People-smugglers in Indonesia are promoting a passage to
New Zealand in shipping containers for up to $17,000 a person
and are describing it to prospective migrants as ''the cruise
ship option'', an Australian newspaper investigation has found.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse warns anyone
contemplating the trip: ''Don't come,'' but says a law passed
in June for mass arrivals means New Zealand is prepared.
A Sydney Morning Herald investigation involving secret
recordings of people-smugglers reveals New Zealand is being
promoted as a better option than Australia, with smugglers
claiming asylum-seekers can get permanent residency here
after 45 days and bring their family.
Mr Woodhouse said the report showed ''not only are these
smugglers heinous criminals, they are also liars''.
Australia has cracked down on boats attempting the journey
and asylum-seekers are sent to Papua New Guinea or Nauru.
The SMH reported sources in West Java, Indonesia, as
saying people-smugglers were increasingly desperate for
customers and about a dozen remained active.
Prospective asylum-seekers in Cisarua, Java, cited four
smugglers offering passage to Darwin or New Zealand in a
shipping container leaving from Bali, Sulawesi or West Papua
for between $US8000 ($NZ9660) and $US14,000 ($NZ16,900) a
The paper said it had heard a recording of a smuggler named
Muhammad Ali saying that for $US9000 he could get some Afghan
asylum-seekers from Jakarta to West Papua by air, then in a
shipping container to New Zealand over seven days.
According to the paper, the recording has Ali saying: ''New
Zealand is very clear .. . 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
The paper quoted one potential asylum-seeker as saying many
people had already paid $US3000 to one smuggler named Farhan
and $US5000 to a third party and that a ship would go in one
or three weeks.
Mr Woodhouse said the 45-day residency claim was ''a
bald-faced lie to attract vulnerable people to pay large
amounts of money for an illegal passage''.
The Government's amendment to the Immigration Act allows
immediate detention of mass arrivals and the ability to seek
further detention for 28 days at a time until asylum-seekers'
legitimate status was established.
By Audrey Young, of the NZ Herald.