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Govt should be upfront about new refugees

Dr Wayne Mapp
National Immigration Spokesman

23 June 2004

Govt should be upfront about new refugees

The Government must tell the whole story about how many refugees will really result from an Immigration Service visit to Nauru, says National's Immigration spokesman, Dr Wayne Mapp.

The NZIS has sent an official and a psychiatrist to Nauru to assess 21 refugees, including 9 boatpeople rescued by the Tampa, who have been detained for more than two years.

"Refugees are entitled to bring family members with them under the reunification programme and past experience proves that many take advantage of that opportunity.

"The Government should be upfront about the numbers of people involved and tell the public precisely how many refugees and family members are being considered," says Dr Mapp.

"In 2001 New Zealand accepted 36 young boys from the Tampa and last year 152 of their family members arrived. That placed an immediate burden on our social services. These are people who often require immediate health care, which arguably comes at the expense of other New Zealanders on waiting lists.

"Remember these are refugees that Australia turned away for security reasons among other things.

"As a good citizen of the international community, New Zealand must honour its international obligations to genuine refugees. But we certainly do not want to send the message that all they have to do is get to Australia for New Zealand to take them in as residents.

"When Australia advocated a 'Pacific solution', most New Zealanders would have had no idea that they would end up footing the bill," says Dr Mapp.


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