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Clark Encouraging People-Smuggling

Wednesday 1 May 2002

The Prime Minister Helen Clark's decision to take 140 refugees from Indonesia is reckless and the worst sort of short-term politics, ACT Leader Richard Prebble said today.

"All of the 140 refugees in Indonesia will have paid people-smugglers to take them to Australia. Our Government says that people-smuggling is evil and worthy of a 20-year prison sentence - double that of murder.

"Yet here is the same Government rewarding queue jumpers who pay people-smugglers.

"This is the worst possible way to select future citizens of New Zealand.

"According to the United Nations there are over 20 million refugees in the world - many in refugee camps.

"New Zealand should be selecting refugees on the basis of those who will become economically self-sufficient within a reasonable time.

"It is a fair assumption that most of the refugees that Helen Clark is allowing in will never be economically self-sufficient.

"After paying for their health, education and housing costs, many of these families will conservatively cost New Zealand taxpayers about $1 million each.

"I believe Helen Clark is completely abusing her position as Prime Minister when she traffics in people in order to look good on TV and earn brownie points with the Indonesian Government," Richard Prebble said.

Ends

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