People smugglers are advertising New Zealand to asylum
seekers as easier to get into than Australia, new reports
Secret audio recordings of Indonesian people smugglers has
caught them offering to lock asylum seekers into shipping
containers to send them to industrial ports in New Zealand
and Australia in a bid to enter the countries unnoticed, the
Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reported.
They are also told that New Zealand could be a better option,
and can be accessed by both ship or air.
Potential asylum seekers in Cisarua, West Java, told the
newspaper that a number of smugglers had offered a container
ship service to New Zealand, or to Darwin in Australia's
Northern Territory. Prices ranged from US$8000 to US$14,000
($9657 and $16,900), and would leave from ports in Bali,
Kendari in Sulawesi, or West Papua.
Smugglers were overheard promoting New Zealand as open and
easy compared to Australia, the paper reports.
The SMH reports it has a secret recording of one smuggler
saying that for US$9000 ($10,864) per person, he could send
Afghan people by air from Jakarta to West Papua, and then in
a shipping container to New Zealand in seven days.
"New Zealand is very clean ... Everything is better than
Australia, the only problem is just unemployment ... New
Zealand is a golden opportunity. You can take your mother,
your brother, all of your family after proving they are in
danger, too," the SMH quotes the smuggler as saying in the
It also claimed smugglers were telling customers they can
have residency in New Zealand in 45 days.
However, the Government has recently tightened immigration
laws to allow a court to order six months' detention for
people who enter New Zealand in a "mass arrival" of 30 or
more. They must then wait three years before they can apply
for permanent residency.
There has never been a mass arrival of asylum seekers to New
It is thought more people are looking to New Zealand in a bid
to get around Australia's toughened immigration laws, and
comes after a fishing boat arrived into the port of
Geraldton, Western Australia, in April with passengers
holding a sign saying: "We want to go to New Zealand."
The shipping container technique is believed to be an attempt
to bypass Australia's 'boat people' policies, which sees
intercepted boats sent straight to detention centres in Papua
New Guinea and Nauru.
Described as "the cruise ship" option, the shipping container
method has had disastrous outcomes in Europe, where people
have died of suffocation or dehydration during various
However, one of the smugglers was said to have promised
potential asylum seekers that they would spend only around
nine hours sealed in a container before it is opened, and
they can then roam freely on deck, SMH said.
- Patrice Dougan of APNZ