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NZ Govt must send clear message on immigration

Opposition Leader Jenny Shipley

29 August 2001

NZ Govt must send clear message on illegal immigration

The National Party strongly opposes New Zealand being seen as a soft touch for any illegal immigrant trade, Opposition Leader Jenny Shipley said today.

"The Labour Government must make it clear that people wishing to settle in New Zealand must go through the proper procedure and that it will take a strong line against any illegal action.

"National believes the Australian Government is acting entirely appropriately in the Christmas Island case by sending a clear message it will accept legal immigrants but won't accept illegal immigrants. Australia is also correct to provide humanitarian aid to the passengers until a decision is made on their future.

"In the 1990s the New Zealand Government was warned on many occasions that boat people were heading to our shores. In 1999 National fast-tracked legislation so that illegal immigrants could be taken into custody while their refugee status was established. "Due to the recent increase of illegal immigrant activity I call on the Labour Government to assure New Zealanders it has a contingency plan in place should we become targeted by illegal immigrants who now find that it is becoming too hard to get into Australia.

"National believes New Zealand must continue to welcome a number of genuine refugees each year. However National does not support allowing New Zealand to become a soft touch for economic refugees without them applying through the proper process," Mrs Shipley said.

Ends

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