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Zimbabwean Aids Amnesty Policy Failing

Media Release


12 December 2006

Zimbabwean Aids Amnesty Policy Failing

The Government’s immigration amnesty offered to Zimbabweans in August is a dismal failure that is putting New Zealanders at risk of HIV/AIDS and other diseases, said New Zealand First associate immigration spokesman Peter Brown today.

Mr Brown’s comments follow responses to questions by the Minister of Immigration which show that only 34 people have applied for residency under this policy as of 1 December.

“We are half way through the amnesty period and only 4 percent of the 800 people eligible to apply have done so,” said Mr Brown.

“New Zealand First expressed its concern about this policy when it was announced in August. The Government then claimed it had been forced to use the offer of ‘no questions asked’ residency to get these people to come forward and take an AIDS test. Clearly, this policy is not working.

“The Government should have performed basic medical checks before allowing these people in. Not doing so has resulted in a dramatic increase in the prevalence of HIV/AIDS in this country.

“The amnesty is another in a series of blunders and failures in this Government’s immigration policies that have put New Zealanders at risk. We can only hope that the Immigration Service does a better job locating and deporting those who have not taken up our generous offer of the right to live in our country when the amnesty ends on 28 February 2007,” concluded Mr Brown.

ENDS

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