INDEPENDENT NEWS

NZ Policy Towards Fiji Refugees Inconsistant

Published: Thu 20 Jul 2000 11:24 AM
New Zealand's Policy Towards Fiji Refugees Inconsistent And Confusing
United New Zealand leader, Hon Peter Dunne, says the Government's policy regarding Fijian refugees from the current crisis is inconsistent and confusing.
He says the Government's earlier decision to enable Fijian visitors in New Zealand to have their visas or work permits extended was, while very limited in scope, a welcome move.
However, he says too little information has been made available since then about how the policy is to operate, and no rules or guidelines seem to have been promulgated.
"In fact, the only concrete information seems to be the Minister's brief press statement."
"This vague state of affairs is causing immense confusion amongst Fijians currently in New Zealand, or with family in Fiji wanting to visit here."
"No-one seems to know where they stand, and no-one seems able to give them any clear answers."
"The Government clearly does not want an influx of refugees from Fiji, but equally has created expectations through its various comments that it does not now seem willing to meet."
"I have dealt with a number of cases through my office, but it is extremely difficult to advise people what to do, because the policy is so vague."
"At a time when people are under stress anyway, this is the last thing you need," he says.
Mr Dunne is calling on the Government to spell out clear rules about who will be eligible to come to or stay in New Zealand, for how long and under what circumstances, and for these to be applied consistently.
"At present, you seem to get a different answer from everyone you talk to, and that is causing understandable and mounting resentment," he says.
ENDS

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