RefNZ News




31 December 2002  Former refugee awarded Queen's Service Medal for community service

24 December 2002  Iraqi man jailed on fraud, forgery and immigration charges

24 December 2002  Former employee of New Zealand Immigration Service admits demanding money

23 December 2002  Advance passenger information now provided to Customs on all flights

18 December 2002  Afghan Tampa refugees succeed at school

17 December 2002  New anti-terrorism measures introduced to Parliament

16 December 2002  Algerian man claims refugee status

14 December 2002  Refugees from China jailed for smuggling paua

28 November 2002  National Party proposes cut to refugee resettlement quota

25 November 2002  Immigration and Refugee Law Seminar

21 November 2002  Refugee Status Appeals Authority delivers decisions addressing language analysis and the relationship between refugee law and international human rights law

20 November 2002  Benefit payments to refugee family questioned

10 November 2002  Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture adopted

9 November 2002  Former refugee claimant questioned over terrorist bombing in Argentina

8 November 2002  Government investigating grant of residence permit to man refused refugee status

6 November 2002  Court of Appeal reserves decision

5 November 2002  Court of Appeal hears detention case

4 November 2002  Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee publishes statistics on refugee claims, detention of asylum-seekers and the removal from New Zealand of those declined refugee status

23 October 2002  Backlog of appeals before Refugee Status Appeals Authority being addressed

23 October 2002  Refugee Status Appeals Authority annual report published

18 October 2002  Refugee fraud case leads to acrimony in Parliament

17 October 2002  Two men from Afghanistan face charges after obtaining refugee status by providing false information

17 October 2002  Public address given by Professor James C Hathaway

16 October 2002  Asylum-seekers attacked again

16 October 2002  Further anti-terrorism legislation introduced

12 October 2002  Students donate soccer goal posts to Mangere resettlement centre

9 October 2002  Anti-terrorism legislation enacted

8 October 2002  New measures taken by Customs to deal with terrorism, illegal migrants and asylum-seekers

2 October 2002  People found not to be refugees still in New Zealand

13 September 2002  Refugee fraud linked to conferences held in New Zealand

12 September 2002  Immigration and refugee fraud under investigation

11 September 2002  Detention of asylum-seekers debated

10 September 2002  New Zealand thanks East Timor over Sri Lankan boatpeople

10 September 2002  High Court judgments on detention of asylum-seekers now available on Case Search page

6 September 2002  Refugee Status Appeals Authority delivers important decision addressing both statelessness and causation

4 September 2002  New health tests possible

30 August 2002  Three recent High Court decisions now available on Casesearch page

30 August 2002  Government challenges health concerns

29 August 2002  Government criticised for accepting further Tampa refugees

28 August 2002  Questions asked about newly arriving resettlement refugees

27 August 2002  New Zealand accepts more refugees refused entry to Australia

23 August 2002  Study reveals health problems of asylum-seekers

21 August 2002  Sri Lankan boatpeople abandon refugee claims

19 August 2002  New detention policy criticised

14 August 2002  Hon Lianne Dalziel reappointed Minister of Immigration

14 August 2002  Philippine boatpeople heading for New Zealand

14 August 2002  UN Human Rights Committee criticises NZ detention of asylum-seekers

8 August 2002  New government formed

3 August 2002  East Timor suspects Sri Lankan men part of people-smuggling operation

2 August 2002  Sri Lankan boatpeople disembark in East Timor

1 August 2002  Refugee Status Appeals Authority now has website

31 July 2002  Fifty-six Sri Lankan boatpeople arrive in Dili en route to New Zealand

29 July 2002  High Court holds that refugee status claimant has burden of proving the claim

27 July 2002  General election held

26 July 2002  English Court of Appeal holds that Palestinians not refugees unless well-founded fear test satisfied

22 July 2002  New interpreting service

6 July 2002  Refugee Status Appeals Authority warns of abuse of system

4 July 2002  Research paper defining the parameters of the non-refoulement principle now available at this website

2 July 2002  High Court dismisses proceedings brought by two Nigerian citizens

1 July 2002  Populist attack on High Court ruling

1 July 2002  Government appeals High Court decision

29 June 2002  Refugee hostel has inadequate resources to deal with asylum-seekers released from detention

28 June 2002  Minister of Foreign Affairs claims campaign against people-smugglers meeting success

27 June 2002  High Court delivers supplementary judgment on detention of asylum-seekers

26 June 2002  Report on detention of asylum-seekers in New Zealand now available at this website

21 June 2002  New Zealand advised to examine the backgrounds of refugees thoroughly

20 June 2002  High Court resumes hearing of detention challenge

17 June 2002  Transnational Organised Crime Bill unpacked - six amendment Acts assented to

16 June 2002  Canada grants New Zealand woman refugee status

14 June 2002  Boat may have sunk

13 June 2002  Human Rights Foundation and Refugee Council of New Zealand release report

12 June 2002  Transnational Organised Crime Bill passed

12 June 2002  New Zealand and Indonesia working to prevent boatpeople leaving Indonesia

11 June 2002   Election date announced

11 June 2002  Boatpeople said to be heading for New Zealand

10 June 2002  Asylum-seeker released on bail following High Court ruling

4 June 2002  High Court refuses to grant Crown stay of execution

31 May 2002  High Court delivers interim judgment on detention of asylum-seekers

31 May 2002  UNHCR issues Guidelines on Gender-Related Persecution and Guidelines on "Membership of a Particular Social Group"

30 May 2002  UNHCR urges States to make asylum procedures available to trafficked women

30 May 2002  Transnational Organised Crime Bill read a second time

29 May 2002  Transnational Organised Crime Bill reported back to Parliament

25 May 2002  People-smuggling ring uncovered and refugee fraud exposed - refugee status to be revoked

24 May 2002  New Directory for Australian refugee support groups

23 May 2002  Government announces funding package for refugee resettlement

23 May 2002  New security checks

9 & 10 May 2002  High Court reserves judgment on challenge to detention policy

9 May 2002  Refugee resettlement policy challenged

8 May 2002  Detention statistics

7 May 2002  MV Tampa and her captain visit New Zealand

7 May 2002  Indonesia welcomes New Zealand decision to take more refugees from Asia/Pacific region

6 May 2002  Further intake of resettlement refugees to arrive

3 May 2002  Children of refugees resettled in New Zealand at risk of beating

30 April 2002  Immigration consultant refused admission as barrister and solicitor

29 April 2002  High Court dismisses application for judicial review brought by Ghanaian citizen

29 April 2002  Immigration (Transit Visas) Regulations 2002 come into force

27 April 2002  Military camp being prepared to house refugee claimants

26 April 2002  Procedure for HIV testing of resettlement refugees to be reviewed

11 April 2002  High Court of Australia addresses refugee claims by women not protected by the State

11 April 2002  MV Tampa and her captain to visit New Zealand

10 April 2002  UNHCR makes decision on Tampa asylum-seekers

5 April 2002  Refugee Status Appeals Authority publishes decision addressing the burden of proof, the meaning of well-founded fear and the meaning of persecution

28 March 2002  Transit visa regime expanded

15 March 2002  Thai visa scam businessman removed from NZ

11 March 2002  Legal challenge to detention of asylum-seekers to be heard in High Court, Auckland

10 March 2002  New website provides resettlement information

8 March 2002  Minister of Immigration to speak to refugee and immigration lawyers

5 March 2002  Minister of Foreign Affairs publicises tough stance against people-smugglers

4 March 2002  US Department of State releases 2001 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

4 March 2002  Two new reports on women's rights launched by Refugee Women's Resource Project

1 March 2002  Poll assesses attitude to refugees

1 March 2002  People-smuggling conference ends

28 February 2002 Conference on people-smuggling in Bali

27 February 2002  Regional conference on people-smuggling commences in Bali

25 February 2002  New Zealand to participate in regional conference against people-smuggling

25 February 2002  People-smuggling legislation introduced

18 February 2002  Government denies resettlement refugees will lose places

17 February 2002  Visa scams continue

16 February 2002  Refugee resettlement places jeopardised?

15 February 2002   Minister launches videos by Refugee Resettlement Support

14 February 2002  Ethiopian detained for treatment

8 February 2002  Ethiopian acquitted on grounds of insanity

7 February 2002  Court of Appeal upholds eleven year jail sentence for Iraqi refugee

4 February 2002  Legal Services Agency takes over refugee legal aid assignment

1 February 2002  Government warned NZ may be target of people-smugglers

1 February 2002  Government proposal to increase quota for resettlement refugees criticized

1 February 2002  Refugees cost $34m per year

31 January 2002  Increased security measures

21 January 2002  Race Relations Conciliator says NZ must look at the way it resettles refugees

20 January 2002  Racial violence in Hamilton

20 January 2002  Stowaway claim disputed

19 January 2002  Auckland death follows racial tensions

18 January 2002  Papua New Guinea agrees to take another 1,000 asylum-seekers

18 January 2002  Minister of Immigration denies NZ soft target for migrant smuggling

12 January 2002  Alleged LTTE arms trader makes secret visit to New Zealand

11 January 2002  Supreme Court of Canada rules that refugees can be refouled even if there is a risk of torture

1 January 2002  New refugee scam involving Thais exposed

31 December 2002 A former refugee who arrived in New Zealand more than fifty years ago and who subsequently became a worker for refugee rights has been awarded the Queen's Service Medal for community service.  Mr Mazhar Krasniqi is the leader of the Muslim and Albania communities and acted as an advocate for migrants from Albanian, Kosovo and Macedonia and in 1999 during the Kosovo crisis successfully lobbied the government to accept approximately 600 refugees.

["Awards recognise service to society", NZ Herald, Tuesday, December 31, 2002, p A6]

24 December 2002 An Iraqi man has been sentenced to two years imprisonment on fraud, forgery and immigration charges.  He had entered Australia on a false British passport in 1998 claiming refugee status, an application found to be false.  In 1999 he escaped from immigration officials in Brisbane and travelled through Asia, the Middle East and the Pacific using forged or false passports and travel documents.  After his arrival in New Zealand he obtained New Zealand drivers' licences by using forged photo identification and then used the licences to open bank accounts.

[NZ Herald, Tuesday, December 24, 2002, p A5]

24 December 2002 A former employee of the New Zealand Immigration Service has admitted to the New Zealand Herald that she set up a meeting in which her husband was caught trying to collect NZ$4,000 from an Indonesian couple who have applied for refugee status.  The couple understood that the money was part payment of NZ$27,000 they were to provide to bribe a supposedly corrupt immigration official.  The woman further admitted that she had no contact within the New Zealand Immigration Service or the office of the Minister of Immigration.  She would not explain why she had concocted the claim to be able to bribe an immigration officer.

[Alan Perrott, "Woman admits migrant scam", NZ Herald, Tuesday, December 24, 2002, p A6]

23 December 2002 By the end of December 2002 the New Zealand Customs Service will receive advance electronic information about passengers on all flights arriving in New Zealand.  The Minister of Customs says that all airlines which regularly fly into New Zealand have agreed to feed data direct to the Customs Service computer system before flights arrive and this will give New Zealand an extra security tool by allowing New Zealand authorities to assess passenger information before flights land.  The data will be checked for people of interest to New Zealand authorities including the Police and Immigration Service.  The supply of advance passenger information is a first step towards setting up the APP (Advance Passenger Processing) system which will allow the Immigration Service and Customs to analyse information before passengers board their flights to New Zealand.  When in place, APP will allow overseas authorities to take action, such as preventing someone from boarding an inbound flight, rather than action being taken when a flight reaches New Zealand.  The Immigration Service is leading the development of APP.  The New Zealand Customs Service already receives advance electronic information about passengers arriving in New Zealand on cruise ships.  The information is transmitted electronically from the ship on its way to New Zealand and analysed by Customs' computer system before the ship arrives at a New Zealand port.

[Hon Rick Barker, "Airlines cooperating to provide passenger information", Media Statement, Monday 23 December 2002; Mathew Dearnaley, "Suspicious travellers picked up", NZ Herald, Wednesday, January 1, 2003, p A3]

18 December 2002 Selwyn College, Auckland, has held a special end-of-year prizegiving ceremony to recognise the academic achievements of the thirty-nine Afghan refugee students from the MV Tampa.  Originally forty-two teenagers started at the College but three, all unaccompanied minors and classed as wards of the state, have jobs.  Of the thirty-nine remaining students the College reports that they have done remarkably well.  Next year many will be totally mainstreamed into Year 11 classes, some at Year 12 level.  This year, four of the boys joined mainstream Year 11 maths and four joined Year 11 science classes.

[Nicola Taylor, "Tampa students deserve top marks", East & Bays Courier, Wednesday, December 18, 2002, front page]

17 December 2002 The Government today introduced further legislation to implement various United Nations Conventions on terrorism.  The Counter-Terrorism bill follows on from the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 past in October and will be the final step in adopting the last of twelve UN conventions aimed at fighting global terrorism.  Among the new terrorist offences and penalties will be infecting animals with disease (ten years imprisonment); contamination of food, crops, water or other products intended for human consumption (ten years imprisonment); threatening or communicating information about harm to persons or property, including hoax calls (seven years imprisonment); habouring or concealing terrorists (seven years imprisonment).  In addition, terrorism will be an aggravating factor for sentencing purposes under the Sentencing Act 2002.  The bill also allows New Zealand to implement two further UN conventions which relate to the possessing, using or manufacture of plastic explosives and to the transporting, improperly obtaining, or threatening to use nuclear material.  Finally, a District or High Court judge will be able to issue a warrant to authorise the use of a tracking device if satisfied that it is required to obtain evidence of the commission of a terrorist offence.

[Hon Phil Goff, "Government continues fight against terrorism", Media Statement, Tuesday, 17 December 2002; Vernon Small, "Bill creates new terror crimes", NZ Herald, Wednesday, December 18, 2002, p A6]

16 December 2002 An Algerian man said to be a leading figure in the Algerian opposition party banned after a military coup in 1992 has sought refugee status in New Zealand.

[Francesca Mold, "Terror suspect man of peace, says exile", NZ Herald, Monday, December 16, 2002, p A3]

14 December 2002 Two Chinese nationals, reportedly with refugee status, have been jailed for their part in a smuggling chain moving paua and rock lobster to Hong Kong and southern China.  The stolen paua was worth NZ$1.17 million.  It is reported that they have claimed no income or assets and were receiving the unemployment benefit plus accommodation supplements and family support for their two children.  They are to be investigated for possible benefit fraud and tax evasion.

["Jailed paua smugglers linked to crime ring", NZ Herald, Thursday, December 12, 2002, p A4; James Gardiner, "Paua gang face fraud, tax probes", Weekend Herald, December 14, 2002, p A5]

28 November 2002 The National Party, currently in opposition, has released a discussion document on immigration which (inter alia) proposes cutting the refugee quota from 750 to 500 to bring the number of approvals closer to 1,000 when asylum-seekers are added.  Another proposal is to remove entitlement to welfare benefits from all immigrants except refugees during their first two years in New Zealand.

