Australia, you’re being a dick

Written By: - Date published: 8:35 am, November 6th, 2017 - 139 comments
Categories: australian politics, Donald Trump, International, jacinda ardern, labour - Tags: ,

Jacinda Ardern had her first international outing as Prime Minister on the weekend and flew over the Tasman to meet Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

The most important subject related to 600 people originally from third world nations who are on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.  They are only there because Australia refused to comply with its legal obligation to process people seeking refugee status who present themselves at Australia’s boarder.  Turnbull’s Government claims that deterrence of others necessitates such cruel and inhumane treatment.  But it is strange that a right wing Government, who normally talk about the rule of law as if it is a given, should violate its legal obligations in such a clear and calculating way.

And lets be absolutely clear here.  Yes there is a crisis but it is one created by deliberate decisions by Turnbull and Co.  Deliberately shutting off power and water and stopping the supply of food to the inhabitants of the camp is as inhumane an act as you can think of.

Ardern offered again an original offer made by John Key and apparently accepted by Julia Gillard for New Zealand to take 150 refugees from Australia each year including potentially Manus Island residents.

But this very generous offer has been declined.

The reason?  From Radio New Zealand:

At their first official meeting since Ms Ardern became Prime Minister, Mr Turnbull also declined to take up a renewed offer from the New Zealand government to take Manus Island and Nauru refugees.

About 600 refugees remain holed up on the detention centre, which Australia closed last week.

Australia is coming under pressure over its handling of the situation with the United Nations calling on it to restore food, water and health services.

New Zealand’s offer to take 150 refugees was first made in 2013.

However, it has been rejected several times, most recently in February, on the basis refugees could use coming to New Zealand as a back door into Australia.

Mr Turnbull said he thanked Ms Ardern but he did not want to do anything that might encourage a return of people smuggling into Australia.

He said his country was focused on a deal that would see 1250 refugees resettled in America.

He said Australia would consider other options only if that did not succeed.

“We are pursuing those arrangements [with the US] at the moment and that is our commitment,” Mr Turnbull said.

“We want to pursue those, conclude those arrangements and then in the wake of that, obviously we can consider other ones.”

But how likely is it that the deal with the United States will resolve matters?  This transcript of the famous Trump Turnbull telephone call from earlier on in his term suggests not very.  Trump was reported as saying this:

Here I am calling for a ban where I am not letting anybody in and we take 2,000 people. Really it looks like 2,000 people that Australia does not want and I do not blame you by the way, but the United States has become like a dumping ground. You know Malcom [sic], anybody that has a problem – you remember the Mariel boat lift, where Castro let everyone out of prison and Jimmy Carter accepted them with open arms. These were brutal people. Nobody said Castro was stupid, but now what are we talking about is 2,000 people that are actually imprisoned and that would actually come into the United States. I heard about this – I have to say I love Australia; I love the people of Australia. I have so many friends from Australia, but I said – geez that is a big ask, especially in light of the fact that we are so heavily in favor, not in favor, but we have no choice but to stop things. We have to stop. We have allowed so many people into our country that should not be here. We have our San Bernardino’s, we have had the World Trade Center come down because of people that should not have been in our country, and now we are supposed to take 2,000. It sends such a bad signal. You have no idea. It is such a bad thing.

Then there was this exchange.  Prepare to have your basic sense of humanity shaken:

Turnbull: Yes, but let me describe what it is. I think it is quite consistent. I think you can comply with it. It is absolutely consistent with your executive order so please just hear me out. The obligation is for the United States to look and examine and take up to and only if they so choose – 1,250 to 2,000. Every individual is subject to your vetting. You can decide to take them or to not take them after vetting. You can decide to take 1,000 or 100. It is entirely up to you. The obligation is to only go through the process. So that is the first thing. Secondly, the people — none of these people are from the conflict zone. They are basically economic refugees from Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. That is the vast bulk of them. They have been under our supervision for over three years now and we know exactly everything about them.

Trump: Why haven’t you let them out? Why have you not let them into your society?

Turnbull: OK, I will explain why. It is not because they are bad people. It is because in order to stop people smugglers, we had to deprive them of the product. So we said if you try to come to Australia by boat, even if we think you are the best person in the world, even if you are a Noble [sic] Prize winning genius, we will not let you in. Because the problem with the people —

Trump: That is a good idea. We should do that too. You are worse than I am.

Get all that?  Turnbull said that the Manus Island residents did not present any threat to Australia, they were economic refugees.  And Trump formed the opinion that Turnbull was worse than him.

But if the offer is still there and America is doing the vetting then why cut off the food and water and power?  Ardern indicated that she was prepared to look at giving the refugees so that they could not travel to Australia under New Zealand’s open access agreement.  Turnbull’s response appears to be focus group motivated belligerence.

Twitter has given Turnbull a lashing. Some favourites:

139 comments on “Australia, you’re being a dick ”

  1. Carolyn_nth 1

    Ardern has come across well int he media on this.

    But, re-the argument about not encouraging more people to try to get to Aussie….

    Why is no one considering why so many people are trying to get into relatively wealthy countries?

    Hint: global inequalities.

