3 Jun 2020

National Party questions Behrouz Boochani decision

From Morning Report, 6:48 am on 3 June 2020

The National Party is raising further questions about whether refugee journalist Behrouz Boochani should have been allowed into New Zealand in the first place.

Boochani, who spent six years in detention on Manus island, has been in the country since November and is believed to have applied for asylum.

National immigration spokesperson Stuart Smith told RNZ reporter Gill Bonnett Boochani appears to have been excluded from Australia, making him ineligible to come to New Zealand without a special direction.

In a statement, Immigration New Zealand says the immigration minister was made aware of Boochani's visitor visa application but as this was an operational decision the Minister was not involved in the decision.

It says its staff assess whether applicants truly intend a temporary stay, but would not comment further for legal and privacy reasons.

RNZ has contacted the immigration minister, Iain Lees-Galloway, whose office said he was not involved in the decision.

The Australian Department of Home Affairs confirmed it is the Australian Government's policy that anyone who attempts to come to Australia illegally by boat will never settle there.