[Audrey Young, "National calls for big cut in migrants", NZ Herald, Thursday, November 28, 2002, p A7]

25 November 2002 The Auckland District Law Society today presented a seminar entitled "Immigration and Refugee Law - Updates and Issues in Law and Practice".  This seminar provided an update on case law and trends in Immigration and Refugee Law together with an examination of practice and strategies in refugee cases regarding access to information and the detention of refugee claimants.  The topics included access to information - the importance of full disclosure by the NZIS and RSB; challenging non-disclosure; strategies for using the Privacy Act and Official Information Act; the detention of refugee claimants - the current regime for detention; NZIS review of detention and applications to the District Court for conditional release.  The speakers were Rodger Haines QC, Deputy Chairperson of the New Zealand Refugee Status Appeals Authority; Deborah Manning, junior counsel in the recent Refugee Council of New Zealand v Attorney-General heard by the Court of Appeal on 5 & 6 November 2002 and Jeanne Donald who practises primarily in the areas of immigration and refugee law.  All three papers will appear on the Reference page of this website.

21 November 2002 In Refugee Appeal No. 73545/02 (11 October 2002) the Refugee Status Appeals Authority has given extended consideration to the issue of language analysis in the context of refugee claims.  The Authority at paras [52] to [56] has made important observations as to the relevance of language analysis and the weight to be given to language reports.  In Refugee Appeal Nos. 72558/01 & 72559/01 the Authority has given detailed consideration to the meaning of persecution in the context of an inter-faith marriage between a Muslim woman and a Hindu man.  On the particular facts, the Authority emphasised the surrogacy principle of refugee law and in particular the requirement that individuals approach their home state for protection before the responsibility of other states becomes engaged.  The principle of exhaustion of domestic remedies in international human rights law and the relationship of that principle to the Refugee Convention is examined.  The Authority has held that in the context of the Refugee Convention the overriding imperative is to identify those in genuine need of protection.  While the exhaustion of domestic remedies may in some cases be an issue of particular significance, refugee decision-makers should, as a rule, avoid being distracted by an obsessive focus on the exhaustion issue.  Caution must be exercised.  The Authority has also pointed out that the human rights approach to persecution requires refugee decision-makers to draw on the jurisprudence of the various supervisory bodies set up under the ICCPR, the ICESCR, CEDAW, CERD and the CRC.  Both decisions are available on the Case Search page of this website.

[Refugee Appeal No. 73545/02 (11 October 2002); Refugee Appeal Nos. 72558/01 & 72559/01 (19 November 2002)]

20 November 2002 Documents tabled in Parliament by Hon Winston Peters show four members of a refugee family from Kuwait receive a total of about $945 net every week.  The benefits total $65,000 a year gross.  Mr Peters is reported as saying that the payments to the family are more than twice the income earned by 75% of New Zealand-born working families.  The Prime Minister is reported as saying in reply that the Government was focused on trying to get everyone off benefits and into employment as quickly as possible.  There were a number of settlement programmes underway to help newly arrived refugees and immigrants to find employment.  A spokesman for the Minister of Social Services is reported as saying that the family were receiving the same benefits as any New Zealand family in the same situation would be entitled to.  He said the three adults in the family received the unemployment benefit and a fourth adult was getting a student allowance.  The family were also receiving extra supplements to help support their four children.

[Francesca Mold, "Family's $65,000 benefit queried", NZ Herald, Wednesday, November 20, 2002, p A6]

10 November 2002 Today the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, 1984 was adopted.  The Optional Protocol will establish an international inspection mechanism and a sub-Committee of the Committee against Torture which will visit places of detention and make recommendations to states regarding the protection of persons deprived of their liberty.  It will also oblige states to establish, designate or maintain a national mechanism that would undertake regular inspections of places of detention.  It is envisaged that the sub-Committee will advise and assist this national mechanism.  The Optional Protocol will enter into force once twenty states have ratified it.  New Zealand will now begin the domestic process towards signing and ratifying the Optional Protocol.

[Rt. Hon Helen Clark, "NZ welcomes UN treaty on torture", Media Statement, Sunday 10 November 2002]

9 November 2002 A Pakistani man declined refugee status has reportedly been detained by Pakistani authorities and questioned about his close association with militants wanted for a 1994 bombing which killed 85 people in Argentina.  After arriving in Auckland on a false passport the man was held in prison for months while authorities checked his background and investigated whether he was involved with al Qaeda.  After being declined refugee status by the Refugee Status Branch of the New Zealand Immigration Service he appealed to the Refugee Status Appeals Authority.  During this time he was transferred to the Auckland Central Remand prison when New Zealand authorities were alerted by Interpol to his connections.  The man denied any involvement in the bombing or any militant groups, but admitted using false travel documents in his journey through South-East Asia, South Africa and Argentina to New Zealand.  At the hearing before the Refugee Status Appeals Authority the Interpol report was disclosed by a lawyer representing the Crown and the Authority asked officials to investigate the man's identity, whether he was linked to al Qaeda and whether he was involved in the Argentine bombing or other terrorist attacks.  But before the answers were provided, the man voluntarily left New Zealand in March 2002.

[Eugene Bingham, "Bombing suspect was held in NZ", Weekend Herald, November 9, 2002, p A5]

8 November 2002 The Government has confirmed that it is investigating the grant of a residence permit to a Moroccan man refused refugee status.  It is reported that the man failed to gain refugee status five years ago but was eventually granted a residence permit as he was in a de facto relationship.  The man's case has been raised in Parliament by the leader of New Zealand First, Hon Winston Peters, who alleges that the man is known to have links with Islamic fundamentalists, has been accused of rape, has given a false name and lied about an international driver's licence.  Mr Peters is also reported as alleging that the man has been accused of being involved in drug trafficking and was suspected of people-smuggling.  He claims that all this information was known to the New Zealand Immigration Service prior to the grant of a residence permit.

[NZPA, "Moroccan immigrant has dubious past, says Peters", NZ Herald, Friday, November 8, 2002, p A6]

6 November 2002 The Court of Appeal has reserved its decision on the question whether the government's policy on the detention of asylum-seekers is unlawful.

5 November 2002 The Court of Appeal today began hearing the appeal by the Crown against the ruling given by Baragwanath J in the High Court, Auckland that the government's policy on the detention of asylum-seekers is unlawful.  It is reported that for the crown it was argued that the Judge had misread the policy and that it did not presume that asylum-seekers would be detained unless they could prove they were safe to be released while their refugee status was decided. The Crown also submitted that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees had said that while identity was being verified, detention was not unreasonable.  The Refugee Council and the Human Rights Foundation have cross appealed on the question of using regulations to detain asylum-seekers and on the grounds that the High Court Judge had failed to rule that the detention of asylum-seekers breached the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.

[Helen Tunnah, "Treatment of refugees scrutinised", NZ Herald, Monday, November 4, 2002, p A5; NZPA, "Refugee policy misread says Crown", NZ Herald, Wednesday, November 6, 2002, p 5]

4 November 2002 In the Report of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee 2002/03 Estimates - Vote Immigration presented on 4 November 2002 it is recorded that extra funding was provided for Vote Immigration to fund additional refugee status claim determinations in both 2001 and 2002.  The Committee was advised that this is to maintain the capacity to complete 1,800 refugee status determinations for the year.  There are currently 525 outstanding determinations, down from a high of approximately 3,000 in 1998/99.  Of these, 17 applicants have been detained and 508 have been given permits.  Of those given residence permits, 209 have been issued work permits.  The number of new refugee claims has also dropped, particularly in the last twelve months.  The Committee also noted that there has been a growing backlog of Refugee Status Appeals Authority cases, without any commensurate increase in resources.  In the post-election briefing to the Minister, it is noted that there is a risk that the growing backlog could create long-term costs for the Crown, in benefit payments alone.  The Committee understands that the Minister is currently considering proposals to increase the capacity of the Refugee Status Appeals Authority.

The Committee was told by the Minister that since 19 September 2001, 223 asylum-seekers have been detained.  Since the ruling of the High Court in June 2002, 56 asylum-seekers have been detained.

Evidence provided to the Committee reveals that 3,421 persons whose refugee status claims have been declined still remain in New Zealand.  This includes 351 people under the age of sixteen.  A further 116 under the age of sixteen have had their refugee status declined but have still been granted residence.

The majority of the Committee expressed concern about the number of asylum-seekers who have been declined refugee status but whom still remain in New Zealand.  The Committee was informed that 928 of the 3,421 remain in New Zealand pending the determination of their appeal by the Refugee Status Appeals Authority.  This means that 2,493 people remain in New Zealand for other reasons.  New Zealand Immigration records indicate that, of this number, at least 734 were in New Zealand on valid permits (313 had been granted residence and the remaining 421 were on temporary permits), and that a maximum of 1,759 were in New Zealand unlawfully.

The Report also notes that additional funding for border security includes $462,000 to cover the costs of the detention of refugee status claimants and $151,000 to fund the costs of finger-printing onshore refugee status claimants.

[Report of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee, 2002/03 Estimates - Vote Immigration]

23 October 2002 The Minister of Immigration has acknowledged that as a result of the reduction of the backlog of over 3,000 refugee status claims awaiting hearing by the Refugee Status Branch of the New Zealand Immigration Service the number of appeals to the Refugee Status Appeals Authority has increased and that the Government is seeking to address the issue.

[Hon Lianne Dalziel, "Peters all rhetoric and no solutions", Media Statement, Wednesday, 23 October 2002]

23 October 2002 In its annual report the Refugee Status Appeals Authority says that it ended the June 30 financial year with a large number of outstanding appeals, the majority of which were part of a well-orchestrated scam perpetuated against the refugee determination process by Thai nationals.  Appeals increased in the year with 651 hearings completed and 637 decisions published.  The Authority received 1,277 appeals in the year to June, twice the number it had the previous year.  That number was boosted by 304 appeals from Thai nationals.  Of the 284 considered, all were found to be manifestly unfounded or clearly abusive.  Included in this number were 239 almost identical appeals lodged through a small number of agents on behalf of Thai nationals.  The Authority heard and determined appeals lodged by people from 67 countries.  Thais comprised 23.9% of the total, followed by Indians (14.6%), Czechs (9%), Iranians (6.6%), Sri Lankans (6%) and Chinese (4.9%).  An increase in appeals, a fall in Authority members over two years and the inability to recruit more full-time members led to 770 undetermined appeals being carried forward.

[NZPA, "Refugee scams bog the system", NZ Herald, Wednesday, October 23, 2002, p A6]

18 October 2002 At a parliamentary select committee hearing MPs have argued about who is to blame for allowing people to enter New Zealand and to remain in the country while making a bogus claim for refugee status.  The Minister of Immigration is reported as saying that the New Zealand Immigration Service is obliged to consider all refugee applications as New Zealand is a signatory to the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.  She said successive governments had allowed claimants to remain in New Zealand until their application was determined and any appeal heard.  Immigration officials prioritised the processing of claims which were seen to be manifestly unfounded.  Later in Parliament the Minister pointed out that the number of people applying for refugee status in New Zealand was falling and fewer than twenty percent of claims were accepted under the United Nations Refugee Convention.  When Labour came into government in 1999 there was a backlog of 3,000 claims waiting for first hearings.  There were now fewer than 200.  The cost of processing the claims had also dropped from NZ$30,000 per application to NZ$12,500.  The Minister said the government had changed its operational instructions to immigration staff since the September 11 attacks on New York.

[Francesca Mold, "MPs row over bogus refugees", NZ Herald, Friday, October 18, 2002, p A8]

17 October 2002 Two men who obtained refugee status in New Zealand have appeared in the District Court at Wellington charged with providing false names and other details in support of their refugee claim.  They have been remanded in custody.

["Afghan pair held over refugee claim", NZ Herald, Thursday, October 17, 2002, p A13]

17 October 2002 Professor James Hathaway, an internationally recognised expert on refugee law and author of the seminal text, The Law of Refugee Status, gave a public address at the Faculty of Law, Auckland University on the Tampa saga.  The topic of his address was “Refugee Law is not Immigration Law: Reflections on the Voyage of the Tampa”.  It is widely accepted that the events of August and September 2001 - in which Australia, Norway and Indonesia played “pass the parcel” with some 400 refugees - amounted to an abject failure of international refugee law.  Professor Hathaway’s analysis suggests that in fact the rules of refugee law were quite adequate to the task of protection, but were not really well understood by any of the key actors in the saga.  The key lesson, he argues, is never to prevaricate about the force of legal rules, but to exploit more effectively the operational flexibility which those rules allow.  The address was arranged by the International Law Association.  Following the address the Refugee & Immigration Law Committee of the Auckland District Law Society hosted a dinner in Professor Hathaway’s honour.  Those interested in accessing the paper on which Professor Hathaway's address was based will find his paper "Refugee Law is not Immigration Law, US Committee for Refugees, World Refugee Survey 2002 at <>

16 October 2002 The leader of New Zealand First, Winston Peters, has again criticised the Government over its immigration policy, suggesting terrorists like those involved in the Bali bombing might have entered New Zealand as asylum-seekers or refugees.

[Francesca Mold, "Peters uses debate to attack 'slack' security", NZ Herald, Wednesday, October 16, 2002, p A2]

16 October 2002 The Prime Minister has announced further strengthening of New Zealand's anti-terrorism legislation.  Speaking in Parliament on a motion condemning the Bali bombing, the Prime Minister has announced new legislation which will cover the unlawful possession of plastic explosives and nuclear material.  The new legislation will also criminalise terrorist attacks on the food chain and New Zealand's bio-security and will enhance the powers of border agencies like Immigration and Customs to participate in international information exchange, as well as strengthening extradition measures.  The announcement follows the enactment last week of the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002.

[John Armstrong, "Anti-terror laws widened", NZ Herald, Wednesday, October 16, 2002, p A2]

12 October 2002 Students of Kings College, Otahuhu have donated a $4,000 set of soccer goal posts to the nearby Mangere refugee resettlement centre.

[Dita De Boni, "Refugees relish gift goals", Weekend Herald, October 12, 2002, p A10]

9 October 2002 Parliament today enacted the Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 which implements New Zealand's obligation under Resolution 1373 passed by the UN Security Council following the terrorism attacks of September 11, 2001.  The Minister of Foreign Affairs says that the legislation will give the government greater ability to crack down on terrorism.  It also, however, provides clear safeguards to ensure that the measures are directed to terrorist organisations rather than domestic dissident groups.

[Hon Phil Goff, "Government passes tough new anti-terrorism law", Media Statement, Wednesday, 9 October 2002; NZPA, "Greens alone in opposing terrorist bill", NZ Herald, Friday, October 11, 2002, p A6]

8 October 2002 The New Zealand Customs Service has launched a risk response group comprising twenty-eight officers who will be available to check ships, aircraft and small vessels identified as high-risk by the Customs intelligence service.  The group includes eight new recruits with specialist skills such as divers and launch-masters.  Customs will buy new vehicles.  More than NZ$1m has been set aside for a new radio and communications network for the entire Customs Service.  The government has contributed NZ$500,000 from its counter-terrorism fund.  The group will operate from Customs patrol boat Hawk and on land.  It will be based in Auckland and Christchurch, but members could respond nationwide.  The national manager air and marine is reported as saying that the new group will mean a quicker and more effective response to high risk situations.  The Comptroller of Customs is reported as saying that illegal movement of people was on the increase worldwide and the new group would lead the response to a boatload of illegal migrants.  He said that on average twenty-five asylum-seekers arrived in New Zealand each month.  The priority of Customs is to protect New Zealand and the things New Zealanders value.

