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Government wastes legal aid on Algerian case

Government wastes legal aid on Algerian case

The Ahmed Zaoui case raises the need to change the Immigration Act regarding whether suspect refugees can appeal a finding against them, especially in the post-September 11 era, says National's Foreign Affairs spokesperson Dr Wayne Mapp.

"An appeal to the Refugee Status Appeals Authority is a waste of taxpayers' money when the decision is actually made on security grounds," he says.

"The Immigration Act provides for a security risk certificate to be issued. That certificate is subject to review by the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security. Any sensible government would act on the report of the Inspector-General.

"There is no point in a hugely expensive five-week hearing in the Refugee Status Appeals Authority prior to the Inspector-General's report.

"The Government can't expect New Zealanders to accept that it is sensible in such circumstances to spend so much money on helping a person who is not even a New Zealand resident.

"It seems absurd that the Government allocates tens of thousands of dollars towards the legal aid process for a person who is suspected of terrorist activities to take a refugee appeal.

"Given that the ultimate decision will be made by the Inspector General of Security, there has been little point in going through a hugely expensive hearing process," Dr Mapp said.

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