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NZ should play compassionate, constructive role

31 August 2001 Media Statement

NZ should play compassionate, constructive role

The Alliance believes New Zealand should play a 'compassionate and constructive' role in the impasse over asylum seekers stranded off Christmas Island, Alliance leader and Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton said today.

"We can't set ourselves up as an easy target for unscrupulous people smugglers, and nor should we sit and do nothing if there is a constructive humanitarian role for New Zealand to play.

"The Alliance supports the Prime Minister's view that New Zealand should act with a sense of international responsibility."

Jim Anderton said the Alliance would support a positive response to requests for assistance from Australia.

"New Zealand should always stand ready to shoulder our share as responsible international citizens.

"There is a serious and on-going problem of people smuggling and asylum seekers, and it will take serious multi-national efforts to resolve it. In the meantime, New Zealand should play a compassionate role in defusing the current crisis."

ENDS

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