[Katherine Hoby, "Customs ready for terrorism", NZ Herald, Tuesday, October 8, 2002, p A6]

2 October 2002 The Associate Minister of Immigration, Damien O'Connor, is reported as saying that more than 6,000 aliens declined refugee status or residence are still in New Zealand, but most "are here legitimately".

["Foreigners' status", NZ Herald, Wednesday, October 2, 2002, p A3]

13 September 2002 It is reported that Africans are using stolen credit cards to attend international conventions as a cover to gain entry and refugee status in New Zealand.  The report follows the detection by Lincoln University staff of two Nigerians and a Ghanaian using stolen credit cards to pay registration fees for a conference to be held in February 2003.  Conventions and Incentives New Zealand has advised its members to be aware of the scam.  The chief executive warns that the practice could increase as delegate arrivals boom by thirty percent on 2001.

[Graeme Kennedy, "Conferences provide cover for African refugee scams", National Business Review, September 13, 2002, front page]

12 September 2002 It has been reported that the Department of Internal Affairs has hired private investigators in Pakistan and Australia to investigate alleged cases of fraud involving applications for New Zealand citizenship for New Zealand residence permits.  Earlier this year it was revealed that more than 1,000 people could have entered New Zealand illegally since the late 1990's using false documents.  The government is moving to cancel the refugee status of some of those people.

["Private eyes probe immigration cases", NZ Herald, Thursday, September 12, 2002, p A5]

11 September 2002 Green MP Keith Locke has accused the government of discriminating against Islamic asylum-seekers, saying they are still being routinely detained since September 11, 2001.  Citing the judgment given by Baragwanath J, Mr Locke says detention should not be justified simply on the grounds that a person's identity was not known.  But National MP Murray McCully is worried that asylum-seekers are being released too readily because of the judgment.  The Minister of Immigration, Hon Lianne Dalziel, is reported as saying that she is confident that revised procedures in the light of the judgment are within the law, including the instruction that an unknown identity may be grounds for detention.  She said there was clearly a difference of opinion as to what the High Court judgment meant.  It was not her view that the decision prevented, in assessing the likelihood of offending or absconding, the taking into account whether the identity of the person was known.  It was difficult to form an assessment of someone's likelihood of absconding or offending if it was not known who they were.  The government had appealed the judgment and the case had been set down for hearing in the Court of Appeal on 5 November 2002.  According to Ms Dalziel, in the months of July and August 2002, 39 people claimed refugee status by turning up at the border, as opposed to those who gain approval under the 750-refugee quota programme.  Of the 39, 31 were detained and 16 are still in detention pending consideration of their cases.  Two have been granted asylum and 21 have been released either with a permit or with special conditions.  It is reported that Mr McCully is considering drafting a private members bill to overturn the decision of Baragwanath J.

[Audrey Young, "Greens say detaining Muslims unjustified", NZ Herald, Wednesday, September 11, 2002, p A6]

10 September 2002 The Prime Minister, Helen Clark, last night thanked the East Timorese Foreign Minister, Jose Ramos Horta, for the way his country helped 58 Sri Lankan boatpeople heading for New Zealand.  When the boatpeople ran out of supplies off the coast of East Timor, their boat was brought into the harbour and the organisers and captain were arrested on 1 August 2002.  It was believed that the vessel would not have made it to New Zealand and it was responsible for East Timor.

[Audrey Young, "NZ, East Timor reciprocate thanks", NZ Herald, Tuesday, September 10, 2002, p A6]

10 September 2002 The full text of the Interim and Supplementary judgments delivered by Baragwanath J in Refugee Council of New Zealand Inc v Attorney-General have been added to the Case Search page together with the judgment delivered by Paterson J in Sylva v Minister of Immigration (High Court, Auckland, M764-SW02, 1 July 2002).

6 September 2002 In a decision delivered today the Refugee Status Appeals Authority has denied refugee status to a stateless Bedoon who until 1993 lived in Kuwait before being expelled into Iraq where he lived for the following seven years.  The Authority found that as the refugee claimant would not be re-admitted by Kuwait his refugee application failed as he could not establish a well-founded fear of being persecuted in that country in the future.  In relation to Iraq, the Authority found that on the facts there was no well-founded fear of being persecuted should the claimant return to Iraq.  It was further found that there was no risk of the claimant being returned by Iraq to Kuwait.  The significant holding by the Authority under this aspect of the claim is that a legal right of return to a country of former habitual residence is not a requirement of the Refugee Convention.  In the alternative, the Authority found that the refugee claimant could not establish any of the five Convention grounds.  In so holding the Authority addressed the standard of causation and has held that The Michigan Guidelines on Nexus to a Convention Ground properly identify the principles to be applied in New Zealand when issues of causation are determined.  In the final alternative, the Authority found that the claimant was excluded from the Refugee Convention by reason of the fact that there were serious reasons for considering that he had committed a crime against humanity.  Over a period of some years he had voluntarily placed himself at the scene of torture and thereby intended to encourage and did in fact encourage those perpetrating the crime of torture.  There was personal and knowing participation, a shared common purpose and a failure to dissociate or withdraw at the earliest safe opportunity.  The full text of the decision is available on the Case Search page of this website.

[Refugee Appeal No. 72635/01 (6 September 2002)]

4 September 2002 The Minister of Immigration, Hon Lianne Dalziel, has confirmed that a review of New Zealand's immigration health screening policy is underway.  The review is looking at whether New Zealand should introduce a policy requiring mandatory health screening of refugees, asylum-seekers and immigrants.  It will also recommend whether the screening should take place overseas, who would carry out the tests and how much it would cost.  It will also address whether New Zealand should reject potential migrants who have diseases that would require high-cost health care.  The Minister has previously said that an HIV-positive person was not automatically ineligible for residence.  The test was whether they were likely to become a burden on the public health system.  The Minister is reported as admitting that New Zealand's screening policy is out of date.  She said that while refugees were given a "thorough" medical examination on arriving the Government had decided to shift the screening process to the country the refugees originated from.  New Zealand relies on the honesty of those applying for residence, asking them to tick a box if they are HIV positive or have other illnesses, such as tuberculosis, hepatitis and leprosy.  Australia has been testing potential migrants for HIV/Aids since 1989.

[Francesca Mold & NZPA, "Overseas HIV tests tipped for migrants", NZ Herald, Wednesday, September 4, 2002, p A3]

30 August 2002 The full text of three High Court cases addressing refugee issues have been added to the Casesearch page.  Khezri v Police addresses the issue whether being a refugee is a "reasonable excuse" to a charge under the Passports Act 1992, s 31(1)(f)(i) that the person on arrival in New Zealand was in possession of a passport which had been falsified. Razak v Refugee Status Appeals Authority addresses the issue whether the Refugee Status Appeals Authority is obliged to accept the evidence of an expert witness.  Finally, Jiao v Refugee Status Appeals Authority holds that the statutory duty of a refugee claimant to establish the refugee claim means that the refugee claimant carries the burden of proof.  In so holding, the High Court has approved Refugee Appeal No. 72668/01 [2002] NZAR 649.  It is hoped that in the very near future two further cases will be added to the Casesearch page namely Sylva v Minister of Immigration (High Court, Auckland, M764-SW02, 1 July 2002, Paterson J) and Refugee Council of New Zealand Inc v Attorney-General (High Court Auckland, M1881-AS01, Baragwanath J) - interim judgment and supplementary judgment.

30 August 2002 It is reported that figures supplied by the Immigration Service contradict the claim made by New Zealand First leader Winston Peters that half the refugees coming to New Zealand have Aids.  A total of 2,230 refugees underwent health screening at the Immigration Service refugee resettlement centre in Mangere in the three years to June 2002.  Of those, 28 or 1.25 percent had HIV status.  The Minister of Immigration, Hon Lianne Dalziel, is reported as saying that about NZ$500,000 had been allocated in this year's budget for overseas screening of refugees.  If a genuine refugee tested positive for HIV, that would not necessarily exclude him or her, but numbers would be limited.  She said that when Mr Peters referred to health statistics identifying that 16 percent of new HIV infections recorded in New Zealand between 1994 and 2001 were from refugees, they included asylum-seekers, not all of whom were able to remain in New Zealand because they were not granted refugee status.  The refugees who arrived yesterday from Manus and Nauru had already had health screening but she was not aware of the results.  They would be fully rescreened at Mangere.

[Audrey Young & Helen Tunnah, "Peters out of step on Aids count", NZ Herald, Friday, August 30, 2002, p A5]

29 August 2002 Leader of New Zealand First, Hon Winston Peters, has attacked the government for allowing ten more refugees from the Tampa into New Zealand this week.  He also claimed that half of refugees had HIV/AIDS and many would not work.

[Audrey Young, "Peters cries treason at Tampa refugee intake", NZ Herald, Thursday, August 29, 2002, p A5]

28 August 2002 The National Party has expressed doubts about the thoroughness of checks on the 136 resettlement refugees refused entry to Australia but accepted by New Zealand.  National MP Murray McCully is reported as saying that it is his belief that many of those accepted had had their first refugee application rejected.  He has expressed doubts as to the rigorousness of the checks made on the second application.  The Minister of Immigration, Hon Lianne Dalziel is reported as saying that the assessments had been thorough.

[NZPA, "Refugee check doubt", NZ Herald, Wednesday, August 28, 2002, p A7]

27 August 2002 On Thursday 29 August 2002, 136 refugees will arrive in New Zealand.  Eighty-seven are coming from Manus, an island of Papua New Guinea and forty-nine from Nauru.  Included are about ten refugees from the MV Tampa.  Previously from Afghanistan, Iraq and other countries, they were boatpeople who had been sent to Pacific islands by Australia to have their refugee claims processed there.  Part of the 750 annual quota, each has been mandated as a refugee by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and/or Australian Immigration which has processed their claims.  On arrival at Auckland airport they will be transferred to the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre.  The immigration spokesman for the National Party, Murray McCully, is reported as accusing the government of "furtive and shifty" behaviour for not making an announcement about the imminent arrival of the refugees and said that the government had already acted prematurely over the 131 Afghan asylum-seekers accepted last year, pointing out that the UN had declined refugee status to most of the 292 Afghan boatpeople left on Nauru.  He also pointed out that the government was doing nothing to facilitate refugee status to people "who are being butchered in Zimbabwe".  The Minister of Immigration, Hon Lianne Dalziel, is reported as saying that Mr McCully had a poor understanding of the UN definition of refugee status and in particular the requirement that persons must first leave the country in relation to which the refugee claim is made.

[Martin Johnston, "Refugee intake furtive and shifty says McCully", NZ Herald, Tuesday, August 27, 2002, p 3]

23 August 2002 According to a study published today in the New Zealand Medical Journal, 38% of 900 asylum-seekers screened in Auckland in 1999 and 2000 had symptoms of psychological illness.  The study also found asylum-seekers had far higher rates of infectious illnesses such as tuberculosis than New Zealanders.  They also accounted for one in six of the new cases of HIV reported in Auckland in 2000.  The Auckland District Health Board is reported as saying that treating mental health illnesses among asylum-seekers is adding pressure to already stretched resources.  The Minister of Immigration, Hon Lianne Dalziel is reported as acknowledging that mental health illnesses among asylum-seekers were a concern.  The study found that while just 1% of asylum-seekers were HIV positive, they made up 21.1% of new HIV diagnoses in 1999 and 17.4% in 2000.  The tuberculosis rate among the 900 screened was the equivalent of 1333 cases per 100,000 compared with an active TB rate in New Zealand of 12 per 100,000. Of 3349 asylum-seekers in 1999 and 2000, 900 volunteered for screening at Greenlane.  Of those, most were men aged under 40.  About half were from the Middle-East.  Almost one-fifth of those seen were referred to counselling services.  Those not referred were helped by public health and community health workers.  The immunisation status of one in three asylum-seekers was not known.

[Angela Gregory & Francesca Mold, "Health alert on asylum seekers", NZ Herald, Friday, August 23, 2002, front page]

21 August 2002 A UN refugee official is reported as saying that a group of Sri Lankan boatpeople (said to be travelling to New Zealand) have withdrawn claims for asylum in East Timor and are expected to return home soon.

["Claims withdrawn", NZ Herald, Wednesday, August 21, 2002, p A5]

19 August 2002 The new Immigration Service policy on the detention of asylum-seekers introduced last month has been criticised as a wholesale detention regime.  Figures obtained from the Immigration Service show that almost all asylum-seekers are being detained.  Of the twenty-eight people who have claimed refugee status at the border since the ruling delivered by Baragwanath J on 27 June 2002, two have been issued with temporary permits and released on arrival.  Of the others, twenty-five were detained at the Mangere Accommodation Centre and one was held in jail.  The detentions have lasted up to seven weeks.  The new instruction allows for detention "where the identity of the person is unknown and, therefore, the real risks of offending or absconding cannot be ascertained at the time".  The Minister of Immigration, Hon Lianne Dalziel is reported as saying that the advice of the Crown Law Office was sought before the replacement instruction was drafted.  She was satisfied that the Immigration Service was complying with the requirements of the judgment.  The Government still intended to appeal the decision.  The people held since the end of June were generally Middle-Eastern young men.

[Helen Tunnah, "Warning on migrant detentions", NZ Herald, Monday, August 19, 2002, p A2]

14 August 2002 The Prime Minister, Rt. Hon Helen Clark, has announced that Hon Lianne Dalziel will be Minister of Immigration in the new Cabinet announced today.

[Rt. Hon Helen Clark, "Portfolio allocations", Media Statement, Wednesday, 14 August 2002]

14 August 2002 It is reported that the Indonesian Navy has detained a Philippines boat carrying 220 people heading for New Zealand.  The passengers have been identified as Filipinos.  None of  the passengers have valid travel documents.

[AFP, "Nabbed boatpeople 'heading for NZ'", NZ Herald, Wednesday, August 14, 2002, p A5]

14 August 2002 In a report generally praising human rights standards in New Zealand, the UN Human Rights Committee has said that it is worried about the negative impact of new laws and procedures affecting asylum-seekers and about the expulsion of some people.  The report says that the policy relating to the detention of asylum-seekers may have been introduced without New Zealand's obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 being fully considered.  There were also concerns that New Zealand had no procedures to monitor the safety of those expelled.

[Helen Tunnah, "Treat refugees better says UN", NZ Herald, Wednesday, August 14, 2002, p A5]

8 August 2002 The Prime Minister, Rt Hon Helen Clark, has announced that a coalition agreement has been reached between the Labour Party and the Progressive Coalition Party, and that the two parties will form a minority government.  The new government will have support on confidence and supply for this term of Parliament under an agreement reached with the United Future Party.  She said that she had this afternoon informed the Governor-General of the Agreements which had been reached.  Ms Clark also announced a timeline for the establishment of the new government and the reconvening of Parliament.  On Monday 12 August 2002 the Labour Caucus will meet to elect its Cabinet Ministers.  On Thursday 15 August 2002 Ministers will be sworn in by the Governor-General at Government House, Wellington.  The formal state opening of Parliament will be on 27 August 2002.

