New Zealand Fulfills Australian Refugee Resettlement Deal after Nine Years

New Zealand officials announced taking in 450 asylum seekers and refugees held in Australia or its offshore detention center, nine years after Australia rejected its first offer. 

“New Zealand has a long and proud history of refugee resettlement, and this arrangement is another example of how we are fulfilling our humanitarian international commitment,” said New Zealand’s Minister for Immigration Kris Faafoi. 

“We are pleased to be able to provide resettlement outcomes for refugees who would otherwise have continued to face uncertain futures,” Faafoi added. 

Refugees held in detention have long complained about the arbitrary nature of the system, with Australian officials holding sweeping powers over their fate.

Australia introduced harsh new measures in 2013 to send any asylum seekers who tried to arrive in Australia by boat to so-called offshore processing centers in Papua New Guinea (PNG) or Nauru. 

The Australian government argued that its policy has deterred people from making dangerous sea journeys to get to its shores and that anyone who tries to do so will not be allowed to stay.

“Australia remains firm – illegal maritime arrivals will not settle here permanently. Anyone who attempts to breach our borders will be turned back or sent to Nauru,” Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews said.

New Zealand first offered to take some refugees in 2013, but Australia has repeatedly rejected it.

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