INDEPENDENT NEWS

National Shows True Colours Over Afghan Refugees

Published: Tue 2 Oct 2001 11:34 AM
Calls by the National Party for Afghan refugees to be held at Rangipo Prison Farm while their refugee status is determined show the Party's true colours, says United Future leader, Hon Peter Dunne.
Mr Dunne says the National Party's calls smack of the most blatant xenophobia and will inflame an already tense situation.
"The plight of these boat people has already been made difficult because of the fear of international terrorism, and calls to effectively treat refugees as prisoners simply sends the subliminal message that they are to blame."
"That is utterly irresponsible, and suggests the National Party is more interested in taking political advantage of a difficult situation than in offering leadership at a time of uncertainty and fear."
"By pandering to base instincts, National is actually making the current situation more unstable and uncertain at a time when people are craving stability and certainty," Mr Dunne says.
Mr Dunne says the long-established process for dealing with refugees, including holding them in special centres until their status is resolved, should apply in these cases, and should not be changed without good reason."
"No evidence has yet been raised to link any of these people with terrorism, or to suggest they are security risks."
"Until and unless that changes, these people should not be treated any differently from other refugees coming to this country."
"It is time to National's shame that it is not prepared to say so," Mr Dunne says.
Ends

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