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Protestors Plead For Fair Treatment

This morning's protest by Asian overstayers and the hunger strike by forty of them in Auckland is not surprising given the discriminatory nature of this Government's partial amnesty policies, National MP Pansy Wong said today.

"Immigration Minister Lianne Dalziel has offered an amnesty to about 8,000 'well settled' overstayers but she has excluded anyone who has applied for refugee status.

"This puts Chinese and Indians at a huge disadvantage as they comprised 47% of refugee claimants in the past nine years.

"Asian overstayers that meet the well settled criteria have been told to write to the Minister on a case by case basis. This is creating uncertainty and puts a huge amount of pressure on these people given the short amount of time left.

"Why discriminate against one group of people because they tried to stay in New Zealand under our refugee criteria? If the Minister is going to let well settled Pacific Islanders stay she should let well settled Asians and others to stay as well.

"The Minister in opposition lambasted others for prejudice against refugee claimants and campaigned against unscrupulous immigration consultants. I urge Ms Dalziel to listen to the protestors," Mrs Wong said.

Ends

Inquiries: Pansy Wong 04 471 9361 or 025 384 198

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