22 Jul 2013

NZ asylum law change justified by new Aust approach - Govt

8:47 am on 22 July 2013

The New Zealand Government says a new approach to asylum seekers in Australia, vindicates a recent law change.

Australia will no longer accept asylum seekers who arrive by boat. Prime minister Kevin Rudd announced on Friday they will be sent to a processing centre on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and resettlement there.

The new law in New Zealand allows asylum seekers arriving in a group of 30 or more to be detained under a group warrant.

The Government says the country will now become more of a target for asylum seekers, and the law changes will help it respond to a mass arrival.

The New Zealand Council for Refugees says Australia has abrogated its obligations under the international refugee convention.

But Australia says it is committed to keeping people safe, and it will assist Papua New Guinea in achieving that.

Labour says asylum seekers are being used as a domestic political football by both major parties in Australia.

Immigration spokesperson Darien Fenton said the change in Australia is a political move, aimed at the coming election.