Refugees and Borders

November 24th, 2015 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The growing focus in Europe and the US is now on securing borders and refugees, especially as it appears at least one of the attackers in Paris may have come into Europe as a refugee from Syria.

My view is that you need to have secure borders, but that doesn’t mean not helping refugees.

We should take in refugees fleeing conflict from Syria, and other countries.

But we should only take those who have gone through the UNHCR process, and have had their backgrounds checked.  This process needs to be done quicker, and more need to be approved. That way there is an incentive to go through the UNHCR process, rather than just trek into Europe.

It is worth noting that the right of asylum only applies to the first country a refugee arrives at. Once a refugee has got into Turkey, they have a right of asylum in Turkey. But if they then trek through half a dozen other countries to get to Germany or France, they are no longer an asylum seeker. They are what people call an economic refugee. Now it is understandable that people would rather be in Germany or France than in a refugee camp in Turkey. So the solution is to take more people from the refugee camps, and secure the borders to deter such huge hordes of people, which does make it easy for terrorists to exploit.

A poll has just come out in the US, which sadly shows that there is a backlash against taking in any refugees. The poll is here.

  • 44% support sending US troops to fight Islamic State and 44% disagree
  • 28% says Islam is an inherently violent religion and 64% say inherently peaceful, but some twist its teachings (I would choose neither option – it is inbetween)
  • Only 28% support the plan to take in 10,000 Syrian refugees, 53% say accept no refugees from Syria and 11% Christian refugees only
  • 53% say US should have a military coalition with Russia to fight Islamic terrorism, 35% disagree

Will Europe close its borders

November 6th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

The Washington Post reports:

The U.N. refugee agency said Monday that a record 218,394 people crossed the Mediterranean to reach European shores in October — about as many as the total from all of last year.

That’s a huge number. Basically refugees respond to incentives as much as anyone. Given a choice between waiting for the UN to get them a place out of a refugee camp in Turkey, and trekking to Europe, they will of course choose Europe.

Slovenia has said it is considering a fence of its own. Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec described that action as “a last resort” but added that he is “very much concerned” that other countries will erect barriers, leaving his tiny Alpine nation shouldering an unsustainable burden. Even now, he said, Slovenia is struggling to cope.

“We cannot go on like this for a long time,” Erjavec said in an e-mailed response to questions. “We have received more than 100,000 migrants in just two weeks. This number represents 5% of our population. Our human, financial and material resources are limited.”

No country could cope with a 5% population increase in two weeks.

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The climate change “refugee” Labour wants to stay here

September 29th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

One News reported:

Ioane Teitiota was sent back to the tiny Pacific island this afternoon after a last minute appeal to let him and his family stay in New Zealand on humanitarian grounds was denied.

However revelations have been made against Mr Teitiota by a former employer saying he sexually assaulted a female co-worker and violently assaulted other colleagues before being fired from a west Auckland market garden.

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Can the EU force countries to take refugees?

September 24th, 2015 at 11:21 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

The European Union approved a plan on Tuesday (Wednesday NZ Time) to share out 120,000 refugees across its 28 states, overriding vehement opposition from four ex-communist eastern nations.

Diplomats said interior ministers meeting in Brussels had voted to launch the scheme, backed by Germany and other big powers, in order to tackle the continent’s worst refugee crisis since World War Two.

The Czech minister tweeted that he had voted against, along with colleagues from Slovakia, Romania and Hungary, with Finland abstaining.

So being a member of the EU now means other countries decide your refugee quota for you.  What will they do if countries refuse?

At present most in the UK want to remain in the EU, but how the EU deals with this issue may change that.

Prague had earlier warned that any attempt to impose such a scheme would be unworkable and could end in “big ridicule” for governments and EU authorities.

“We will soon realise that the emperor has no clothes. Common sense lost today,” Czech Interior Minister Milan Chovanec tweeted after the vote.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said pushing through the quota system had “nonsensically” caused a deep rift over a highly sensitive issue and that, “as long as I am prime minister”, Slovakia would not implement a quota.

And worse:

“If we fail to find the right solution in the long term, the migrant crisis could truly threaten the existence of the European Union. But I am not a pessimist, I believe that we will find joint measures,” Slovenian Prime Minister Miro Cerar told Reuters in an interview.

