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Govt's Biased Immigration Approach Unacceptable

It is becoming increasingly clear that the Government's compassion for some people illegally living in the country does not extend to Asian people, National's Ethnic Affairs spokesperson Pansy Wong said today.

"Labour and the Alliance claim to be a compassionate government, but in reality they're only prepared to exercise selective compassion.

"Last October the Government announced an amnesty aimed mainly at 'well settled' Pacific Island overstayers. But the Minister of Immigration's cries have failed to yield the anticipated number of applicants.

"The latest example of the Government's immigration selectivity involves 200 Chinese Indonesian who fled to New Zealand following the riots, rapes and murders of their people during the dying days of the Suharto regime in 1998.

"These people deserve to have their cases heard on humanitarian grounds. So far as a group they have received one terse rejection letter from the Minister.

"Many overstayers have been gifted a second chance on the grounds that they are 'well settled'. What about the Chinese Indonesians residing in New Zealand who are in mostly manual jobs in Auckland and determined not to become a burden on this country?

"These people rightly fear for their lives over the prospect of returning to Indonesia. But the Minister's dismissive treatment is now making them feel persecuted in the very country they are trying to seek refuge in.

Pansy Wong, along with National MPs Marie Hasler, Dr Wayne Mapp and Richard Worth, will meet the group's advocate Reverend Carl Jukes at the New Life Church, Northcote tomorrow at 3pm to explore the situation further.

"We will be seeking to persuade the Government that a biased approach to immigration issues is simply unfair and unacceptable in our society," Pansy Wong said.


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