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Minister must put amnesty on the agenda

Arthur Anae
Opposition Pacific Affairs Spokesperson

19 September 2000
Minister must put amnesty on the agenda

Opposition Pacific Affairs Spokesperson Arthur Anae is to meet with the Minister of Immigration and other MPs today to express concerns surrounding a controversial crack-down on long-term overstayers.

>From October 1 immigration officers will have the power to instantly detain and deport long-term overstayers.

"I have long lobbied on behalf of the Pacific Island community for an amnesty to give well-settled overstayers the opportunity to become New Zealanders.

"For so long we have rolled out the red carpet to certain countries, ensuring certain people have easy access to our country and encouraging New Zealand citizenship. However in the same breath we threaten to kick out well-settled families who love this country and just want to stay."

Mr Anae recently hosted multi-party talks on the October 1 ruling. He met fellow MPs Winston Peters, Richard Prebble and Keith Locke a couple of weeks ago. Together the four will attend the meeting with Lianne Dalziel today.

"I have also had very constructive one-on-one talks with Alliance Minister and Immigration Spokesperson Matt Robson, again discussing how we can overturn this unfair instant deportation rule."

National's Spokesperson for Pacific Island Affairs, who campaigned last year on implementing an amnesty, said families are running scared over the prospect of being detained and sent home on the same day.

"I know the Minister has said in recent months that an amnesty is not on the agenda, but I plead with her to heed what I and others are saying and offer an amnesty to our long-term overstayers."


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