The reason for the opposition:

Eastern states with no tradition of integrating large numbers of Muslims are anxious about the impact on their societies and keen to avoid any signal that might encourage even more desperate people to set sail across the Mediterranean for Europe.

This is the same issue Australia has had. If you don’t take a hard line, then you encourage hundreds of thousands more to set sail.

Countries should take refugees – but from the refugee camps through the UNHCR system. Encouraging people to set sail to Europe will only end badly.

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An overstayer not a refugee

September 23rd, 2015 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

A last-ditch appeal against the deportation of a man who claimed to be the world’s first climate change refugee has failed.

Associate Immigration Minister Craig Foss has received a briefing on the case of Ioane Teitiota and his family, and has tonight declined to intervene.

That means he will be deported shortly to Kiribati, with his wife and young New Zealand-born children likely to join him.

Mr Teitiota had claimed to be the world’s first climate change refugee, but that was dismissed by the courts, and Labour instead asked Mr Foss to allow him to stay on humanitarian grounds.

Earlier today, Prime Minister John Key said there was no question that Mr Teitiota was an over-stayer, and not a refugee.

This is correct. Mr Teitiota is trying it on. Overstayers do this a lot. They have little to lose. I recall Danny Butler who claimed he would be killed if returned to Ireland.

On the issue of climate change, Mr Key dismissed the notion that New Zealand should consider looking at accepting people on the basis that their homeland was threatened by rising sea levels.

“I am certainly not ruling out that a future Prime Minister and a future Government wouldn’t take that compassionate view, and I suspect actually that they would. But it would be on genuine grounds that they actually can’t live in their country.”

Sea levels are rising. But at present by 3 mm a year. In the long term this will post massive problems for Kiribati, if it continues. But we’re talking maybe 50 to 100 years down the track, not during his lifetime.

Reverend Naisali said that sending the family to Kiribati was akin to putting someone on dialysis on a plane, despite knowing there was no medical help where they were going.

“There is no employment opportunities in Kiribati, there is population density in Kiribati, there are no education opportunities for the children.”

That may be so, but he is from Kiribati. If he did not overstay, he could apply for residency if he has skills NZ needs. But simply coming from a poorer country is not grounds for residency in NZ.

Green Party co-leader James Shaw said the case was the “canary in the mine”, and there would soon be “a flood of people from the Pacific Islands” because of climate change.

Will James define soon? Climate change is seeing temperatures increase and sea levels rise. And we do need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions to mitigate this. But I dispute that there will soon be a flood of people. The IPCC most recent report is that if emissions continue to increase then by 2100, sea levels would have increased by 62 cms.  That will definitely impact many people, but 2100 is not “soon”.

That is not an argument to do nothing. Quite the opposite. But it is an argument that we do not need to claim there will be a flood of climate change refugees anytime soon.


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The sad truth behind the tragic photo

September 12th, 2015 at 8:04 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

A woman who was on the boat carrying drowned Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi has accused his father of being a people smuggler.

Channel Ten reported Zainab Abbas, who lost two children in the tragedy, claims Abdullah Kurdi was at the helm of the boat when it sunk off the Turkish coast.

“He was a smuggler, yes. He was the one that was driving the boat,” the woman told Ten over Skype from Iraq through a translator. 

So he was doing it not to reach safety, but to make money. How awful.

It was known, but not widely reported, that they were not in fact fleeing from Syria, but had lived in Turkey for three years.

Abbas claimed she met Kurdi and another man in a cafe and handed over $US10,000 to get them to Europe.  

So for the entire boat, how much?

Abbas said there were too many people in the boat and not enough life jackets when it capsized.

Her husband had asked Kurdi to slow down, but he didn’t listen, she said.

Crying, Abbas said she and her husband and daughter held on to a life jacket but her other two children, a boy and girl, were lost.

This is one of the challenges for Governments. You don’t actually want refugees to be travelling by sea to other countries, as it is highly dangerous for them and they get exploited by people smugglers. That is why many Governments say they will only take refugees who come through the UNHCR. But of course if you do manage to reach another country by sea, you may get asylum.

Earlier this week Kurdi blamed Canadian authorities for the deaths of his wife and sons, telling German news site Die Welt that he did not understand why Canada rejected his application for asylum.