[Rt Hon Helen Clark, "Statement on the formation of the government", Media Statement, Thursday, 8 August 2002]

3 August 2002 The Foreign Minister of East Timor, Jose Ramos-Horta is reported as saying that he suspects that the 56 Sri Lankans anchored in a boat off Dili are part of a people-smuggling operation.  However they will be allowed to disembark so that the UNHCR can determine their status.

["Timor boatpeople", Weekend Herald, August 3, 2002, p B8]

2 August 2002 Fifty-six Sri Lankan men said to be on their way to New Zealand have been allowed ashore in East Timor and given food, medicine and blankets by staff of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.  A spokesperson for the agency said that so far none of the men had indicated they would apply for refugee status but it was felt that it would be inhumane to leave the men on board their vessel where their health would deteriorate due to overcrowding and poor sanitary conditions.  It remained unclear whether they would continue on their journey, remain in East Timor or head home.

[AP, "NZ-bound Sri Lankans allowed ashore", NZ Herald, Friday, August 2, 2002, p A5]

1 August 2002 The Refugee Status Appeals Authority website now makes available both abstracts and full-text copies of decisions published by the RSAA since 1997, together with a selection of decisions published between 1991 to 1996.  The website address is

31 July 2002 A boatload of 56 Sri Lankan men have arrived in Dili, the capital of East Timor, en route to New Zealand where they hope to find work.  The men, all reportedly single, have asked East Timorese authorities for help to get to New Zealand in their 15m fibreglass boat.  The Minister of Foreign Affairs is reported as urging the East Timorese and UN authorities to prevent the boat from sailing because the men would drown.  Even if they reached New Zealand they would be sent back to Sri Lanka in the absence of evidence to suggest that the men were political refugees.

["Sri Lanka men 'will die at sea'", NZ Herald, Wednesday, July 31, 2002, p A3]

29 July 2002 Sections 129G(5) and 129P(1) of the Immigration Act 1987 provide that it is the responsibility of a refugee status claimant to establish the claim to be recognised as a refugee in New Zealand.  The High Court at Auckland has held that the clear effect of these provisions is that the claimant bears the onus of proof.  The Court declined to follow obiter statements to the contrary in T v Refugee Status Appeals Authority [2001] NZAR 749 (Durie J).  The Auckland decision draws heavily on and approves the decision of the Refugee Status Appeals Authority in Refugee Appeal No. 72668/01 - Ruling on Legal Issues (5 April 2002).

[Jiao v Refugee Status Appeals Authority (High Court Auckland, M 207-PL02, 29 July 2002, Potter J)]

27 July 2002 General election held.  Rt Hon Helen Clark to lead new government.

26 July 2002 In a significant decision the English Court of Appeal has held that Palestinians seeking refugee status must, like all other refugee claimants, establish a well-founded fear of being persecuted for one of the Convention reasons.  The Court rejected an argument that Palestinians are ipso facto entitled to refugee status, an argument based on a misreading of Article 1D of the Refugee Convention.  The Court held that this Article only applies to Palestinians who were receiving assistance from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency as at 28 July 1951, when the Refugee Convention was adopted.

[El-Ali v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2002] EWCA Civ 1103 (Lord Phillips MR and May & Laws LJJ]

22 July 2002 The Government is to introduce a new telephone interpreting service to allow better communication between New Zealand's growing ethnic community and key government departments.  The NZ$900,000 service will be free to users and is scheduled for introduction in the first half of 2003.  The scheme will link staff at the Ministry of Social Development, including Work and Income, Accident Compensation, the Police, Immigration Service, Housing New Zealand and Internal Affairs including the Identity Services, Ethnic Affairs, and the Community Development Group, with professional interpreters to support clients with few English language skills.  The scheme will initially operate for twelve months and start with ten languages.

[Hon George Hawkins, "New interpreting service to help ethnic communities", Media Statement, Monday 22 July 2002]

6 July 2002 In a recent decision the Refugee Status Appeals Authority has warned that fraudulent and groundless refugee claims have swamped immigration authorities and threaten to grind the refugee processing system to a halt.  The Authority noted that over the past eleven years it has approved an average of 17% of the appeals before it.  But since 1996, the approval rate has averaged only about 10%.  In the current financial year, it has approved only 3%.  One of the worst cases of abuse had been carried out by a group of approximately 232 Thai nationals who lodged almost identical appeals in the last year.  When they were rejected, they re-lodged claims to delay their removal.  Some had been re-lodged four times.  The Minister of Immigration, Hon Lianne Dalziel is reported as saying that she wishes to talk to the UNHCR about law changes to deal with repeated groundless appeals.

[Eugene Bingham, "Watchdog slams fake refugees", Weekend Herald, July 6, 2002, p A5]

4 July 2002 Now available on the Reference page of this website is a research paper by Jessica Rodger, "Defining the Parameters of the Non-Refoulement Principle" (2001).  This paper examines in detail the principle of non-refoulement, which protects refugees from being returned to places where their lives or freedoms could be threatened. It looks in detail at the principle itself; its status at international law and in what circumstances it applies; before going on to look at state practice with respect to non-refoulement. The basic thesis of the paper is that the parameters of the principle need to be clarified if refugees are to be protected from refoulement. It is argued that current policies being implemented by states, such as temporary protection and the safe third country rule, are endangering the principle, and the refugee regime itself. The paper also considers ways in which the current system could be changed in order to protect the non-refoulement principle, while still catering to the needs of states.

2 July 2002 Two Nigerian citizens have been removed from New Zealand after being found by the Refugee Status Appeals Authority not to be refugees.  Their claims were based on their membership of a vigilante group in Nigeria known as the Bakassi Boys.  Prior to their removal from New Zealand they sought an interim stay order from the High Court but that application was declined by Paterson J.  It is reported that the men had also hoped to obtain $45,000 compensation from the New Zealand government for alleged unlawful detention.

["'Vigilantes' lose bid for refugee status", NZ Herald, Tuesday, July 2, 2002, p A6]

1 July 2002 The leader of New Zealand First, Winston Peters, is reported as suggesting in an election campaign speech that Northland Maori were worse off than many of the asylum-seekers coming to New Zealand and that the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre is like a palace compared with some homes in the North.  It is reported that he said "The food is good, there is health care and everything else is on tap for these gate-crashing asylum-seekers".  He is also reported as raising concerns about the High Court ruling that the Government had illegally detained asylum-seekers after September 11, reportedly saying "How do we explain to struggling families that their taxes are going to pay these gate-crashers while they struggle to pay for the health and education of their families?"

[Francesca Mold, "Peters hoes into immigration", NZ Herald, Monday, July 1, 2002, p A4]

1 July 2002 The Minister of Immigration, Hon Lianne Dalziel, is reported as saying that the Attorney-General will appeal to the Court of Appeal against the decision of Baragwanath J.  She says that the Crown believes the finding was based on too narrow an interpretation of the Refugee Convention.

["Refugee case appeal", NZ Herald, Monday,  July 1, 2002, p A3]

29 June 2002 The refugee hostel in Auckland is struggling to feed refugee claimants who have been released from detention but refused permits.  As a consequence they cannot seek employment and must rely on the government-funded refugee hostel for assistance.  The hostel, which has twenty-three beds, accepted seven refugee claimants who were conditionally released from the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Camp under the Immigration Amendment Act 2002 which came into force on 18 June 2002.  The seven comprised an Iranian family (with children aged ten and twelve), a Congolese man and a Sri Lankan grandmother and grandchild.  The Chief Executive of the Auckland Refugee Council is reported as saying that the hostel was taking in refugee claimants so they could give the Court an address, which they needed to get conditional release from Mangere or prison.  The Government partly pays for the hostel operation but resources are running low.  More money announced in the Budget had yet to be allocated.

[Helen Tunnah, "Refugee hostel pleads for help", Weekend Herald, Saturday, June 29, 2002, p A2]

28 June 2002 The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Phil Goff, has claimed that pamphlets warning of likely death or heavy penalties is hitting its mark with people-smugglers and potential illegal migrants.  Three thousand pamphlets have been distributed in towns and ports in Indonesia directly to potential illegal migrants warning them of the perils of undertaking a journey to New Zealand.  He claims that reports from Jakarta reveal that the pamphlet is making potential illegal immigrants doubtful about travelling to New Zealand as they see the journey as too dangerous and people-smugglers see the pamphlet campaign as an obstacle to attracting business.  A further 25,000 pamphlets will be distributed in Indonesia and in other nations such as Iran, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam.  The pamphlets also highlight the new laws passed recently which provide for severe penalties including fines of up to half a million dollars and twenty years imprisonment for those responsible for smuggling people.

[Hon Phil Goff, "NZ sends stark warning to people-smugglers and boatpeople", Media Statement, Friday, 28 June 2002]

27 June 2002 In a supplementary judgment delivered in the High Court, Auckland, Baragwanath J has ruled that s 128 of the Immigration Act 1987 does provide lawful justification for the detention of refugee status claimants and immigration officers have a discretion whether to detain.  However, in exercising that discretion immigration officers are required by s 129X of the Act to have regard to the provisions (inter alia) of the Refugee Convention.  Article 31(2) of the Convention permits detention only to the extent that it is "necessary".  The Court has ruled that "necessary" means the minimum required, on the facts as they appear to the immigration officer, (1) to allow the Refugee Status Branch to be able to perform their functions [ie to determine refugee status]; (2) to avoid real risk of criminal offending and (3) to avoid real risk of absconding.  Addressing the detention policy contained in the Operational Instruction of 19 September 2001, Baragwanath J has held that its terms do not comply with the necessity test and is therefore fundamentally defective.  As a result, the plaintiffs were held entitled to a declaration that the Operational Instruction of 19 September 2001 is unlawful.  The question whether one of the plaintiffs (D) is entitled to damages for wrongful imprisonment has been left for determination at a future hearing where the Court will determine the questions of lawfulness of detention and causation of loss.

[Refugee Council of New Zealand Inc v Attorney-General (High Court Auckland, M1881-AS01, 27 June 2002, Baragwanath J) - Supplementary Judgment of Baragwanath J; Helen Tunnah, "Refugee case will open way to claims", NZ Herald, Friday, June 28, 2002, front page & p A3]

26 June 2002 A report prepared by the Human Rights Foundation of New Zealand and the Refugee Council of New Zealand Inc on the detention of asylum-seekers in New Zealand is now available on this website on the Comment page.  A note of the release of this report will be found below at "13 June 2002".

21 June 2002 Mr Boaz Ganor, executive director of Israel's International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism is reported as saying that New Zealand should thoroughly examine the background of refugees in order to stop the country becoming a safehouse for Islamic radicals.  He conceded that the remoteness of New Zealand placed it in no danger from a major terrorist atrocity and he had no argument with the government's policy of accepting refugees.  However, New Zealand should be aware that it could serve as a safehouse for some radical individuals.  There was a need for control and to dig deep into the backgrounds of everyone seeking asylum in the country.  He also recommended that there should be no immediate granting of citizenship and years should be taken to make sure a person is not involved in or is supporting terrorism.  He said that there are cells of Islamic radicals established in other countries, that they are a dangerous web of people who know each other and are very experienced.

[Graeme Kennedy, "Expert warns of terror 'safehouse'", The National Business Review, June 21, 2002, front page & p 2]

20 June 2002 After a further hearing at the High Court at Auckland, Baragwanath J has reserved his decision before delivering a final ruling in proceedings which challenge the detention of asylum-seekers.  The Judge on 31 May 2002 delivered an interim ruling in which the Court cast doubt on the legality of the government policy relating to the detention of asylum-seekers.

[Helen Tunnah, "Judge reserves asylum finding", NZ Herald, Thursday, June 20, 2002, p A5]

17 June 2002 The Royal assent has been given to the six amendment Acts which comprised the Transnational Organised Crime Bill.  The Acts are: Crimes Amendment Act 2002; Extradition Amendment Act 2002; Immigration Amendment Act 2002; Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Amendment Act 2002; Passports Amendment Act 2002 and Proceeds of Crime Amendment Act 2002.

16 June 2002 A rape victim who is a citizen of both New Zealand and Australia and who suffered years of domestic abuse in Australia and the USA has been accepted as a refugee in Canada because she fears that her former husband or one of his family will kill her.

[David Fisher, "Rape victim granted refuge from NZ", Sunday Star-Times, June 16, 2002, p A3; NZPA, "Rape victim escapes life of hell in NZ", NZ Herald, Monday, June 17, 2002, p A5]

14 June 2002 There are fears that a vessel loaded with boatpeople and rumoured to be destined for New Zealand has sunk in Indonesian waters.  Indonesian authorities tracking the boat have reportedly lost it from their radar screens and say that it is possible the wooden vessel had sunk as weather in the area had been poor and the vessel was unseaworthy.  It is said that the boat was carrying eighteen men, sixteen women and eight children, all from Afghanistan.  It is also possible that the vessel has either turned back or sought shelter.

[Scott MacLeod, "Fear that asylum boat has sunk", NZ Herald, Friday, June 14, 2002, front page]

13 June 2002  A report prepared by the Human Rights Foundation and Refugee Council of New Zealand (and paid for by Amnesty International) outlines a lack of co-ordination between the services dealing with asylum-seekers and a poor knowledge of international and New Zealand laws relating to the treatment of them.  It recommends that Government departments work together to develop a fair and comprehensive refugee policy.  The Corrections Minister and Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs, Matt Robson, is reported as saying that it might be time to overhaul policies and he did not want the agencies to be blamed for shortcomings.  There had to be a system where some people may have to be imprisoned, but if it becomes a case where those who are seeking asylum are held in large numbers, then there had to be a better system.  In relation to inquiries made after two asylum-seekers, aged 16 and 17, were held in jail for a week last year, he is reported as saying that Police and the Corrections Department were not given the resources to deal with refugees.  He has asked officials to investigate whether New Zealand is meeting its international obligations for the treatment of people claiming to be refugees.  In relation to the Crown appeal against the decision given by Baragwanath J on 31 May 2002, the Minister of Immigration, Hon Lianne Dalziel, is reported as saying that the Government is aware the issue is before the Court and more law changes might be necessary.

[Helen Tunnah, "Policeman helps refugee children in airport wait", NZ Herald, Thursday, June 13, 2002, p A3]

12 June 2002 Parliament today passed the Transnational Organised Crime Bill, enabling New Zealand to ratify the UN Convention on Transnational Crime, and its two protocols on people-smuggling and trafficking.  The legislation makes people-smuggling and trafficking in persons criminal offences.  Those offences carry heavy, deterrent sentences of up to 20 years in prison and fines of up to NZ$500,000.  The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Phil Goff, says that people-smuggling now competes with drug trafficking as one of the most lucrative areas for international criminal organisations.  An estimated US$10 billion a year goes into the pockets of crime groups from this activity and co-ordinated international co-operation is needed to stamp out this evil.  He says that passing the legislation is also a critical step towards ensuring that New Zealand can protect its borders against illegal migration and referred to persistent rumours of so far unsuccessful efforts by people-smugglers to organise the departure of a ship from Indonesia to New Zealand.  The legislation and continuing efforts by New Zealand working regionally and in Indonesia are necessary to deter the people-smugglers and prevent human tragedies.  Other powers in the new legislation enable New Zealand authorities to seize and detain craft in New Zealand's territorial waters, facilitate confiscation of ships used for smuggling and any proceeds of the crime; crack down on the sale of passports to criminal groups; extradite people-smugglers; and enhance New Zealand's ability to co-operate internationally to prevent, investigate and prosecute transnational offences.

