NZ to allow mass detention of 'boat people'

2013-06-14 14:07
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Wellington - New Zealand's parliament passed legislation late on Thursday allowing it to detain groups of more than 30 asylum seekers for up to six months.

The government believes it is only a matter of time before boats carrying asylum seekers, which have long targeted Australia, make it to New Zealand waters.

"This legislation is about ensuring our system can handle a mass arrival should one occur and sending a clear message to potential people-smuggling ventures that New Zealand is not a soft touch," said Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse.

He said the landing in Western Australia in April of a boat from Sri Lanka, with occupants saying they wished to come to New Zealand and flying a New Zealand flag, showed the need for the new law.

"New Zealand is a growing target for boats from Asia, as demonstrated recently by the boat carrying 66 Sri Lankan asylum seekers," he said.

However, the government's claims were dismissed by the opposition Labour Party, with immigration spokesperson Darien Fenton telling parliament it was ridiculous to think a boat could make it to New Zealand without stopping somewhere on the way.

Rights group Amnesty International said the new detention powers breached the Refugee Convention and human rights law.

"Amnesty believes that this law will do nothing to counter people smuggling, and the government should not be targeting the victims but the people smugglers themselves. Unnecessarily locking up women, children and families will violate New Zealand's international obligations," Amnesty said.

Read more on:    new zealand  |  australia  |  immigrants

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Prince George the green prince?

Prince Charles hopes his grandson's love of the outdoors will become a passion for the environment.



One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa
China's air pollution at doomsday levels
Keep food fresher for longer
Hurricanes, earthquakes and floods – What climate change really means for us

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly


The full moon energy can be quite intense today as your emotions fight against reason. It is important to ground your ideas more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.