We suggest this Bill will not achieve its intended outcomes. We share the Minister for Immigration's concerns regarding the plight of asylum seekers who have met untimely deaths onboard unseaworthy boats in several incidents in the Pacific as they have desperately sought safety. We support the Minister for Immigration’s comments regarding the continuing need for border integrity, along with Aotearoa New Zealand’s sovereign right to determine who is able to gain permanent residency (and taking into account international obligations).
We think Aotearoa New Zealand has the opportunity to learn from other countries regarding what has failed to work, and the harm that has already been done to vulnerable people. We see this Bill as an opportunity to work with all parties and civil society as a whole to devise a plan of action which will ensure the human rights and dignities of all people seeking our help, whether they arrive by a regular or irregular route.
The Salvation Army supports the call by the Refugee Council of New Zealand for a facilitated multi-party broad accord on how a potential future boat arrival could be properly managed, balancing both border protection and humanitarian obligations.