[Hon Phil Goff, "Govt passes tough new anti people-smuggling legislation", Media Statement, Wednesday, 12 June 2002]

12 June 2002 The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Phil Goff, is reported as saying that New Zealand is working with Indonesian authorities to ensure any ships carrying boatpeople do not leave Indonesia seeking refuge in New Zealand.  He told Parliament yesterday that the Government was prepared for the arrival of any boatpeople, and any illegal immigrants would be deported.  He said that there were two reports of boats coming to New Zealand.  The first is of an unseaworthy fishing vessel which had no chance of reaching New Zealand.  The second is a rumour of a larger vessel bound for the Pacific but none was known to be on its way.  He added that New Zealand was working with Indonesia, Australia and the regional countries so that if any such ship passes through their waters, that ship would be intercepted and turned around.

[Helen Tunnah, "Authorities link up to stop boatpeople", NZ Herald, Wednesday, June 18, 2002, p A2]

11 June 2002 The Prime Minister has this afternoon announced that the General Election will be held on Saturday 27 July 2002.  She has advised the Governor-General to dissolve Parliament on 18 June 2002.  Writ day will be 25 June 2002.  Nomination day will be 2 July 2002.

[Right Hon Helen Clark, "PM announces election date", Media Statement, Tuesday, 11 June 2002]

11 June 2002 It has been reported that a boat carrying 50 asylum-seekers has left Indonesia for New Zealand.  A contingency plan includes the possibility of holding the individuals at Rangipo Prison near Turangi which would be designated a New Zealand Immigration Service facility rather than a jail.  The Minister of Foreign Affairs is reported as saying that he understood that the vessel was not large enough to have a realistic chance of making New Zealand and the boat was more likely to divert to Australia.

[John Andrews & Eugene Bingham, "Boatpeople in open waters bound for NZ", NZ Herald, Tuesday, June 11, 2002, front page]

10 June 2002 A Sri-Lankan fisherman has become the first asylum-seeker released after the interim ruling by Baragwanath J that certain refugee claimants are entitled to bail.  The man had been held in custody for ten weeks and is one of more than 200 refugee claimants covered by a High Court challenge to the Government's policy of detaining in jail or at the Mangere hostel almost everyone who arrives in New Zealand seeking asylum.  The detention of asylum-seekers will be debated in Parliament this week as the Government tries to pass the Transnational Organised Crime Bill.  The Minister of Immigration, Hon Lianne Dalziel, is reported as saying that the new legislation will allow refugee claimants to be released.

[Helen Tunnah, "Asylum seeker first to test court bail ruling", NZ Herald, Monday, June 10, 2002, p A3]

4 June 2002 Today the Crown made application for a stay of execution of the interim judgment delivered by Baragwanath J on 31 May 2002.  The stay was sought pending appeal to the Court of Appeal.  The application has been declined as the Crown's right of appeal will not be rendered nugatory or the public interest damaged if the stay is refused.  Baragwanath J pointed out that under the Immigration Act 1987 other categories of people, including those who are suspected of being terrorists, have the right to apply for bail and for that reason he was loath to deprive refugee status claimants of a similar entitlement.

[Refugee Council of New Zealand Inc v Attorney-General (High Court Auckland, M1881-AS01, 4 June 2002, Baragwanath J) - Revised Oral Judgment of Baragwanath J on Application for Stay; Helen Tunnah, "Crown fights bail ruling on detainees", NZ Herald, Wednesday, June 5, 2002, p A5]

31 May 2002 In an interim judgment delivered in the High Court, Auckland Baragwanath J has held that because the proceedings before him are judicial review proceedings, refugee status claimants who from 19 September 2001 to 9 May 2002 have been detained by the New Zealand Immigration Service under the provisions of s 128 of the Immigration Act 1987, judges of the District Court have jurisdiction to grant bail under s 128A of the Act.  On the question whether the detention policy is lawful Baragwanath J has invited counsel's submissions whether, given that the claimants will have access to bail, the power to detain refugee claimants should be dealt with not by the Court but by Parliament.  The Judge pointed out that Parliament already has the issue under consideration in the Transnational Organised Crime Bill at present before the House and Parliament was in a position to deal with the issue most effectively and authoritatively.  The Court, on the other hand, was faced with competing interpretations of the relevant provision (s 128 of the Act) each of which would have unacceptable practical results.  The Judge has asked counsel for the plaintiffs and the Crown to file further submissions.  At the same time it is reported that the New Zealand government will mount an unprecedented campaign around Indonesian ports next week as part of New Zealand's response to mounting intelligence reports that people-smugglers are about to launch a shipload of asylum-seekers for the Northland coast.  In addition the Transnational Organised Crime Bill, debated in Parliament this week, has been amended to deal specifically with the possibility of a boat landing on a remote coastline.  It extends the search and seizure powers of New Zealand police to 24 nautical miles off the coast.  It is also reported that an Internal Affairs spokesman has said that checks picked up about one fraudulent passport or application a week.

[Refugee Council of New Zealand Inc v Attorney-General (High Court Auckland, M1881-AS01, 31 May 2002, Baragwanath J) - Interim Judgment; Helen Tunnah, "Judge raps Govt for holding asylum-seekers, Weekend Herald, June 1, 2002, front page; Eugene Bingham, "Scare tactics aim to head off boatpeople", Weekend Herald, June 1, 2002, p A3]

31 May 2002 The UNHCR has issued two new Guidelines on International Protection.  In an explanatory note it is stated that the Second Track of the Global Consultations on International Protection was designed to clarify various interpretive issues relating to the Refugee Convention.  As a direct outcome of this process, the Department of International Protection is in the process of revising position papers on topics which formed part of the Second Track process, as well as various other aspects of refugee law.  The guidelines have drawn on the conclusions arising out of the expert roundtable in San Remo, Italy.  These new interpretive guidelines will be eventually brought together in a UNHCR publication, to be read in conjunction with the UNHCR Handbook.  The first two in the new guidelines series are Guidelines on Gender-Related Persecution within the context of Article 1A(2) of the 1951 Convention and/or its 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees (HCR/GIP/02/01, 7 May 2002); and Guidelines on 'Membership of a Particular Social Group' within the context of Article 1A(2) of the 1951 Convention and/or its 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees (HCR/GIP/02/02, 7 May 2002).  These documents are available on UNHCR's public website,, under Protecting Refugees, Legal Protection, UNHCR's Handbook and Guidelines.

30 May 2002 In a recently published document the UNHCR has stated that: "Some trafficked women may be able to claim refugee status under the 1951 Convention.  The forcible or deceptive recruitment of women or minors for the purpose of forced prostitution or sexual exploitation is a form of gender-related violence or abuse that can even lead to death.  It is certainly a form of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and can impose serious restrictions on a woman's freedom of movement.  In individual cases, being trafficked could therefore be the basis for a refugee claim where the state has been unable or unwilling to provide protection against such harm or threats of harm.  It is crucial to the protection of individual women for States to ensure that trafficked women and girls who wish to seek asylum also have access to asylum procedures."

[UNHCR, "Refugee Women", EC/GC/02/8 (25 April 2002) at para 19. <>]

30 May 2002 In moving that the Transnational Organised Crime Bill be read a second time, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Phil Goff, restated that the Bill implements the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and its two protocols on the Smuggling of Migrants and Trafficking in Persons.  In his speech he made reference to the fact that the movement of people for profit and exploitation has become increasingly a big income earner for organised crime, estimated at over US$10 billion a year and that there have been persistent rumours of boats with the capacity of up to 300 people being prepared in Indonesia for departure to New Zealand.  In the interests of New Zealand maintaining control of its borders maximum effort was needed to stop these departures.  The Bill supplements steps the New Zealand Government is already taking on the ground in Indonesia and in conjunction with Australia and regional countries to make it increasingly harder for the people-smugglers and traffickers to operate.  He added that the Bill does not affect New Zealand's obligations under the Refugee Convention.  If people claim refugee status on arrival they cannot be removed until a determination on their status is made.  Addressing concern at the Select Committee hearing that the tough measures against people-smuggling might inadvertently affect airlines on which people are smuggled, notwithstanding that reasonable precautions may have been taken, the Minister stated that an airline that makes checks in accordance with standard international procedures and is satisfied that particular passengers comply, would not be covered.  The accused must either have knowledge of, or be reckless as to, the status of the proposed migrants.  Recklessness involves deliberately running a known risk when it is unreasonable in the circumstances to do so.  A further safeguard is the requirement for the consent of the Attorney-General before any prosecution can take place.  The Bill also extends the existing offence of participation in a criminal gang to cover international criminal groups.  Requiring the Attorney-General's consent to prosecutions involving extra-territorial jurisdiction provided protection.  In relation to the detention of persons refused a permit at the border the Minister stated that at the present time the only options, pending departure from New Zealand, are detention or release into the community with a permit.  The Bill now provides a further option, allowing the person to be released on conditions.  This balanced the need to manage risks associated with people claiming refugee status at the border and those people's rights under the Refugee Convention and the Bill of Rights Act.  The Bill also confers power on a court sentencing a person for an offence against the Passports Act to cancel the person's New Zealand passport and order that no new passport be issued for up to ten years.

[Hon Phil Goff, "Transnational Organised Crime 2nd reading", Speech, Thursday, 30 May 2002]

29 May 2002 The Foreign Affairs and Trade select committee has reported back to Parliament the Transnational Organised Crime Bill, recommending that the offence of people-smuggling be more tightly defined.  Earlier proposals to place the determination of a worker's immigration status on employers have been abandoned.  Instead the committee recommends that the onus should rest on workers to tell the truth.  The committee has also recommended dropping clauses that would have allowed jail terms of up to seven years for New Zealand citizens who bribe people in other countries.  In its view the laws on bribery should be dealt with in negotiations on the UN corruption Convention.  While Air New Zealand told the committee that it feared being fined if it inadvertently let an illegal immigrant onto an aircraft, the committee said in its report that it did not believe airlines would be charged under the law as long as they followed standard international procedures.  The Minister of Immigration, Hon Lianne Dalziel is reported as saying that the changes struck a good balance between civil liberties and cracking down on international gangs, particularly those involving people-smuggling.

[NZPA, "Call to cut employer risk", NZ Herald, Wednesday, May 29, 2002, p A5]

25 May 2002 Authorities have uncovered a large-scale people-smuggling operation which has brought hundreds of asylum-seekers to New Zealand on false documents.  The Government is considering cancelling their refugee status and deporting them.  In March 2000 more than twenty homes and businesses around Auckland were raided by police and more than 7,000 documents seized, including letters, photographs and travel documents that cast doubt on the backgrounds of some refugees.  The documents also revealed the extent of people-smuggling and the involvement of smugglers in New Zealand.  Police have brought fraud charges against six Afghans accused of having made false claims in their refugee applications.  Two pleaded guilty and were sentenced to nine months' imprisonment.  A third was found guilty by a jury last week and will be sentenced next month.  Proceedings against three others were dropped.  It is reported that the international ring behind the smuggling involves at least one New Zealand passport holder who is considered a king-pin of the trade in South East Asia.  Now based in Indonesia, it is alleged he placed 75 of the Tampa refugees on the boat to Australia.  One man who lives in Auckland spent twenty years as a people-smuggler before gaining refugee status in New Zealand himself.  He has reportedly admitted to sending hundreds of people to New Zealand, Australia and Canada from Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

[Eugene Bingham, "Illegal migrant ring busted", Weekend Herald, May 25, 2002, front page; Eugene Bingham, "Charges dropped after false alarm", Weekend Herald, May 25, 2002, p A6; Eugene Bingham, "Trading on desperation", Weekend Herald, May 25, 2002, pp B1 & B3]

24 May 2002 A new Directory ( has been launched to support the refugee groups working in Australia.  The website has been designed to help Internet users quickly find the refugee information they need.  The Directory has the following features: Top Sites - a list of the best Internet resources for refugee information in Australia; Directory - a complete list of all known refugee websites in Australia; Quick Facts - a short summary of the facts; Taking Action - a list of options for taking action; Contacts - a list of known contacts for local support groups in Australia.

23 May 2002 The Budget 2002 contains funding initiatives to support refugee resettlement in New Zealand.  The Minister of Immigration says that the measures confirm the government's commitment to achieving positive resettlement outcomes for refugees in New Zealand.  The package includes, all amounts over four years: NZ$110,000 a year for the Refugee and Migrant Service's NZ Qualifications Authority-approved training programme for volunteers working with refugees; NZ$332,000 a year in continued funding of resettlement support programmes which have been running successfully as pilots; NZ$500,000 a year for off-shore health screening of UN-mandated refugees and NZ$601,000 a year into community-based accommodation for border refugee status claimants.  The Minister says that the funding for community-based accommodation for border refugee status claimants will provide for a community-based alternative to detention.  In relation to the UNHCR-mandated refugees, she says that these refugees have undergone health checks after arrival in New Zealand, which, in the case of active TB, can mean a theoretical risk of exposure during travel to New Zealand.  By implementing off-shore medical screening New Zealand will limit this exposure and treatment can commence before the arrival of the refugee in New Zealand.

[Hon Lianne Dalziel, "Support for refugee resettlement", Media Statement, Thursday 23 May 2002]

23 May 2002 In the Budget 2002 the government has announced funding to implement the Advanced Passenger Processing (APP) System to identify and screen passengers bound for New Zealand, prior to them boarding the aircraft.  In year one, APP will be allocated NZ$1.055 million in operational and NZ$619,000 in capital funding.  Operational funding will be NZ$1.826 in year two and NZ$1.918 in year three and outyears.  It is expected that APP will be up and running in 2002-03.  The Minister of Immigration says that the APP System will be an invaluable tool in New Zealand's ability to scrutinise people before they board the aircraft which means that New Zealand can prevent people who are attempting to circumvent New Zealand immigration laws from arriving in New Zealand.  The government has also announced that NZ$462,000 a year has been set aside to pay for 24-hour security at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre.  In addition, people claiming refugee status after their arrival in New Zealand will be finger-printed.  This will cost NZ$151,000 to set up in year one, and NZ$89,000 to continue operating in outyears.  The Minister of Immigration says that presently all asylum-seekers who claim refugee status at the border are already routinely fingerprinted.  Extending the finger-printing system to include those who claim refugee status, sometimes years after their arrival, will reduce the ability of people to claim more than once under different identities.

[Hon Lianne Dalziel, "Enhanced security checks in and outside New Zealand", Media Statement, Thursday 23 May 2002]

9 & 10 May 2002 After a two day hearing in the High Court, Auckland, Baragwanath J has reserved judgment in proceedings which challenge the detention of asylum-seekers.

