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Alexander: Kiwis decide who lives here

Alexander: Kiwis decide who lives here

Would-be refugees must respect New Zealanders' right to determine who comes here and under what circumstances, United Future MP Marc Alexander said today.

"While not unsympathetic to their desire to relocate from Afghanistan, they cannot expect other nations to abandon their sovereignty and grant them sanctuary just because they ask for it," Mr Alexander said.

"Four men from among 42 detainees on the Pacific island of Nauru have not eaten since December 10 to protest Australia's decision to deny their claims for political asylum and now we could be asked to have them."

"It may make for good photo opportunities to have some of these people sewing their lips together and threatening to sew their eyelids together as well but they can choose to eat at any time they want to. That some of the men have lost hope and can no longer walk is tragic, but we cannot be held hostage by either their extremism or blame the Australian position."

"We have a fairly robust immigration policy that includes providing residence for refugees, and it should not be circumvented by anyone and everyone who floats into our neck of the woods, and then expects taxpayers to foot the bill.

"Just as we reserve the right for our immigration service to assess and reject prospective residents, so too we must respect Australia's right to let in whom they choose. We must not be bullied into being a soft-touch," Mr Alexander said.

"New Zealand has always shouldered its international obligations regarding refugees but we have rights too. We are rightfully proud to be a multi-cultural society and are better off for it. Nevertheless those who knock on our door must respect our rights and wait for us to decide if we want to invite them on our terms...not theirs."

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