But Canada’s immigration department said it had not received a refugee application from Kurdi.

So it seems he may be lying about a lot.


Winston says men should be forced to fight in Syria

September 9th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

From the crackpot file:

New Zealand should take only women and children refugees from Syria and tell the men to return home and fight, NZ First leader Winston Peters says.

His brain seems even more disengaged than normal.

And who should they fight for – ISIL or Assad?

And as he seems to be stuck in a 1970s time warp, if he thinks only men can be soldiers. He should visit Israel at some stage.

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NZ to take in some Syrian refugees

September 7th, 2015 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

The Government will today announce an emergency package to allow hundreds of Syrian refugees to come to New Zealand.

The one-off intake will go “over and above” New Zealand’s annual refugee quota, but will not number into the thousands, Prime Minister John Key said this morning.

The move follows domestic and international calls for governments worldwide to do more to help the 13.5 million victims of the biggest refugee crisis since World War II – pressure which effectively forced Mr Key’s hand a week after he ruled out further measures until after a review of refugee quotas next year.

It comes after more than 7000 asylum seekers surged across Hungary’s western border into Austria and Germany over the weekend.

They were met with cheers, hugs, hospitality and the hope of a new life.

This morning Mr Key confirmed he would announce a package to take “over and above our normal quota” of refugees in response to the humanitarian crisis in Europe.

I think this is the right thing to do. It is being part of a global citizen.

However it is worth reflecting on the two types of refugees, and New Zealand.

Countries generally take refugees in one of two ways. The first is they turn up in your country and seek asylum. We get relatively few of these, because we are an island country. I’ll come back to this.

Over the last decade we have averaged 300 claims a year for asylum. Around 74% are declined and 26% approved. So that is around 80 a year.

Accepting these refugees is mandatory under international law, specifically the 1951 Refugee Convention and 1967 Protocol. If you are one of 145 countries that has signed the convention, you are obliged to take in refugees who have genuine asylum claims of persecution

On top of that mandatory right of asylum, countries can voluntarily take refugees – even if they are not in their country. 20 countries do this formally through the UNHCR with a quota. We have an annual quota of 750, plus refugees can later bring in family members which means on average 1,000 people a year enter through this route.

On top of that you take take refugees outside the quota as Helen Clark did with the Tampa and John Key is doing with Syria.

Now some may argue that because we have so few refugees turn up on our doorstep, as we are a remote island/s, we should radically increase our quota. Now I think our quota should increase in line with population growth, but caution against a massive increase.

It is true that one of the benefits of being a remote island/s is we don’t get 250,000 refugees turning up at our border. But there are many disadvantages to being a remote island – it makes it much harder for us to trade with the rest of the world, travel, and get the exposure to other countries and cultures that you do by being part of a continent. We should be careful about throwing away the benefits, when we will remain with the disadvantages.



What are the Gulf states doing to help the refugees?

September 5th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Washington Post reports:

The world has been transfixed in recent weeks by the unfolding refugee crisis in Europe, an influx of migrants unprecedented since World War II. Their plight was chillingly highlighted on Wednesday in the image of a drowned Syrian toddler, his lifeless body lying alone on a Turkish beach.

A fair amount of attention has fallen on the failure of many Western governments to adequately address the burden on Syria’s neighboring countries, which are struggling to host the brunt of the roughly 4 million Syrians forced out of the country by its civil war.

Including whether New Zealand can do more to help – and I think we can.

Less ire, though, has been directed at another set of stakeholders who almost certainly should be doing more: Saudi Arabia and the wealthy Arab states along the Persian Gulf.

As Amnesty International recently pointed out, the “six Gulf countries — Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain — have offered zero resettlement places to Syrian refugees.”

These are very wealthy countries.

That’s a shocking figure, given these countries’ relative proximity to Syria, as well as the incredible resources at their disposal. As Sultan Sooud al-Qassemi, a Dubai-based political commentator, observes, these countries include some of the Arab world’s largest military budgets, its highest standards of living, as well as a lengthy history — especially in the case of the United Arab Emirates — of welcoming immigrants from other Arab nations and turning them into citizens.

So why won’t they help?