[Helen Tunnah, "Groups query legality of hardline refugee policy", NZ Herald, Friday, May 10, 2002, p A3; Tony Stickley, "Court told of 'secret detention policy'", Weekend Herald, May 11, 2002, p A10]

9 May 2002 The leader of the political party Act, Richard Prebble, is reported as attacking the decision to allow 140 resettlement refugees into New Zealand this week from Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.  It is reported that he said "New Zealand is rewarding those who pay people smugglers and queue-jump by offering them places here" and that they would be "unqualified, uneducated and unemployable".  He criticised the government for being reckless in its immigration policies and claimed that it had "created all the conditions for a New Zealand Le Pen".  He predicted that within five years this week's 140 refugees would "become 300" because of family reunification entitlements.  He is reported as saying that former foreign minister Don McKinnon had let 50 Somali refugees into New Zealand to help win a place on the UN Security Council and that those 50 had grown to a community of 500.  The consequences of the policies were that Australia ended the right of New Zealanders to live in Australia and receive all the benefits of citizenship.  Australia had taken this step because ninety percent of all refugees admitted by New Zealand from Vietnam and Cambodia were now living in Sydney and Melbourne.

[Audrey Young, "Prebble slams immigration policy", NZ Herald, Thursday, May 9, 2002, p A6]

8 May 2002 On 19 September 2001 the New Zealand Immigration Service introduced an operating instruction under which asylum-seekers may be detained while their refugee status is considered.  Since that date 132 people have been detained.  Of that number 20 have been deported, 25 have been granted refugee status, 58 have been released awaiting a decision on their refugee claim, one has absconded and 28 presently remain in detention.  Two organisations representing refugees will argue in the High Court at Auckland tomorrow that asylum-seekers have been wrongly kept in prison or at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre and that the detention policy is unlawful.  One refugee, whose name has been suppressed, has filed a claim for NZ$150,000 damages for compensation for allegedly false imprisonment.

[Helen Tunnah, "Refugee wants $150,000 in claim over detention", NZ Herald, Wednesday, May 8, 2002, front page]

7 May 2002 Yesterday the Norwegian captain of the MV Tampa was reunited with some of the asylum-seekers he rescued at sea eight months ago.  The meeting was held out of the public eye.

[Katherine Hoby, "Poignant moment for crew of Tampa", NZ Herald, Tuesday, May 7, 2002, p A5]

7 May 2002 When Prime Minister Helen Clark met Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri yesterday, refugees and people-smuggling were high on the agenda.  The Prime Minister is reported as saying that the Indonesians welcomed the news that New Zealand would take more of its quota refugees from the Asia/Pacific.  The Prime Minister is also reported as saying that a crackdown on people-smuggling since the Tampa episode appeared to be working and pointed to the fact that since November 2001 no boats had reached Australia.  She said that that was because of a mix of the Indonesian authorities' crackdown, Australia's absolute determination to stop people getting to Australia and New Zealand's heavy penal threats.

[NZPA, "Praise for refugees boost", NZ Herald, Tuesday, May 7, 2002, p A6]

6 May 2002 This week 140 resettlement refugees will arrive in New Zealand.  The group is made up of 71 Afghans and 69 Iraqis.  All have been selected from Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Nauru.  This follows the previous announcement of the Government that the intake would come from transit countries in South East Asia to help ease the pressure on refugee camps there.  The Minister of Immigration, Hon Lianne Dalziel said that using the UNHCR to determine the refugee status of those in the camps is better than having people put their lives at risk in unseaworthy boats organised by people-smugglers.  It will also send a message to genuine refugees that the UN system works.  New Zealand accepts up to 750 UN-mandated refugees each year.  Those arriving this week will bring the total number accepted so far this year to 669.  Another 81 will come next month.

[Hon Lianne Dalziel, "UN refugee quota intake", Ministerial Announcement, Monday, 6 May 2002]

3 May 2002 It has been reported that education officials and welfare groups are having to intervene to stop some refugees beating their children with sticks.  The chairman of the Owairaka District School board of trustees is reported as saying that he knows of cases when Somali parents have used unreasonable force to punish their children.  The school tried to assist the parents and offered an after-school home-work centre, and a classroom for Somali parents to learn English.  The Ministry of Education offers educational support and tutors for pupils from refugee communities.  When schools know of child abuse they report it to the Child Youth and Family Service.  About 1,000 Somalis have settled in Auckland since the early 1990s.  Most live in Mt Roskill, Mt Albert and Avondale.  A spokeswoman for the Somali Concern Refugee and Migrant Organisation is reported as saying that the small community needs help and that if a child is being beaten, it is an alarm signalling that families need help.  Efforts were being made to teach parents about New Zealand culture and laws through the Somali organisation.  The spokeswoman said that some Somalis do not know how to cope with their children who are adapting to New Zealand life.  Some parents do not allow their children to listen to music, watch television or even play outside.  Restrictive parenting can split families apart.  Both the Somali Women's Association and the Somali Concern Refugee and Migrant Organisation offer help and assistance to families.  They also refer people to appropriate services.

[Amy Patterson, "Refugee parents beating kids", Central Leader, Friday, May 3, 2002, p 3]

30 April 2002 An immigration consultant admitted as an advocate of the Bar Council of Punjab & Haryana has been refused admission and enrolment as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand.  The man's application for admission was objected to by the Registrar of the Refugee Status Appeals Authority.  Following investigation of the objection, the Fitness for Practice Committee of the Auckland District Law Society resolved unanimously to decline to issue a certificate of good character.  An application for admission was then made directly to the High Court under s 46(1) and (2) of the Law Practitioners Act 1982.  Following a two day hearing at Auckland Harrison J ruled that the applicant had knowingly participated in, if not instigated, the wholesale production of fabricated evidence to the Refugee Status Appeals Authority in support of many second appeals, and had also made statements of fact in written submissions on behalf of appellants which he knew were false.  In addition the Judge did not accept the man's evidence that he paid income tax on receipts from refugees and noted that the man had admitted that he did not pay goods and services tax on such receipts.  Additionally or alternatively Harrison J was not satisfied that the applicant was a fit and proper person to be admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court.  His conduct, in the capacity of an advocate before the Authority, did not persuade the Judge that he would properly discharge his duties to the Court and to his clients.  The application was dismissed.

[Ujagar Singh v Auckland District Law Society, High Court Auckland, M 165-SD00, 30 April 2002, Harrison J]

29 April 2002 The High Court at Christchurch has dismissed an application for judicial review brought by a Ghanaian citizen whom the Refugee Status Appeals Authority (RSAA) had found not to be a Convention refugee.  The RSAA had determined that while the man faced a real chance of persecution were he to return to his home village in the north of Ghana to reclaim his father's land, he had an internal protection alternative in southern Ghana.  At issue in the judicial review proceedings was whether the RSAA was entitled to reject evidence given by a witness that a risk of persecution existed.  Chisholm J held, applying Butler v Removal Review Authority [1998] NZAR 409, that it was for the RSAA to evaluate and assess the evidence in a reasoned, objective and judicial manner.  While expert evidence was an important part of the evidence, the RSAA was not obliged to accept the report of a qualified expert without more.  It is fully entitled to evaluate and assess that evidence, to consider it in the context of the totality of the evidence and to reach its own objective and reasoned assessment of it.  As the RSAA had honoured this approach there was no basis for challenging the decision and the review proceedings failed.

[Razak v Refugee Status Appeals Authority (High Court Christchurch, M29/01, 29 April 2002, Chisholm J)]

29 April 2002 The Immigration (Transit Visas) Regulations 2002 (SR 2002/82) come into force on 29 April 2002.  These regulations revoke and replace the Immigration (Transit Visas) Regulations 1999.  Those regulations required the nationals of 75 named countries to obtain transit visas when transiting New Zealand to or from eleven named Pacific countries.  Under the new regulations the "listing" of countries has been abandoned in favour of a much broader generic identification of the countries the nationals of which require transit visas.  The new formula is that all persons who are not exempt from the requirement to obtain a temporary visa for a short-term visit to New Zealand (as specified in Schedule 1 of the Immigration Regulations 1999) will now also be required to obtain a transit visa before transiting New Zealand to or from the eleven Pacific countries concerned (Cook Islands; Fiji; Marshall Islands; New Caledonia; Niue; Samoa; Solomon Islands; Tahiti; Tokelau; Tonga; Vanuatu).

[Immigration (Transit Visas) Regulations 2002 (SR 2002/82)]

27 April 2002 The Government is making plans to house refugee claimants on military land on Whangaparaoa Peninsula, north of Auckland in case its efforts to block people smugglers fail.  The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon Phil Goff is reported as saying that the Government is doing all it can to stop Indonesian racketeers who are believed to be offering to bring more than 3,000 asylum-seekers to New Zealand.  There are reports that smugglers are seeking a steel-hulled vessel capable of making a four-week voyage to Northland with a cargo hold converted to accommodate hundreds of passengers.  The Government has introduced legislation containing penalties of up to twenty years in jail and fines of NZ$500,000 to deter organised criminals who charge asylum-seekers up to $8,000 a head.  A police liaison officer and an Immigration Service official have been sent to Indonesia to gather information.  The deterrence message will be reinforced by the Prime Minister, Hon Helen Clark, when she travels to Indonesia next weekend to meet the President of Indonesia, Megawati Sukarnoputri.  Mr Goff has indicated that 200 of New Zealand's annual quota of 750 genuine United Nations-cleared refugees could come from Indonesia.  The Whangaparaoa camp was used to house 66 Iranian and Iraqi refugees in September 2001.

[John Andrews, "Camp to be set up as Govt braces for influx", Weekend Herald, April 27, 2002, p A6; John Andrews, "Better safe than sorry", Weekend Herald, April 27, 2002, p B4]

26 April 2002 The first national assessment of the demographic and clinical state of HIV-infected individuals has found that the number of HIV-infected migrants from high-prevalence regions such as Africa has risen.  The Minister of Immigration, Hon Lianne Dalziel is reported as saying that the medical screening requirements for migrants were at present being reviewed because they needed updating.  Changes could include compulsory testing for HIV as part of residence applications.  Presently migrants were asked to declare in their applications whether they were HIV infected in which case more medical information was sought to determine what burden they would place on the health system.  Generally migrants infected with HIV would be rejected.  The Minister said it was being considered whether the health of resettlement refugees would be assessed before they arrived in New Zealand to allow any necessary medical treatment to begin as soon as possible.  Quota refugees were now given full medical check-ups, including tests for HIV infection, when they arrived.  But they could not be rejected if they were HIV infected as that was not a criteria by which refugee eligibility was considered.

[Angela Gregory, "HIV audit triggers alarm bells", NZ Herald, Friday, April 26, 2002, p A2]

11 April 2002 In a judgment delivered today Gleeson CJ, McHugh, Gummow & Kirby JJ (Callinan J dissenting) have dismissed an appeal by the Minister of Immigration in which the Minister had sought to challenge the grant of refugee status to women denied protection by their State.  Mrs Khawar, a citizen of Pakistan, claimed to be in need of protection arising from a well-founded fear of domestic violence (from amongst others, her husband), but violence which the state was either unable or unwilling to prevent.  The Refugee Review Tribunal had held that the violence from the husband and others was not motivated by one of the five recognised Convention reasons, but the absence of state protection was due to her membership of a particular social group in which gender played a defining part.  Gleeson CJ and Kirby J have, in effect, accepted the bifurcated analysis of persecution (see Shah [1999] 2 AC 629 (HL)) that Persecution = Serious Harm + Failure of State Protection.  In these circumstances the absence of a Convention reason for the serious harm would not be fatal to the claim if the failure of state protection was for a Convention reason. McHugh and Gummow JJ in a joint judgment took a different approach, namely that the discriminatory withholding of state protection from Mrs Khawar amounted to persecution.  The judgments also address the understanding of particular social group in the context of sex and gender-based persecution.

[Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs v Khawar [2002] HCA 14 (11 April 2002) (HCA)]

11 April 2002 The MV Tampa and her captain, Captain Arne Rinnan will arrive in Auckland on or about 5 May 2002.  This will be the final journey of Captain Rinnan before his retirement.  The vessel rescued 433 mostly Afghan asylum-seekers from the Indian Ocean in August 2001 but the vessel was refused permission to enter Australian waters.  Most of the asylum-seekers on board were eventually transferred to Australian Navy ships and taken to Nauru.  New Zealand accepted 131 of the asylum-seekers and within three months all but one had been granted refugee status and given residence permits.

[AAP, "Refugee drama captain plans farewell visit", NZ Herald, Thursday, April 11, 2002, p A2]

10 April 2002 The UNHCR has decided that only seven of the 292 Afghans sent to Nauru after being picked up from the Tampa are genuine refugees.  By way of contrast NZ accepted all but one of the 131 Tampa asylum-seekers brought to New Zealand for processing.  The UNHCR has also decided that 311 boatpeople detained in Papua New Guinea and Nauru under Australia's "Pacific Solution" border protection policy are genuine refugees.  A further eleven hundred are waiting to be processed.  The Australian Government is reported as saying that it accepted the UNHCR decision but will wait to see if other countries will volunteer to take some of the refugees before taking its share.  The Minister of Immigration, Hon Lianne Dalziel is reported as saying that the New Zealand Government will decide in the next couple of weeks whether to accept more boatpeople whom the UNHCR has recognised as refugees.  They would be taken as part of New Zealand's existing quota of 750 resettlement refugees a year.  ACT leader, Richard Prebble, is reported as saying that New Zealand needed to review the way it handled refugee applications and accused the Government of rushing through the approval process of the Tampa asylum-seekers for political gain.  However Ms Dalziel is reported as saying that immigration officials had assessed the Tampa asylum-seekers as likely to be genuine candidates, being mostly unaccompanied minors and family groups.  She said that Afghan refugees accepted by New Zealand would not be sent back to Afghanistan as they had been granted residence in New Zealand.  It is reported that Australia is seeking an agreement with the Afghan interim government to allow it to pay for asylum-seekers to return to Afghanistan now the Taliban regime has been overthrown.

[Francesca Mold, "NZ may take in Nauru refugees", NZ Herald, Wednesday, April 10, 2002, p A5]

5 April 2002 The Refugee Status Appeals Authority has published a Ruling in which it addresses the submission that a refugee claimant does not have to prove his or her claim and that it is sufficient for such person to merely state what the claim is.  The RSAA has ruled that the submission is unsupportable and must fail, citing Refugee Appeal No. 523/92 Re RS (17 March 1995) and Butler v Attorney-General [1999] NZAR 205 (CA) and ss 129G(5) and 129P(1) of the Immigration Act 1987.  The RSAA also addresses a submission that in determining whether a well-founded fear has been established, the decision-maker must engage in speculation as to possibilities.  As to this submission the RSAA has affirmed its long-established jurisprudence which is that in determining whether a fear of persecution is well-founded an assessment must be made as to whether or not an event might or might not occur in the future.  In this limited sense speculation is required.  But conjecture or surmise has no part to play in determining whether a fear is well-founded.  A fear is well-founded when there is a real substantial basis for it.  A fear of persecution is not well-founded if it is merely assumed or if it mere speculation.  In so holding the Authority emphasised that in the refugee context it is not necessary to prove "facts" to a balance of probability standard.  Finally, on the meaning of persecution the Authority has affirmed its well-established jurisprudence that persecution is not to be understood in a "dictionary" sense.  Rather a broader approach must be taken (Professor James C Hathaway in The Law of Refugee Status (Butterworths, 1991) 104-105), namely that persecution may be defined as the sustained or systemic violation of basic human rights demonstrative of a failure of state protection.  The full text of the Ruling is available on the Case Search page of this website.

