New Zealand should take more Tampa refugees – Locke

Green Party Immigration Spokesperson Keith Locke wants New Zealand to take more Afghan refugees from the ship Tampa.

“It’s sickening that the Tampa Afghans still marooned on Nauru are being used as a political football, on both sides of the Tasman.

“New Zealand was right to take in 130 Afghans from the Tampa. And because they are settling in so well, it would be good to take more,” said Mr Locke.

“We totally reject Richard Prebble’s view that we should not have given the Tampa Afghans refugee status, on the grounds that most Afghans left on Nauru have yet to get refugee status.

“Afghanistan is still a dangerous place to be, with ethnic and factional infighting. After all the suffering and tragedy the Tampa refugees have been through, do we really want to force them back to Afghanistan?”

Mr Locke said nearly 300 Afghans have been stuck in Nauru for seven months, and the New Zealand Government should tell the Nauru Government we will take some more.

“The first 130 settled here were hardly a sacrifice, because they fell under New Zealand’s 750 annual refugee quota.

“Let’s show the world we are a compassionate people and take more Tampa refugees.”