Moroney is right – fake refugees should be kicked out

August 12th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

New Zealand will let 27 people who came here under false refugee claims stay.

Radio New Zealand obtained documents from Immigration New Zealand’s refugee and protection unit and appeal tribunal.

The Immigration New Zealand’s refugee and protection unit were not happy with the decision by Department of Internal Affairs to allow the 27 refugees to stay in New Zealand despite it being found out, once the refugees were in New Zealand, that their claims had been false.

I’m not happy either.

The department had not explained its reason for allowing the refugees to stay, Radio NZ reported.

They should front up and explain.

The minutes show Immigration NZ believed the decision undermined the refugee system from being a future target for fraud.

You encourage more fraud if you reward the fraudsters with what they wanted to achieve with their fraud.

Labour immigration spokesperson Sue Moroney said Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne needed to explain the situation, which could have left 27 genuine refugee claims out in the cold.

Yep, there are a limited number of spaces.

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Peters flip-flops on refugees

May 20th, 2015 at 11:30 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says the number of refugees who are allowed to settle here should be greatly increased.

The Northland MP, who is well known for his opposition to current immigration levels, believes New Zealand’s refugee quote should be increased by at least a third.

There is currently an annual limit of around 750 places for refugees on United Nations waiting lists.

“There’s no reason, in my view, that we couldn’t go to 1000 easily, and do it in a responsible way,” Mr Peters said, in answer to a question from a first year politics class at Victoria University of Wellington yesterday.

Winston of course was campaigning against in 2004. The RMS responded to his claims:

Winston Peters’ comments in the House yesterday about New Zealand’s refugee quota system were inaccurate and misleading, says RMS Resettlement director Peter Cotton.

“He chose to hide behind Parliamentary Privilege to attack a former Somali refugee seeking to bring members of her family to New Zealand. At the same time he blatantly misrepresented the Government’s response to refugees, suggesting that each refugee accepted in New Zealand’s small annual quota (750) was likely to be followed by an additional 14 family members.

So in 2004 he was attacking us for having 750 by claiming each one would bring in 14 more. In 2015 he pretends he is in favour of increasing it.

In 2001 he attacked the Government for allowing in the Tampa refugees.

“The fact remains that New Zealand was a soft touch when she took office and it is even more of a soft touch now. Another load of refugees does not make any sense when we have already been very charitable. The truth is that there were many UN signatory countries closer to the Tampa than New Zealand, why then is New Zealand being expected to once again grossly exceed its limit?

“The duplicity of government is astounding. The more facts that come out of this debacle the more concerning it gets. We now hear that many may be carrying third-world diseases, as if we didn’t know that, and have not been treated in Nauru first. The Government has a duty to protect the health and security of its inhabitants, a test which it is failing miserably.

Not big on consistency is he.

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Devoy on Refugees

March 24th, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

A reader e-mails re this story:

A few points on this:
Firstly, the Race Relations Commissioner should not involve herself in matters of public policy outside the scope of her responsibilities. She is in a public service role and should keep her opinion on these matters to herself, and not engage in activist issues.

I agree. 

In respect of her view that the quota should increase to at least 1,000 per annum:
We have a generally successful refugee resettlement programme.  Largely because we take a number of refugees that we can handle and work closely with to settle successfully.  We want refugees to make a solid contribution to their new country and do well.  In turn, that underpins public support for the annual quota which is crucial.  Excessive numbers with unsuccessful settlement outcomes is not helpful.
In effect, we already accept 1,050 per annum as we take a further 300 in the Refugee Family Support category.  This allows refugees to ‘sponsor’ their family members and bypass the usual migration process with its requirements for high education and skill levels etc.
I prefer quality of settlement outcomes for those we take, rather than a quantity we cannot successfully settle.  Many refugees have serious educational, health, mental health, language and other challenges that are costly and intensive to address.  We should seek to do that well rather than spread the limited funds too thinly over too many.
Could we take more refugees within the annual quota from Syria?  Perhaps.  Worth exploring and it may well be on the radar of officials already.
New Zealand is one of just 19 or so countries that takes an annual quota of refugees.  That is the number that needs to increase substantially to address the global refugee issue.  Like climate change, New Zealand can only ever have a minimal effect without the contribution of other nations.