[Refugee Appeal No. 72668/01 - Ruling on Legal Issues (5 April 2002)]

28 March 2002 International travellers from countries which do not have visa-free status with New Zealand will be required to have a transit visa for New Zealand under new immigration provisions to take effect from 29 April 2002.  This expansion will make the transit visa policy consistent with visitor visa policy for non-visa-free countries.  Nationals from 75 countries are already required to have transit visas and the expansion will bring an estimated further 75 countries onto the list.  Presently about 500 transit visas are issued annually.  The new transit visa requirements are part of the government's anti-terrorism package announced earlier this year.  People from countries that do not have a visa-free status, but whose destination is Australia and who hold a current Australian visa, will not require a transit visa.  People holding other New Zealand visas will also not require a transit visa.  The Minister of Immigration, Hon Lianne Dalziel is reported as saying that the extension of the transit visa policy would ensure that the stated intention of people who pass through New Zealand on their way to other destinations, is genuine.  Transit visa applications will cost NZ$90 if obtained in New Zealand, Australia or the Pacific, or NZ$120 if obtained in London or the Hague or NZ$160 from any other country.

[Hon Lianne Dalziel, "Transit Visas required for more countries", Media Statement, Thursday 28 March 2002; "Transit visas now required", Weekend Herald, March 30, 2002, p A3]

15 March 2002 A Thai businessman said to be the mastermind behind a visa scam has been sent back to Thailand.  It is reported that he and two disgraced monks established a temple in New Zealand to help Thai overstayers remain in New Zealand by claiming refugee status.  The man himself also applied for refugee status.  However the Refugee Status Appeals Authority rejected his application as there was no evidence of a well-founded fear of persecution in Thailand.  His refugee application was an abuse of the refugee determination process.

["Deportation for founder of dubious temple", NZ Herald, Friday, March 15, 2002, p A3]

11 March 2002 Proceedings have been filed in the High Court, Auckland, alleging that the New Zealand Immigration Service is not legally entitled to routinely detain asylum-seekers and that detaining those claiming refugee status in prison or at the Mangere Resettlement Centre is illegal and in breach of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.  The proceedings have been filed by the Human Rights Foundation, an independent non-governmental organisation and the Refugee Council.  A spokesperson for the Human Rights Foundation is reported as saying that the proceedings were filed before Christmas 2001 but were announced only on Sunday March 10, 2002 because the Foundation had learned that the claim would probably be heard in early May 2002.  The Minister of Immigration, Hon Lianne Dalziel is reported as saying that she does not wish to comment on the claim as the matter is before the court.

[Ainsley Thomson, "Bill of Rights challenge to refugee detentions", NZ Herald, Monday, March 11, 2002, p A7]

10 March 2002 A new website, now provides five types of information to refugee and migrant communities - housing and accommodation, health and welfare, employment/business, education, and personal and family.  People can find varying levels of services in each of the five categories, from "just off the plane" to "first work".

["Web shop opens for refugee and migrant services", City Scene, Sunday, March 10, 2002, Issue 9, p 3]

8 March 2002 The Minister of Immigration, Hon Lianne Dalziel, will be the guest speaker at a dinner hosted by the Refugee and Immigration Law Committee of the Auckland District Law Society.  The dinner will be held on Friday, 5 April 2002 at the Auckland Club starting at 6.30pm.

[Refugee and Immigration Law Committee, Law News, March 8, 2002, p 2]

5 March 2002 The Minister of Foreign Affairs, currently in Indonesia, is trying to get publicity in that country about New Zealand's tougher stance against people-smugglers to ensure those involved know what is in store for them.  He is reported as saying that authorities in Indonesia had responded positively to the proposed laws and there was greater co-operation between law-enforcement agencies to crack down on people-smugglers.  He is also trying to get the message through the media about the tough new sanctions so that anyone thinking about manning a ship going to Australia or New Zealand is aware of the consequences.  Those convicted of people-smuggling could face up to twenty years in jail.  The Indonesian Government has responded positively to the offer by New Zealand to take more of its refugees.  The Minister is reported as saying that the increase will not mean an increase in the overall quota of 750 refugees.  Rather there is the potential of a greater percentage of that quota coming from refugees in Indonesia.  The leader of Act, Richard Prebble, is reported as saying that the Government is making "ad hoc" policy on refugees and it was time to set out some "sensible" principles for selecting refugees.  He said that if New Zealand selects immigrants on the basis of skills, why not have the same criteria for refugees?

[Hon Phil Goff, "Goff to Indonesia/Malaysia March 3-8", Media Statement, Sunday, 3 March 2002; NZPA, "Goff spreads warning to people-smugglers", NZ Herald, Tuesday, March 5, 2002, p A6]

4 March 2002 United States Department of State has released the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (2001).  It may be accessed at

4 March 2002 The Refugee Women's Resource Project will launch two new reports on 27 March 2002.  The first publication, "Romani Women from Central and Eastern Europe" highlights some of the experiences of multiple discrimination that Romani women in Central and Eastern Europe face, experiences that relate in particular to issues of persecution and lack of recourse to protection.  The report aims to describe the actual experience of Romani women confronted by rising racism and xenophobia and denial of women's rights in three countries, namely the Czech Republic, Poland and Romania.  The report also provides an update on the overall internal debate on Romani women's rights as discussed amongst the Roma; a description of some of the traditional structures/values that are shaping the lives of Romani women; and also some background information on the violence experienced by Romani women generally speaking, at the hands of Roma men.  The report is aimed at legal advisers and officials.  It also provides a number of recommendations, including the need to look at all aspects of Romani women's experience of racial discrimination and the need to adopt adequate procedural measures (for instance in terms of encouraging Romani women to provide their own testimony) to ensure that such experience is fully understood.  The Refugee Women's Resource Project is also publishing the second instalment of its report "Refugee Women and Domestic Violence: Country Studies".  The aim of the report is to provide legal practitioners with evidence to assist women asylum-seekers fleeing domestic violence to gain protection under the Refugee Convention or on human rights grounds.  This instalment includes country reports on the situation for women experiencing domestic violence in Colombia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Also included are updates on the country reports issued in the first instalment - Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, China, Iran and Pakistan.  Both reports will be published at the end of March and will also be available on the website at where other RWRP publications are already accessible in PDF and Word formats.

[Refugee Women's Resource Project, Women's Asylum News, Issue 18, February 2002]

1 March 2002 A National Business Review-Compaq poll has found that 36% of people said the current UN-approved quota of 750 refugees was too high while 9% said it was too low.  Forty-nine percent said the level was about right.  But most people (58%) thought New Zealand should take refugees who were in the most immediate danger, regardless of where they came from.  Overall, 28% of people thought New Zealand should give priority to refugees from countries with similar cultural and ethnic backgrounds while 14% were of the view it depended on other factors, thought both criteria should be used or were unsure.  Young people, service and sales workers and the self-employed were least welcoming to more refugees.  Rural people were also opposed to increasing the quota, with 45% saying it was already too high.  In the article reporting the poll results, it is said that the findings suggest that Prime Minister Helen Clark does not have strong support for her plan to increase the refugee quota from 750 to 1,000 people per year.  It is also reported that Government estimates show refugees and asylum-seekers cost taxpayers $34 million in their first year in New Zealand.  The average refugee flown to New Zealand under the quota costs about $21,000 in the first year.

[Deborah Hill Cone, "Refugees have the welcome mat pulled from under them", National Business Review, March 1, 2002, p 16]

1 March 2002 The Bali Conference on People-Smuggling has led to a general agreement that people-smuggling should be criminalised and that countries co-operate with each other on extradition and mutual assistance.  Participants have agreed on a set of recommendations on how best to tackle people-trafficking and related transnational crimes.  The recommendations are to be discussed at a follow-up conference in Australia next year.  One working group will examine how proposals to combat people-smuggling can be integrated into existing international agreements and regional structures, such as the Association of South East Asian Nations.  The other working group will focus on practical measures such as enhancing police and intelligence co-ordination, and improving visa management and technical systems for detecting forged travel documents.  The panel will also help draft and harmonise legislation against people-smuggling in the region.  A draft statement to be approved by the conference warned that many people-smuggling activities are organised by criminal networks also involved in the trafficking of narcotics, document fraud, money laundering, arms smuggling and other transnational crimes.  The statement will highlight possible links between terrorists elements and people-smuggling operations.  But it has been observed that efforts to combat illegal immigration have focused primarily on preventing boatpeople from reaching Australia with the result that issues such as the trafficking of women for prostitution and illegal workers have received relatively little international attention.  The Bali conference co-incided with a huge crackdown in Malaysia on illegal migrant workers from Indonesia and the Philippines.  The Foreign Minister for Malaysia is reported as saying that five percent of Malaysia's population of twenty-three million people were illegal immigrants and the Government was considering introducing visa requirements for some nations.  Malaysia does not presently require visas for citizens from most Muslim and Western countries.  It is frequently used as a transit route for illegal immigrants travelling to Australia and New Zealand.

[AP, "Forum backs stiffer laws, police cooperation", NZ Herald, Friday, 1 March 2002, p B2]
28 February 2002 The President of Indonesia, Megawati Sukarnoputri has opened a conference convened in Bali to address the problem of people-smuggling.

[Reuters, AFP, "Indonesia hits out at 'self-interests'", NZ Herald, Thursday, February 28, 2002, p B1]

27 February 2002 Before leaving New Zealand for the two-day Regional Conference in Bali on people smuggling and related crime, the Minister of Foreign Affairs is reported as saying that this form of international organised crime requires an international response.  There needs to be an agreed comprehensive strategy for future co-operation to end people-smuggling and that countries needed to agree on how illegal migrants could be returned to their country.  Representatives are expected from source countries such as Afghanistan, transit countries such as Indonesia and Malaysia and destination countries such as Australia and New Zealand.  Agencies such as Interpol, the UNHCR, the World Bank and the Pacific Islands Forum are also attending.

[Audrey Young, "Nations take aim at asylum pirates", NZ Herald, Wednesday, February 27, 2002, p A6]

25 February 2002 At the regional conference against people-smuggling to be held in Bali, New Zealand will be represented by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and by the Minister of Immigration.  The Ministers say that resettlement countries may need to consider sourcing their refugee quotas from camps in the region to relieve the pressure on transit countries hosting refugees.  New Zealand has agreed to assist in the working parties which will be set up to follow through the recommendations of the conference.

[Hon Phil Goff, "Goff, Dalziel to attend regional conference on people-smuggling", Media Statement, Monday 25 February 2002]

25 February 2002 The Minister of Foreign Affairs has introduced to Parliament the Transnational Organised Crime Bill which will allow New Zealand to meet its obligations under, and ratify, the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and its Protocols on the Smuggling of Migrants and Trafficking of Persons.  The Bill amends the Crimes Act 1961, the Immigration Act 1987, the Passports Act 1992, the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act 1992, the Proceeds of Crimes Act 1991 and the Extradition Act 1999.  The amendments create new offences and also increase the penalty for existing offences relating to the smuggling and trafficking of people into New Zealand.  Those involved in people-smuggling will be liable to prison sentences of up to twenty years and fines up to $500,000.  Other amendments enhance New Zealand's ability to cooperate internationally to prevent, investigate and prosecute transnational offences.  An amendment to the Customs and Excise Act 1996 will allow customs officers to intercept and detain craft and to arrest without warrant those involved in people-smuggling.  The Bill also proposes a new conditional release category allowing asylum-seekers to leave prison or the Mangere Refugee Centre as long as they report to officials and live in a certain place.  Employers who hire people without work permits will no longer be able to claim they did not know about their illegal status and could be fined up to $10,000.  Fines for businesses which knowingly hire illegal migrants will increase from $5,000 to $50,000.  The Minister is reported as saying that there is evidence that smugglers looking to bring people in by air had come to New Zealand to set up systems but there was no evidence that traffickers who used boats as transport were operating here.  The legislation comes amid rumours that a boatload of 300 asylum-seekers is ready to set sail from Indonesia to New Zealand.  New Zealand has been warned that it is now seen as a soft target following the Tampa incident which dramatically reduced the number of boatpeople reaching Australia. The number of boats attempting to cross the Indian Ocean has dropped dramatically and so far this year there have been none.  Last November it was reported that the 1,700 people who claimed asylum in the year 2000 would cost the Government more than NZ$50 million.  The New Zealand Immigration Service estimates that each asylum-seeker costs about $30,000 including welfare assistance.  The Bill does not include health or education.

[Hon Phil Goff, "Government legislation cracks down on people-smuggling", Media Statement, Monday 25 February 2002; Francesca Mold, "Goff gets tough on people-smugglers", NZ Herald, Tuesday, February 26, 2002, front page; John Andrews, "On watch for a human tidal wave", NZ Herald, Tuesday, February 26, 2002, p A11]

18 February 2002 A spokesman for the Prime Minister, Hon Helen Clark, has denied that the plan to relieve pressure on Australia from boatpeople based in Indonesia means that "queue jumpers" in Indonesia will be given places ahead of refugees whose status has been confirmed.  Any people New Zealand might take from camps in Indonesia would have been assessed by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

["Asylum plan", NZ Herald, Monday, February 18, 2002, p A3]

17 February 2002 Organisers of next month's Seaweek 2002, the country's biggest national marine conservation event, have been tricked into faxing letters of invitation welcoming eight Indonesian delegates to the meeting.  Checks are being made to ascertain whether the letters have been used to obtain visas to enter New Zealand.  Officials fear that once the individuals arrive they will claim refugee status or disappear.  The national operations manager for the New Zealand Immigration Service is reported as saying that Indonesians were scanning the internet for events then emailing organisers for invitations.  Event organisers should be wary about who they sent invitations to, particularly in Indonesia which was regarded as a high risk area for people-smugglers.

[Barry Clarke, "Immigration scam stings event organisers", Sunday Star-Times, February 17, 2002, p A4]

16 February 2002 After meeting the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, the NZ Prime Minister, Helen Clark, is reported as saying that NZ may fill much of its next refugee quota (750 places) with boatpeople in Indonesia who might not be genuine refugees.  The step will be taken to help relieve the pressure on Australia from a flood of asylum-seekers.  Ms Clark said the proposal was under consideration and that NZ has an absolute discretion over how the quota is deployed.  She would not say how much of the quota for the new refugee year, starting in July, would be filled from boatpeople in Indonesia.  New Zealand will take part in a summit in Bali this month aimed at stemming the flow of asylum-seekers through South-East Asia.

[Greg Ansley, "PM extends helping hand to boat people", Weekend Herald, Saturday, February 16, 2002, front page]

15 February 2002 The Minister of Immigration, Hon Lianne Dalziel, has launched Refugee Resettlement Support's videos "Now you're in New Zealand".  The videos illustrate five typical initial encounters with various services, namely How to get an Interpreter; Visiting the Doctor; Maternity Care; Enrolling a Child at School; Home Tips (safety in the home).  Each scenario is about five minutes long and has been produced in three refugee languages (Farsi, Somali and Amharic) with English sub-titles.  Voice-overs in other languages will be arranged and added as funding comes to hand.  Women members of various refugee groups in Christchurch conceived the idea for the videos and starred in the scenarios.

