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Minister briefed on Auckland police operation

The Minister of Immigration, Lianne Dalziel, was this morning briefed by the Immigration Service on its involvement in yesterday's police operation in Auckland. Police officials this afternoon also briefed the Minister of Police, George Hawkins, and Ms Dalziel on the operation.

"I have been advised the Immigration Service was not part of the police operation in Auckland. The Service was informed of it last Friday, and since then its only involvement has been providing advice on documentation seized by the police," Ms Dalziel said.

There is also no evidence that New Zealand officials within the Immigration Service had involvement with the alleged syndicate, she said.

Ms Dalziel said that despite some reports to the contrary, illegal migrant trafficking is an offence under the Immigration Act. Migrant trafficking was discussed at the recent Asia-Pacific Consultations inter-governmental conference in Christchurch where immigration officials from Australia, Fiji, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Samoa and other Pacific nations, as well as the UNHCR, were present.

"In terms of immigration, New Zealand and our Pacific neighbours are working together closely to help us all protect our borders from migrant trafficking.

"An NZIS official will be attending a conference in Bangkok this week that will focus heavily on migrant trafficking and will be reporting back after that," Ms Dalziel said. "There is a great need to identify and halt the practices of those who prey upon some of the most vulnerable people in the world."

Contact: Glenn Inwood 025 817 718

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