I am sympathetic to calls for a modest increase in our quota. Maybe have it as a proportion of our population, so it rises a bit over time. But this is not a good time to increase it. Net migration is at a record high and infrastructure is going to start to feel some real strains. If anything, we need to temporarily reduce the level of net migration for a year or two – not because we don’t still want migration, just that it needs to be at a level our infrastructure can handle.

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From beheadings to Eton

February 26th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Daily Mail reports:

When three-year-old Rohid Zamani and his family fled Afghanistan to escape the terrors of the Taliban regime, they could only hope to reach a better place.

But never in their wildest dreams could they have imagined such a spectacular outcome for their little boy.

While the family have built a new life in Britain, Rohid, now 16, has defied overwhelming odds to win a full scholarship to Eton.

His extraordinary story began in the city of Jalalabad, where the Zamanis lived in fear of the extremist Islamic rulers and civil unrest raging around them.

Among the horrors they witnessed was a man who was decapitated because he put gel in his hair to style it.

‘He was dragged out in the street and they chopped his head off,’ said Rohid.

Afghanistan is far from perfect today, but those who claim it is no better than under Taliban rule have never lived there!

Rohid’s father, who worked as a civil engineer, decided to risk everything by fleeing the country with his wife and two children.

Their journey took them across 3,500 miles, including crossing rivers in Russia in a leaking rubber dinghy.

Rohid said: ‘My mum was scared we were going to sink. She put her hand on the hole.

‘I was really scared. After that we had to wait for a van and the van broke down so we had to go through a forest.

‘There were wolves and dogs, everybody was just so scared.’

The family also became separated at one point.

They spoke no English when they arrived in Hull but they soon adapted and were allowed to settle in the UK. And Rohid showed his dedication to learning early on.

An incredible journey.

As well as being bright and hard-working, he excelled at rugby league and athletics. When the school suggested Rohid apply for an Eton scholarship he jumped at the chance and was among hundreds who took part in a tough four-day interview process.

‘Luckily I was picked so I must have done OK,’ he said. 

He starts at sixth form in September, studying A-levels in maths, biology, chemistry and physics.
Rohid’s father now works as a van driver – but the family won’t have to pay a penny of the £30,000 annual fees and have been given a £1,500 bursary to help cover school uniform and other expenses.

The teenager now knows there is no limit to what he can achieve. He hopes to become a surgeon. Commenting on the Eton life that awaits him, he said: ‘It’s a huge step, a bit like going to university two years early.

When people talk about equality of opportunity – this is what it means. A very heart-warming story.

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Thoughts on the asylum seekers deal with Australia

February 12th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

A few thoughts:

  • Isn’t it amusing that when Helen Clark agreed to take some boat people who were seeking asylum in Australia she was lauded by the entire left for her humanitarian gesture yet when John Key agrees to do much the same, but annually, he is condemned by the exact same people. And yes, the Tampa refugees were treated as part of the quota also.
  • How can one criticize this deal for encouraging queue-jumping yet also advocate that Australia should resume onshore processing which has been shown to massively encourage boat voyages and queue jumping.
  • Personally I think there is a legitimate criticism that this deal may encourage queue-jumping, but probably not significantly enough to actually lead to a group of people deciding to make a boat voyage they otherwise would not have.
  • There is a surprising lack of sophistication in understanding our relationship with Australia is not purely a transactional one. The decision by the NZ Government helps Julia Gillard (and any successor)  in what is arguably her most difficult domestic issue. That will not be forgotten.
  • The notion that Australia bullied NZ into this is ridiculous. In fact as reported it was a NZ initiative
  • What is surprising is the lack of focus on a centre-right NZ PM helping out a centre-left Australian PM. It’s a nice example of not letting domestic politics interfere with having a strong relationship.
  • I’m surprised also no one has cottoned on to Gillard making an unprecedented early announcement of the election date, almost certainly being because Key the same thing in 2011.
  • Personally I think taking in refugees is one of the better things a country can do, so long as they are able to integrate well into their new country and that the level is sustainable. Note that Australia takes in 20,000 to our 750. I’d like that to increase at some stage in the future when our economy is stronger. But I think it is best increased through the UNHCR process, not through increasing the number in the bilateral agreement with Australia
  • You have to love Labour’s strong clear policy on this issue. They are outraged of course, but when asked what they would do, the answer is “Shearer said if elected, Labour would discuss the policy with Australia.” – you can’t make this stuff up.
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A humane decision

October 26th, 2012 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Up to 26 Afghan interpreters will be given asylum in New Zealand when Kiwi troops withdraw from Bamiyan next April.

