26 Jan 2006

New Zealand should accept Papuan boat people, says Green MP

9:09 pm on 26 January 2006

New Zealand's Green Party says Australia's approach to processing asylum seekers in offshore detention centres thousands of miles away from legal and social support is repugnant.

Green MP Keith Locke says some of the 43 Papuans detained on Christmas Island by Australia after claiming they have fled persecution in Indonesia, should be offered the chance of homes in New Zealand.

Mr Locke says he knows from his own visit to Papua last April that there is substantial ongoing harassment of the local people.

He says New Zealand can again show Australia's Howard government how to be compassionate as it did in 2001 by taking on some Afghan asylum seekers from the freighter, the Tampa.

"Show a bit of an example to the Australian people, many of whom are worried about what their government is doing, that there is a different way. And hopefully put that moral pressure on the Australians not to continue to detain boat people in this way, particularly those from West Papua where so clearly there's a repressive situation that these people are escaping from."