[Hon Lianne Dalziel, "Refugee resettlement support", Ministerial Announcement, Friday, 15 February 2002]

14 February 2002 An Ethiopian refugee who attacked two women in The Warehouse in Tauranga has been detained as a special patient under Mental Health legislation following an order made in the High Court, Auckland on 13 February 2002.  Having been found not guilty on account of his mental condition the man is to be detained in a secure facility for the treatment of the mentally unwell.  In making the order Randerson J stated that the man could be released only on the direction of the Minister of Health with supporting psychiatric evidence.  The judge said there had been some comment in the media about the man being deported, but the courts had no power to make such an order.  The man was a permanent resident and it was a matter for the immigration authorities whether they took steps to revoke that status.

["Ethiopian to be kept in psychiatric hospital", NZ Herald, Thursday, February 14, 2002, p A4]

8 February 2002 An Ethiopian refugee who stabbed two women shoppers and left them for dead in the Tauranga branch of The Warehouse has been found not guilty by reason of insanity.  Three forensic psychiatrists gave evidence in the High Court at Rotorua that the accused was a paranoid schizophrenic who was insane at the time of the stabbing.  Relatives of the two women have called for the man to be deported.

[NZPA, "Stabbing accused found insane, not guilty", NZ Herald, Friday, February 8, 2002, p A4; NZPA, "Angry relatives want Ethiopian sent home", Weekend Herald, February 9, 2002, p A17]

7 February 2002 The appeal by an Iraqi refugee sentenced to eleven years imprisonment for the abduction and rape of a sixteen year old student waiting at a bus stop on a dark night has been dismissed by the Court of Appeal.  The man has been in New Zealand for three years.  A report suggested that because of his cultural background he considered that any woman or girl alone on the street was asking for sex.  The Court of Appeal, in dismissing the appeal, stated that the report had rightly been given limited weight and said that the rights of victims in a society are determined by proper humanitarian considerations and not by distorted cultural views of a particular group of men.

[R v Abdulhussein (CA 175/01, 7 February 2002, Gault, Keith & Blanchard JJ)]

4 February 2002 The Auckland Legal Aid Office of the Legal Services Agency has taken over responsibility for the assignment of lawyers for refugee cases in addition to making the grant decision.  Previously the New Zealand Immigration Service had a list of available lawyers for refugees.  The Agency became involved at the request of the Immigration Service when the Tampa refugees came to Auckland in September.  The Auckland Office now retains a list of practitioners who have agreed to be assigned to detained refugee applicants.  There are currently 40 practitioners on the list and the Legal Services Agency has, by mid January 2002, made assignments in 23 cases.  The process is an interim one as the Provider Criteria Project is likely to develop a separate listing category for lawyers undertaking refugee work.  The full text of the announcement by the Legal Services Agency is to be found on the Refugee Lawyers Page of this website.

["Agency takes over refugee legal aid assignment", Legal Services Agency News, Vol 2, No. 1 (February 2002) front page]

1 February 2002 The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has warned the government that people-smugglers may increasingly target New Zealand.  The warning comes as New Zealand prepared to ratify three United Nations conventions, being the UN Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime; The Protocol on the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air and The Protocol on the Trafficking of Persons, Especially Women and Children.  The Ministry has warned that as Australia puts pressure on smuggling by sea by targeting "refugee boats", it is possible that well-organised groups based in South-East Asia could increasingly look to New Zealand as an alternative destination, provided they can access sufficiently seaworthy vessels.  It also warned that forgery or falsification of New Zealand passports could jeopardise visa-free access by New Zealanders to about 50 countries as well as the opportunity to live in Australia.  Another effect, the department warned, was the risk of heightened tensions within and between populations, as already seen in New Zealand.

[NZPA, "Ministry warns on smugglers", NZ Herald, Friday, February 1, 2002, p A9]

1 February 2002 The leader of Act New Zealand, Richard Prebble, is reported as warning against any further increase in the refugee quota set by New Zealand.  His comments relate to a statement by the Prime Minister, Helen Clark, that if re-elected the government will increase the annual quota of 750 refugees plus 250 family members to at least 1,000 plus family members.  Mr Prebble accused the Government of grabbing unwanted refugees as part of an immature game aimed at brassing off Australia.  He pointed out that Australia, fearing refugees would be given New Zealand citizenship and then move to Australia through the back door, had complained for a long time.  He said Australian fears were borne out by the fact that in 1996 the first tracking of what happened to Cambodian and Vietnamese refugees after they came out of New Zealand resettlement camps showed 90% were in Melbourne.  Australia recently restricted the rights of New Zealanders living in Australia, a move Mr Prebble claims was a direct result of New Zealand not bringing its immigration policy into line with Australia's.  He said that the Government continued to play "gesture politics" at the expense of all New Zealanders.  The "fashionable game driven by whatever country is in the news this month" was backfiring on New Zealanders.  He also said "The Government can't tell you why it selects Vietnamese, Cambodians, Iraqis, Somalis or Afghanis above people from other countries - its just fashionable.  Farmers being driven off their land in Zimbabwe are real refugees and they would make good citizens but they would never be selected by this politically correct Government.  Zimbabwean farmers are homeless because they are not politically fashionable."

[Jock Anderson, "Clark's 'reckless game'", The National Business Review, February 1, 2002, p 6]

1 February 2002 It has been reported that refugees and asylum-seekers cost the taxpayer more than $34 million in their first year.  In addition, refugees incur ongoing costs in benefits, health and education.  The average refugee flown to New Zealand under the UNHCR-approved quota of 750 people a year costs the taxpayer $20,974 in the first year.  This sum comes from the budgets of the New Zealand Immigration Service, the Social Development Ministry, Health and Education.  Adjustments to the quota will allow resettlement refugees to bring in 250 family members but the costs have not been fully calculated and are partly included in the figures.  It has been reported that the Government is discussing plans to increase resettlement refugee numbers by 250, meaning total numbers of resettlement refugees and their family members would approach 2,000.  The Minister of Immigration, Lianne Dalziel, is reported as saying that the resettlement refugee quota increase will not take place until she is confident that the existing refugee resettlement processes are working smoothly and are adequately funded.  The average spontaneous asylum-seeker, of which there are about 1,500 a year, costs $12,427 until a decision is made on whether they get refugee status.  Thereafter ongoing costs are incurred as for resettlement refugees.  Act NZ, National and NZ First have raised concerns about security and crime from letting more refugees in.  Act leader, Richard Prebble has been reported as saying that racial brawls in Auckland are the legacy of serious problems in refugee policy.

[Jonathan Milne, "Refugees' first-year cost $34m", The Christchurch Press, 30 January 2002, front page]

31 January 2002 The Minister of Immigration is reported as saying that an "advance passenger processing system" already in use in Australia will now also be used in New Zealand to screen travellers and to stop those who pose a risk from boarding an aircraft.  It will also keep a record of the documentation used by passengers who subsequently destroy their travel documents while en route.  Once the system is in place (likely to be in the next eighteen months), the Government will consider fining airlines who fail to stop irregular migrants travelling to New Zealand.

[Vernon Small, "Govt boosts funds against terrorism", NZ Herald, Thursday, January 31, 2002, p A6]

21 January 2002 Following his visit to the Auckland suburb of Owairaka where a man died in a stabbing incident, the Race Relations Conciliator is reported as saying that he did not believe there was a "racial war" in the area, but said the visit had raised issues about the way refugees were resettled in New Zealand.  In particular, New Zealand needed to look at the support for refugees arriving in the country and at the way refugees were resettled.  He has raised his concerns with the Minister of Immigration, Hon Lianne Dalziel.  Ms Dalziel is reported as acknowledging there was an under-resourcing problem with refugee resettlement and said overcoming it was a priority for the Labour Government.  The Refugee and Migrant Service budget, which had not risen for ten years under National, had doubled to $600,000.  She would be happy to work with the Race Relations Conciliator on finding solutions to problems faced by refugees and if necessary she would ask for a report on any immigration-related matters that might have led to the events surrounding the man's death.

[Patrick Gower, "Murder-scene visit brings call for refugee help", NZ Herald, Monday, January 21, 2002, p A3]

20 January 2002 Escalating violence between Somalis and Maori have been reported from a street in Hamilton.

[Robyn McLean, "Second racially-motivated fatality feared", Sunday Star-Times, January 20, 2002, p A3]

20 January 2002 The New Zealand Immigration Service has rejected the claim made by three Punjabi refugee claimants that they arrived in New Zealand at Napier as stowaways.  The men are still seeking refugee status.

[Kim Purdy, "Immigration Service rejects stowaway claim", Sunday Star-Times, January 20, 2002, p A8]

19 January 2002 An Auckland City Councillor who represents Owairaka is reported as saying that new migrants lack support from government agencies.  This coupled with different cultures and language barriers in an area of deprivation can lead to misunderstandings and problems.  Ethnic, religious and cultural differences can be highly explosive.  These comments were made following racial tensions between Pacific Islanders and Somalis which led to a fatal stabbing.

[Patrick Gower & Geoff Cumming, "Melting pot an 'explosive' brew", Weekend Herald, January 19, 2002, p A3]

18 January 2002 The Foreign Minister for Papua New Guinea is reported as saying that his government has agreed to take on a temporary basis an increased number of asylum-seekers unwanted by Australia provided they would all be sent elsewhere after their claims for refugee status have been processed.  The announcement means that the Manus Island detention centre will expand its capacity to more than 1,200, including 216 who are currently there.  Another 1,118 are on Nauru, 211 are on Australia's Indian Ocean territory of Christmas Island and 60 to 70 are on the other Indian Ocean territory of Cocos Island.  None of the mainly Iraqi asylum-seekers presently on Manus Island have been allowed to go to Australia.  The last of the 216 were processed this week and are ready for onward movement.  There is no information about what numbers have been accepted for resettlement in Australia, third countries or repatriation to Iraq.  The Australian Foreign Minister is reported as saying that the policy of diverting boatpeople elsewhere was proving effective in foiling people-smugglers.  He also said that no special funding deal had been promised to Papua New Guinea to take more asylum-seekers.  Rather, it was part of PNG's contribution to a regional problem.  However, any costs associated with the development of the facility at Manus Island had been borne by Australia.  The New York based Human Rights Watch group has accused the Prime Minister of Australia, Mr Howard of violating international refugee law by summarily expelling the asylum-seekers to other places without ensuring their safety from persecution.  The Australian Minister of Immigration, Mr Ruddock, is reported as saying that Human Rights Watch misunderstood the issues and the Australian government had not expelled people without ensuring their safety.  Nor did the government apologise for its policies.

[AFP, "Australia expands its 'Pacific solution' to illegal immigration", <>]

18 January 2002 The Australian federal Minister of Immigration, Mr Ruddock is reported as saying that smugglers had noted that most of the 131 boatpeople taken in by New Zealand from the Tampa had been given refugee status and that he had been told that a lot of smugglers were now talking about heading to New Zealand rather than Australia, which had taken a tough stance against illegal immigrants.  The New Zealand Minister of Immigration, Lianne Dalziel, says there is no reason to believe that New Zealand is at any greater risk of migrant smuggling than it had ever been because of its considerable distance from departure points.  She also says that there has been no increase in the number of people using false documents to enter New Zealand.  People considering paying someone to smuggle them to New Zealand should realise that only a small number of refugee claimants gained refugee status.  In the 2000/2001 year, only 311 of the 1,703 applicants (18.3%) were approved.  She also said that New Zealand was strengthening its legislation against migrant smuggling.  It will be treated as a serious criminal offence under New Zealand law and the captain and crew of any migrant smuggling vessels would face tough new penalties if caught.  New Zealand will also be seeking to play an active role in the February 2002 Regional Conference on Trans-national Crime (including Migration) co-sponsored by Indonesia and Australia.

[Francesca Mold, "Dalziel denies NZ easy for smugglers", NZ Herald, Friday, January 18, 2002, p A5; Hon Lianne Dalziel, "New Zealand's vigorous immigration process", Media Statement, Friday 18 January 2002]

12 January 2002 It is reported that a man alleged to be financier of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) has visited New Zealand without being noticed by the authorities.  The LTTE may soon be included on a list of banned organisations to be compiled in response to the American-led war on terrorism.  Inclusion on the list would make it illegal to raise money or recruit for the LTTE in New Zealand.  It is reported that intelligence agencies believe that the man has front companies in New Zealand associated with the fundraising and weapons-procurement operations of the LTTE.  Indian authorities investigating the man's financial dealings came to New Zealand last year to probe his connections in New Zealand and interviewed three men associated with him.

[Eugene Bingham, "Terrorist banker's secret NZ visit", Weekend Herald, Saturday, January 12, 2002, front page]

11 January 2002 In a landmark decision the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that a person recognised as a refugee but who is also a danger to the security of Canada can be deported even where there is a substantial risk of torture in the receiving country.  This ruling was given in relation to Mr Suresh who came to Canada from Sri Lanka in 1990.  He was recognised as a Convention refugee in 1991 but detained in 1995 on grounds he was a member and fundraiser of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), an organisation alleged to engage in terrorist activity in Sri Lanka.  The Minister of Immigration started proceedings to deport Mr Suresh to Sri Lanka notwithstanding that members of the LTTE are subject to torture in that country.  The Supreme Court concluded that while international law rejects deportation to torture, even where national security interests are at stake there may be exceptional circumstances in which deportation to face torture might be justified.  The Minister of Immigration is required to balance the relevant factors.  It is a question of evaluation and judgment, in which it is necessary to take into account not only the degree of probability of prejudice to national security but also the importance of the security interest at stake and the serious consequences of deportation for the deportee.  In a related decision delivered on the same day the Supreme Court held that the Minister of Immigration could lawfully deport to Iran a man granted refugee status but who the Minister later suspected was a member of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence Security which sponsors a wide range of terrorist activities, including the assassination of political dissidents worldwide.  The Court ruled that there was no basis to interfere with the Minister's decision that the man's deportation to Iran would only expose him to a "minimal risk" of harm.

[Suresh v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) 2002 SCC1 (January 11, 2002); Ahani v Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) 2002 SCC 2 (January 11, 2002).]

1 January 2002 A new scam to enable Thai nationals to enter New Zealand has been uncovered.  A group of Thai's applied to the New Zealand Embassy in Indonesia for visas to enter New Zealand claiming that it was for the purpose of the Tour of Wellington cycle race.  Another group, two men and a woman claimed to be journalists travelling to cover the race.  All the visa applications were declined after it was discovered that none of the individuals were known to cycling associations in New Zealand and Thailand.  Inquiries have revealed that both groups have tried to enter other countries using false documents.  It is also reported that the Embassy discovered that one of the individuals involved had also tried to send five Indonesians to a conference organised by Victoria University of Wellington.  It is believed the scams were an attempt to land people who would then apply for refugee status.

[NZPA, "Visa scam detected in cycle race", NZ Herald, Tuesday, January 1, 2002, p A12]

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