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Overstayer Numbers Top 20,000

Wednesday 3 Apr 2002

Overstayer numbers are at the same level as before the Immigration Minister introduced her farcical amnesty intended to reduce the figures, ACT Immigration Spokesman MP Penny Webster revealed today.

"Since July 1998, officials have only managed to remove 501 people who weren't eligible for asylum. The Minister of Immigration has failed to deport almost 3,750 rejected asylum seekers. That isn't fair on the New Zealand taxpayer.

"Ms Dalziel needs to explain why 1899 of the rejected asylum seekers remaining here are not counted as overstayers. If they were to be counted, her record would appear very grim. The Minister's official estimate in November 2001 was 18,287 overstayers draining New Zealand resources. Add 1899 to that, and the real figure is over 20,000 - the point we were at before the amnesty.

"What happened to the tough removal regime the Minister promised us?

"Answers to my parliamentary questions show the number of removal orders has dropped by over three-quarters since Ms Dalziel became Minister.

"Ms Dalziel's overstayer amnesty has turned into the joke that officials warned her it would be," Mrs Webster said.

Ends

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