New Zealand Labour Party

Truth needed on NZ involvement in people smuggling

John Key needs to assure New Zealanders that his government knew nothing - and was in no way implicated - with Australia’s apparent policy of paying people-smugglers to keep refugees from its borders, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer says.

“Today’s report from Amnesty International backs claims that Australian officials have been making cash payments to Indonesian people-smuggling rings and underlines the need for a full independent inquiry into the matter.

“The Prime Minister needs to make very clear that his Government had nothing to do with the policy and knew nothing about it.

“Two years ago John Key agreed to take 150 ‘boat people’ for Australia in return for Australia intercepting any large influx of refugees suspected of being en route to New Zealand.

“Paying off people smugglers to turn back boats is wrong and is no way to address the issue.

“Our government should be making how we feel crystal clear to our neighbours across the ditch, as well as reassuring Kiwis it has had no involvement in any of this,” David Shearer says.