he said.

Except for the past two years, New Zealand usually fills its 750 quota.

The figure was agreed during talks in Queenstown this morning with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

New Zealand last took refugees in a similar manner in from The Tampa - 131 for resettlement in New Zealand in 2001.

The issue of arrivals of asylum seeker by boat has plagued the Labor Government ever since former prime minister Kevin Rudd ditched offshore processing in Nauru and Manus Island in 2007, a policy which was introduced by John Howard's government in 2001 and had virtually stopped boat arrivals.

ChangeMakers Refugee Forum, an organisation which works with 14 refugee groups in the Wellington region, has welcomed discussions on the issue.

General manager Tim O'Donovan said while he believed it was "highly unlikely" that boats carrying asylum seekers would arrive on New Zealand shores, it was an issue in Australia that had polarised public opinion.

"To see our Government willing to take initiative on asylum seekers is great," he said.

"John Key is right. We need to be thinking about regional solutions to this issue.

"But such discussions need to be underpinned by the international commitments that New Zealand and Australia have made and ensure that asylum seekers are not subject to punitive measures while their claim for asylum is being processed."

- Audrey Young

Enoch Powell, MP

Powell was a right wing intellectual who had witnessed the religious genocide of the Partition of India. In 1968, he warned against immigration from mostly former colonies of the Brit Empire. To promote his cause, Powell generated racist propaganda about black residents of British cities. Refugees are not immigrants. Under Key's law, boat people, including women and children, will be held (without trial), in detention camps.

A lesson from History

Many years ago, a Mr Enoch Powell, one of the sharpest minds and acknowledged better intellects in England, warned against the possible long-term effects of this sort of thing getting out of hand. He was ridiculed by his more liberal colleagues and finally forced to 'fall-on-his-sword' as politicans were expected to do in those days, instead of resorting to 'damage-limitation' as they do now.

Many millions of Britons exist today who bitterly regret that the 'experts' of his time had failed to heed his advice. By the time that Indonesia spills over into any available surrounding country, much more of Australia will have become only semi-habitable, at best, due to 'global warming'. Guess who these people will have next in their sights?

Boat people

This goes some way to filling the gap left by the thousands that are leaving each year. Not a good thing I admit but it keeps the numbers up and hides the real problem.

NZ taking boat people

While it is a generous gesture, it is an Australian problem and we are now getting these on our plate. All Kiwis in Australia will not be receiving any social services when residing there and they pay the full rate of taxation. No medicare, or unemployment benefits etc. What are these people going to receive when they arrive here? And will this be perhaps a stepping stone for more to come in the future? This appears to be a strange arrangement and who knows what will be the outcome of it.

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