Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young says New Zealand is following Australia's lead in discriminating against boat people, after Prime Minister John Key left open the option of sending illegal immigrants to Australian detention centres.
Mr Key said Canberra and Wellington have discussed the possibility of asylum seekers that arrive in New Zealand being placed in Australian detention centres.
But Senator Hanson-Young said the conditions of the detention centres are sub-standard, a finding which has been supported by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and Amnesty International.
She said the centres are like prisons and New Zealand will look like it does not care about boat people if it sends them there.
The Refugee Action Coalition said it can't believe any politician would willingly associate themselves with the detention centres.
Spokesperson Ian Rintoul questioned why Mr Key would want to align his government with them.