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Govt finally admits extra costs for asylum-seekers

Marie Hasler National Immigration Spokesperson

1 October 2001

Govt finally admits extra costs for asylum-seekers

Minister of Immigration Lianne Dalziel finally admitted that New Zealand taking the Afghan asylum seekers will mean extra costs for New Zealand taxpayers, National's Immigration spokesperson Marie Hasler said today.

Ms Hasler has criticised the Government for misleading the public on the true costs of accepting the asylum-seekers.

"New Zealand is a very humanitarian country but the true costs in both emotional and financial terms, and now most recently in terms of security, must be made clear to the New Zealand public.

"As well as the normal costs of Immigration staff, Refugee and migrants services, medical services and legal aid costs, extra education services will be needed for teaching English as a second language. Special arrangements will need to be made for the 36 minors for schooling.

"Added to this is the extra costs of social welfare services which will be required by most refugees until they can speak sufficient English to enable them to work.

"The Minister must also say how many family members each refugee will be allowed to have join them and what commitment the Government has made to this. The 36 minors alone may want to have as many as 100 family members or more join them.

"There has already been disruption in the Whangaparaoa camp where 131 asylum-seekers were moved from the Mangere centre to make way for the people form the Tampa.

"This shows that the Government's decision to take so many asylum-seekers was hasty and they haven't prepared appropriate facilities to deal with them," Ms Hasler said.

Ends


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