Door could be opening for Nauru refugees to come to NZ


The Australian government has indicated it could accept New Zealand’s offer to take up to 150 refugees, but only if legislation passes Parliament ensuring people sent to offshore detention can never travel to Australia in the future.

New Zealand first made the offer in 2013, but the coalition government has not accepted it arguing that the refugees would be able to use New Zealand as a back door to Australia.

But after a recent byelection, the Coalition is likely to become a minority government, and it now says it would accept the New Zealand offer if opposition MPs support its Bill to ban all refugees held offshore from ever returning to Australia.

The Labour Party (ALP)  and the Greens have opposed the Bill since it was introduced in 2016.

Both parties now say they will support the legislation under certain conditions.

They are demanding that all children and their families are removed from offshore detention camps.

And they say a travel ban should apply only to the cohort sent to New Zealand, and not everyone who had arrived by boat to Australia since July 2013.

Last week, the New Zealand foreign minister, Winston Peters, said such a ban would create a second class of New Zealand citizenship.

But on Wednesday, the New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern said the offer would still stand if the refugees were banned from Australia by Australian law.

The Refugee Action Coalition in Australia is calling on all Labour, Green and Independent politicians to completely reject the Coalition’s lifetime ban bill.

They say there is every reason to believe that a resolution to Parliament to accept the New Zealand resettlement offer, immediately and without conditions, would be passed with the support of dissident Liberal MPs.


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