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NZ The Next Smuggling Target

NZ The Next Smuggling Target - A Key Issue For Clark

Prime Minister Helen Clark must take notice of Australian Immigration Ministers Philip Ruddock's comments today that people smugglers are now talking more about New Zealand than Australia, says National Party Leader Bill English.

"Ruddock is quite rightfully warning New Zealand that we could become the next target for people smugglers after granting refugee status to most of the 131 asylum seekers we took from the Tampa which Australia turned away.

"Clark must now tell New Zealand what her Government's policy is on this issue and what advice has she received on dealing with boatpeople if they arrived on our shores.

"New Zealand is clearly now seen as a soft touch and it is not hard to understand why. Clark's original decision reflects her tendency to short term thinking and now Philip Ruddock is alerting her to the long-term consequences.

"It certainly will trouble many New Zealanders that well placed sources are claiming people smugglers are looking at becoming more sophisticated with their operations to the extent of smuggling people here by air and using false passports.

"Clark while travelling around the world seeking photo opportunities has left the gate wide open to her own backyard for real problems to erupt. She must give us a guarantee that she is taking this matter seriously and let us know what line she will be taking," says Mr English.

Ends


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