Labour leader David Cunliffe did not respond to requests for comment, but during debate in Parliament last year called the law “tawdry” and said “there is exactly the same probability of an alien invasion from Mars as there is of boat people from Indonesia or ‘Wogistan”‘.
Crystal clear. Any talk of boat people coming to NZ is rubbish Labour said. But …
Under cover of darkness last Wednesday night, eight cars containing around 50 asylum seekers from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh slipped out of the mountain town of Cisarua, 60km south of Indonesia’s capital Jakarta, and drove towards the coast.
The tension was palpable. They’d been holed up in a villa for weeks waiting for this moment, the first step on a long, treacherous journey they hoped would end in a new life in faraway New Zealand.
The passengers, all adults, had paid people-smugglers deposits of around $US500 ($585), with the remaining $US5000 ($5800) or so due if they reached their destination.
But their dreams were dashed at the last minute. Although corrupt officials had been paid off, according to sources, it wasn’t enough – police intercepted them and the group was turned around.
They are now back in Cisarua, the disillusioned walking away, the desperate vowing to give it another go in the next few days.
The Sunday Star-Times learned of the plan to send a boat of 50 asylum seekers to New Zealand during a joint investigation with Fairfax Australia.
We obtained video footage of the boats involved in the plan, listened to secret recordings of a money-changer talking about New Zealand as the best option now that Australia is “closed”, and, posing as an asylum seeker, contacted the smuggling kingpin.
How can this be? David Cunliffe told us that boat people trying to come to NZ had the same probability as an invasion from Mars.
No asylum boat has ever made it to New Zealand but the current operation is the third attempt in recent months.
Three attempts in as many months.