The left wing media made a lot of noise when New Zealand first offered to take 150 asylum seekers from Australia’s facilities in Nauru and Manus Island. That was back in 2013. The mainstream media did their best to make the Coalition government look inhumane by comparison to the compassionate Kiwis.
But questions about the veracity and wisdom of New Zealand’s offer from within its current government are throwing a less flattering light on the issue.
Following doubts that New Zealand would even accept any single male refugees last week, New Zealand’s deputy prime minister is now questioning why his country offered Australia the opportunity to resettle asylum seekers from Manus Island and Nauru. In saying that though, he isn’t willing to take the offer off the table.
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Deputy minister baffled by offer
New Zealand’s previous government offered to take 150 refugees back in 2013. But since taking office, NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has continued to push for the deal, even as recently as her meeting with Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week, AAP reports.
But Winston Peters, Ardern’s deputy and foreign minister, and leader of the populist NZ First party and campaigner for sharp cuts to immigration — is still baffled as to why the offer was ever made.
‘I didn’t make the offer. If I was the one that decided to make the offer I would stand by it. But I didn’t,’ he told Sky on Tuesday.
‘You’ve got to go back and ask (former prime minister) Sir John Key why did he make it. And I’m still waiting for an answer to that.’
Even with these comments, Peters won’t retract the pledge.
‘We’re not Indian givers. We don’t do that sort of stuff.’
In Auckland last week, Morrison told reporters that it was less likely than ever that Australia would accept the offer due to the passing of new a medivac law against the government’s wishes, according to AAP.
On the other side of politics, Labor remains firm on its plans to accept the deal.
‘We’ll cross that bridge if we have to when we come to it,’ Peters said.
Successive Australian governments have refused the offer, stating that it could be used as a tool for people smugglers.
The original offer came from New Zealand’s centre-right National Party.
On Friday, the NZ PM rejected media reports that her country wasn’t open to resettling single men from Nauru and Manus Island.
NZ unhappy with Aussie deportation rules
This week has also seen Kiwi politicians continue to ramp-up their criticism regarding the deportation of NZ passport holders from Australia.
On Friday, Ardern complained that too many Kiwis, who had spent majority of their lives down under, had been deported since the rules were toughened in 2014.
She called it ‘corrosive’ to the trans-Tasman bond.
Telling Newstalk ZB on Tuesday that some of the cases were ‘indefensible’.
Peters commented as well, telling Sky that the policy was a ‘festering sore in the context of justice and humanity’.
Last week, Morrison defended the deportations as a hallmark of his government, according to AAP.
Morrison, however, also stated that he was willing to hear the complaint from our neighbours.
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