Refugee group condemns New Zealand refugee deal

The Refugee Action Coalition has condemned the deal with New Zealand to take 150 refugees processed in Australia each year.

“This deal does nothing to provide security for a greater number of asylum seekers or refugees. Australia can easily resettle 150 a year itself.

“But, the Labor government has successfully drawn New Zealand into cooperation with its Pacific Solution meaning New Zealand will be taking 150 fewer people referred to it by the United Nations,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“It is a pointless deal: a regional non-solution. Asylum seekers are still going to have to get on boats and get to Australia before they have any hope of protection.

“New Zealand could have greatly increased its refugee intake from its pitifully small 750 and provided resettlement for refugees directly from Indonesia. Instead they are cooperating with Australia’s effort to undermine the Refugee Convention.

“The Gillard government has not lived up to its promise to take even 400 refugees from Indonesia. Only 180 were resettled last year. And the government is a long way from implementing the Expert Panel recommendation to resettle 3800 refugees from Indonesia and Malaysia.

“Rather than off-load refugees to another Pacific neighbour, the Gillard government should be upholding its obligation to asylum seekers to protect and process them in Australia,” said Rintoul.

“Five years after the Rudd Labor government closed Nauru, the government now seems determined to do anything it can to avoid its obligations to refugees. It will do everything but the right thing – end the misery inflicted on asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru and bring those asylum seekers to Australia.”

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