Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Delamere rejects asylum-seekers' claims

Immigration Minister, Hon Tuariki Delamere, today rejected claims from 18 asylum-seekers being held in Mt Eden jail that they are being treated unfairly.

"I am advised by the Immigration Service all those asylum-seekers being held in Mt Eden appear to have claims which are "manifestly unfounded"," he said.

It is standard practice - and within the law - to hold in custody those claimants who do not appear to have a valid case to back their claim.

“When claimants are held in custody, their claims are given priority and dealt with as quickly as possible.”

Mr Delamere said there are two steps to determining an asylum-seeker”s claim in these situations: the Refugee Status Branch of the Immigration Service would make an initial decision, and the claimant could then appeal to the independent Refugee Status Appeal Authority.

Given the number of people currently going through the process, it was taking up to 40 days for a final decision.

“All 30 people who were detained during APEC because of security risks, manifestly unfounded claims, and lack of passports or other documents, have now been processed,” Mr Delamere said.

“Of the 30, only 8 remain in custody, and that is because they are still waiting for their appeals to be decided.”

He said a further 12 people making what appeared to be manifestly unfounded claims - most of them Indian nationals - were detained in custody in October.

“I am advised these people seem to be part of a planned operation to gain residence to New Zealand by claiming refugee status,” said the Minister.

“Many of the claimants, and their lawyers, appear to be deliberately obstructing the Immigration Service”s attempts to have the cases decided as quickly as possible.”

“Their objective is to delay the process and bring pressure to bear on the Service in the hope that the claimants will be released. In some cases the claimants have been feigning injury or illness, and in others the lawyers have been stalling the Service’s attempts to push the cases through for a speedy decision.”

The Minister refuted the claim by Auckland lawyer, Rodney Hooker, that there has been a change in policy regarding asylum-seekers making manifestly unfounded claims.

“Mr. Hooker appears to be out of touch with immigration laws and processes. It has been standard policy since 1998 to detain in custody asylum-seekers making claims that Immigration Service staff with years of experience assess to be manifestly unfounded.

“Another lawyer, representing four of the Indian claimants, has already told the Service that he believes there is a deliberate campaign to try to subvert the accepted process.”

Mr Delamere said the process followed by the Immigration Service to determine claims for refugee status is fair and legal.

"It should be noted that none of the claimants in custody has been found to be a refugee at this stage, but in the event that their claim is successful, they would be released immediately."

He said he regretted the decision by the claimants to start a hunger strike and hoped they would not proceed. At the same time he added that if they believed their claims were genuine, they would receive a faster outcome if they - and their lawyers - were more cooperative.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Crowdsale And Crowdfunding Campaign: Help Create The Future Of Independent News

Two weeks to go! The Scoop 3.0 plan aims to create NZ’s first community-owned, distributed news and media intelligence ecosystem in 2019. We believe this ScoopPro media monetisation approach can be scaled and spread globally to support local and independent news efforts in regional New Zealand and around the world.

Scoop is an ecosystem, it would not exist without those who contribute to it, read it and rely on it for professional media purposes. Generous past support from this ecosystem has enabled us to come this far in developing our business model. Support our PledgeMe Campaign>>


14/11: Two Years’ Progress Since The Kaikoura Earthquake

Mayor John Leggett said it was a day for reflection, but also a time to recognise the work by many people to support progress towards recovery made across Marlborough since November 2016. More>>


Pike River: Mine Drift Re-Entry Plan To Proceed

“I’ve decided the Te Kāhui Whakamana Rua Tekau Mā Iwa - Pike River Recovery Agency, recommended course of action to enter the drift, using the existing access tunnel, is by far the safest option,” said Andrew Little. More>>


Appointments: New High Commissioner To Australia Announced

“Dame Annette King needs no introduction given her long running career as a parliamentarian where she has previously held a number senior Cabinet portfolios, including Justice, Police and Health. She also was Parliament’s longest serving female MP with 30 years’ service,” said Mr Peters. More>>


Two Years Since Kaikoura: Silvia Cartwright To Lead Inquiry Into EQC

“The inquiry will be the first of its kind under the Public Inquiries Act 2013 and will have all the powers of a Royal Commission, be independent of Government and make its report directly to the Governor-General. More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Royal Commission Into Child Abuse

Obviously, it is good news that the coalition government has broadened the scope of its Royal Commission into the abuse of children, beyond its previous focus on children in state care. More>>


Cases Delayed: Court Staff Refuse To Handle Sentencing Papers

Dozens of court cases have reportedly been delayed, as court staff escalate industrial action at two Auckland courts by enforcing a ban on handling sentencing papers. More>>


Education: Primary Teachers Rolling Strikes

RNZ Report: More than 100,000 primary school students in Auckland will be home from school today as teachers and principals walk off the job for the second time this year. It's the start of a week of rolling one-day strikes around the country, after the collapse of contract negotiations last Thursday. More>>


"Process Was Sound": Inquiry Into Haumaha Appointment Released

The Inquiry’s purpose was to examine, identify, and report on the adequacy of the process that led to the appointment. It found the process was sound and no available relevant information was omitted. More>>





InfoPages News Channels