A spokesman for Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman said Cabinet agreed on Monday to offer the interpreters a resettlement package in New Zealand.

The details will be released next week when Dr Coleman returns from a visit to the Middle East.

The interpreters, working with the Provincial Reconstruction Team, are being notified of their packages.

Including the interpreters’ families, 75 Afghans would come to New Zealand.

Prime Minister John Key said earlier this month he was sympathetic to Afghan interpreters working with Kiwi troops who say their lives will be in danger.

The interpreters have said their work over a long period has made their identities known to insurgents, putting them at risk after New Zealand leaves the region.

I think this is the right decision. This incidentally doesn’t mean an increase in refugees – rather that they get allocated 75 out of our annual (I think) 750 places.

UPDATE: They do not qualify as refugees, so in fact are additional to the normal quota.

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The dangers of boat asylum seekers

June 22nd, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Scores are feared dead as rescuers race to save 200 asylum seekers who were on a boat that capsized en route to Australia.

Indonesian authorities were leading the rescue effort for the boat that went down in their jurisdiction about 200km north of Christmas Island.

The stricken vessel was spotted by an Australian Customs and Border Protection surveillance plane about 5pm (NZ time).

“It is believed up to 200 people could be on board, although this detail has not yet been confirmed,” Customs said in a statement.

West Australian Police Commissioner Karl O’Callaghan said about 40 people were spotted on the upturned hull, others were in the water and up to 75 others may be dead.

“We have grave fears for the remainder,” he told reporters.

What an awful way to die, drowning in the Indian Ocean scores of miles from land.

In December 2010, more than 50 asylum seekers, including women and children, died when a boat known as SIEV 221 crashed into rocks off Christmas Island.

The disaster was the largest loss of life in Australian waters in peacetime in 115 years.

And as many as 200 people drowned last December when an overloaded boat sank off the coast of East Java on its way to Australia.

Only 49 people survived the tragedy, which occurred in rough monsoonal seas on December 17.

So far this year, 57 boats carrying a total of 4006 passengers and 82 crew have arrived in Australia.

For the month of June, there have been 18 boats carrying a total of 1108 people.

The latest arrived arrived on Thursday and had 117 people on board.

I wonder how many were genuine refugees who gained asylum.


Boat People Laws

May 1st, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Claire Trevett at NZ Herald reports:

Prime Minister John Key says there is an increasing risk that boat people will make it to New Zealand’s shores and new changes to the immigration law are needed to deter people smugglers and cope with a possible mass arrival of asylum seekers.

And the changes:

  • will apply to illegal immigrants who arrive in a group of 11 or more.
  • will be detained under a group warrant, rather than individual warrants.
  • if accepted as refugees, will not get residency for at least three years after their refugee status is reviewed.
  • will only be able to sponsor immediate family members to NZ, not extended family such as adult siblings or parents.

A key thing to understand is the difference between genuine refugees and what might be called economic refugees.

A genuine refugee is a person who flees a country because they face persecution “on account of race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or because they are a member of a persecuted ‘social group’.” A Jew fleeing Nazi Europe is one example. A political dissident from China could be another.

“Economic refugees” or “Economic migrants” are those who seek to move to another country because it has a higher standard of living. Their motivation is quite understandable – your family are likely to have a much better life in Australia or New Zealand than in say Indonesia.

However NZ and Australia do not have open borders. They have criteria for immigration based on education, skills, wealth, age etc. Allowing anyone who can make the journey over to stay, undermines that. Hence when “boat people” turn up, they are often detained until it is clarified that they are legitimate refugees, or “economic refugees”. It is not particularly nice to do such a thing, but the reality is that if not detained, then it may be very difficult to locate them again if they are meant to be deported.

We have been fortunate not to have had a significant issue to date, but I think it is inevitable we will have a fairly large boat or two arrive at some stage.

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