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Govt misleading public over asylum seekers

Marie Hasler National Immigration Spokesperson

25 September 2001

Govt misleading public over asylum seekers

The Government is misleading the New Zealand public about how it will handle asylum seekers who don't make the grade to be a genuine refugee, National's Immigration spokesperson Marie Hasler said today.

"A couple of weeks ago Helen Clark was saying that family groups were a low security risk. Now the Government's promising the asylum seekers will be processed and those who don't meet the criteria will be sent to prison.

"Today the Government's continuing to send misleading messages to the public. One minute it's saying those who don't pass the criteria will be sent back to their home country and the next minute it's saying those countries won't accept them.

"Like it or not, the asylum seekers are here to stay. It is absolutely unrealistic to say they can be deported.

"The Government must answer what it is going to do with those who don't meet the criteria and why New Zealanders should keep paying to keep them.

"New Zealanders need to know what the cost of accepting these people is, what is going to happen to those who don't pass the test and be assured that precautions are being taken to ensure the asylum seekers are genuine.

"It seems the Government has only got serious about screening the Tampa boat people since the New York tragedy.

"This is typical of its indecisiveness on important issues, the same as it has been throughout the Air New Zealand crisis where it has planted itself bang in the middle of another mess," Marie Hasler said.


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