Muriel Newman on the so-called “refugees”

Refugees and asylum seekers protesting inside the Manus Island immigration detention centre

Muriel Newman writes in her email newsletter:

Over recent weeks the plight of Manus Island refugees and the Prime Minister?s offer to take 150 of them has been dominating the news. The media?s obsession with the refugee issue is reminiscent of their incessant promotion of Jacinda Ardern?s Labour Party in the run up to the election.

It has only been since the Australian media released details from the Papua New Guinea authorities outlining how the Manus Island detainees regularly travel into town to allegedly have sex with underage girls ? some as young as 10 – and buy and sell drugs, that some balance has finally entered the news coverage.

Given the interest of the New Zealand media in this issue, quite why?they?didn?t find and publish this information – which was reported to the Australian Government in mid-October – is not clear. The 161 offences the detainees are alleged to have committed include sexual assault, assault and aggressive behaviour.??

If our media had been doing their job, they would have provided New Zealanders with balanced reporting from the outset. That would have indicated there are serious problems in taking these men.

If our media were doing their jobs they’d be reporting on the MSD leaks that Jacinda Ardern has gone around Australia and is negotiating directly with Papua New Guinea. Not only that, she has demanded houses and other accommodation be made available, along with fast tracking welfare and arranging translators. She has denied this to media, but the email trail will reveal that lie in due course.

What was also not reported by our media was the fact that under normal circumstances, every asylum seeker has access to accommodation, utilities, food, and a fortnightly allowance. They are free to visit nearby villages to shop, to go to the beach and to mix with locals. In addition, they are able to apply for permanent resettlement in PNG at any time.

Australia’s position on this matter in understandable. The Australian Government has always refused New Zealand?s offers to take boat refugees for the very good reason that we could be used as a backdoor route into that country – unless visas are re-introduced for Trans-Tasman travel. The concern is that if any of the refugees did end up in Australia, it could trigger a resumption of the disastrous people smuggling trade that led to the deaths of over 1,200 asylum seekers before the hard-line approach was adopted.

Australia now has a strict policy of turning back asylum seekers? boats in order to discourage them from even trying to reach Australia. Not only that, but any asylum seekers, who do manage to arrive by boat, are banned from?ever?being settled in Australia. Instead they are held in detention camps on Nauru and Papua New Guinea, from where any genuine refugees are given the option of being resettled, but?not?in Australia. Alternatively, they can opt to be returned to their home country.

Our Prime Minister should stop meddling in Australian affairs. An offer has been made and that?s where it should lie. And the media should provide balanced reporting, not try to exert influence through PR campaigns masquerading as news.

If Jacinda Ardern really has gone behind Australia’s back then expect Australia to reinstate visas for travel to Australia.

Word from inside Labour and the government is that Ardern is hell bent on bringing these 150 ratbags here, genuine refugees or not. That includes their families. It is all about her PR and not at all about the fact Kiwi voters don’t want a bar of them.