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NZ must not become a soft touch for refugees

NZ must not become a soft touch for refugees

Helen Clark must protect New Zealand's international reputation by letting Australia deal with the Nauru refugee hunger strikers, according to National Party Immigration spokesman, Dr Wayne Mapp.

"We do not want to send a message to potential refugees that all they have to do is get to Australia for New Zealand to accept them as residents," says Dr Mapp.

"Such a policy would be a disaster for both New Zealand and Australia since more and more refugees will be aiming for the South Pacific, knowing that this is an easy way to get into New Zealand.

"Unfortunately the Helen Clark Government has already sent that message with previous policy in this area. It has essentially encouraged refugees to try and jump the United Nations cue. "If the United Nations review finds that the Nauru hunger strikers are eligible for refugee status, then Australia should accept them.

"The Clark Government must resist its instincts to get involved unless it is officially asked for help.

"For the integrity of New Zealand's immigration system in the current international climate, we must not be seen as a soft touch," concluded Dr Mapp.

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