    • RedLogix 1.1

      We all are all to some degree victims of a massive global inequality. Look at today’s new around the “Paradise Papers”. When less than 50 people now control more wealth than the bottom 50% of the planet’s people, then something is deeply, grotesquely wrong.

      • Angel Fish 1.1.1

        lol you can blame the consumers that feed these corporations then!
        Take responsibility as a consumer!

    • This is absolutely about global inequalities.

      What I find astounding is the author of this article thinks offering to take 150 people is generous! New Zealand takes very very few refugees and is ranked 110th in the world, per capita, adjusted for GDP.

      Ardern merely repeated Key’s offer, except she knew it would be refused having been rejected previously. It seems going through the motions of making tiny gestures is what Standardistas call progressive government.

  2. Matthew Whitehead 2

    Sure, Australia is being terrible on this issue, yet again. Quelle surprise, the only Australian party that has anything considering a reasonable policy on refugees is the Australian Greens.

    At least in New Zealand Labour acknowledges some degree of responsibility on this issue, but the line of daylight between Ardern’s “we need to stop boat operators endangering the lives of refugees” and noted reactionary Mike Hosking’s “refugees need to get back in line even if that means they die waiting” takes is nowhere near enough for someone who is now the leader of our country, and whose ambition is to centre kindness as a quality we ask for in our leaders. At the least she should be looking to take more than 150 refugees, even if that involves going over our quota this year- it’s supposed to be a minimum, not a maximum.

    • greywarshark 2.1

      Matthew W

    • McFlock 2.2

      Totally. Offer to take the lot. It’s the humane thing to do.

      • RedLogix 2.2.1

        But now three months later imagine we read in the news of a large ship with 5,000 crammed on board now heading across the Tasman with the declared aim of reaching NZ. Exactly how would this unwelcome news be treated domestically?

        Like Rudd before her, Adern would be crucified.

        Ultimately these people should enter a standard UN refugee program and progress from there. Anything else validates the criminal business model of the people smugglers.

        • marty mars

          Yes they are feared by some, so what, what else is new.

          Imagine in 3 months that nothing else happens – ummm yep that seems closer to reality than the shootem on the beach zombie scenario.

          • RedLogix

            Not at all, at least one vessel declared an intention to reach NZ, although in that instance it may have been more a distraction rather than a reality.

            It may suit your argument to discount the possibility of large vessels making it across the Tasman to zero, but a glance at any of our busy ports suggest that it is possible.

            • McFlock

              Ok, so maybe one vessel has ever tried. Maybe.

              Because your fear (shared by dunnokeyo, I seem to recall) is based on a reality that has four contradictory constraints:

              – smugglers want to maximise their profit
              – refugees are usually poor
              – seaworthy ships are expensive
              – the Tasman Sea is quite big.

              We’re not talking about stowaways, who we won’t detect until they’re here. We’re talking about a dedicated vessel, with a crew that’s either paid off to accept a fall, or inexperienced refugees told “keep it pointed in that direction”. If they genuinely try to make that trip, they’re screwed.

              • RedLogix

                Yes there are hurdles and hazards, but hell I’ve sailed across the Tasman in a smallish yacht years back. In the right weather window it’s quite doable.

                Of course it’s a one way trip, but that’s not a show stopper. All I am suggesting is that it is quite possible to do and pretending otherwise is not really a feasible argument.

                • McFlock

                  possible is not the same as likely. Enough boats sunk trying to cross the straits with indonesia, ffs – any refugee ship that makes it to Auckland Harbour should have the entire crew put into America’s Cup and Whitbread training immediately. They’ll make us millions.

                  • RedLogix

                    And yachties on much smaller boats regularly make the trip too. With modern GPS and weather predictions (nowadays good for almost 14 days out) it’s nothing like the madly dangerous proposition you are making out.

                    Again I’m not trying to suggest it’s a dead cert, but I’d give it a substantial 20% probability of happening once it became common knowledge that NZ was open to accepting refugees.

                    • McFlock

                      And in what volume? I’d say “well under our current dismal refugee quota”. In which case, why worry about it.

                    • RedLogix

                      That’s probably what Rudd thought at the outset.

                    • McFlock

                      He didn’t have 2000km of ocean providing enough delay to reconsider.

                      Besides, Rudd never really spun with the average Australian knee-jerker. To sophisticated by half.

                    • I’d say “well under our current dismal refugee quota”.

                      And you’d be wrong. Australia, before implementing their present policies, had 25000+ people turning up every year. And that had been steadily increasing.

                    • McFlock

                      Again, try that on the Tasman Sea.

              • Gabby

                How poor are these refugees? How seaworthy are the boats?

                • McFlock

                  If they were rich, they’d have been flooding in via Emirate Air after making donations to the national party.

                  And the boats sink trying to cross from Indonesia to Aus, so I don’t give many of them a chance of getting to NZ.

                  • Gabby

                    So the boats are pretty cheap then. Writeoffs maybe.

                    • McFlock

                      It’s a one trip deal, and you can’t collect cash from them at the other end – and if you could, it wouldn’t be that much.

                      You’re welcome to speculate how much investment in marine safety an unscrupulous people smuggler might make.

                    • David Mac

                      This from an Aussie ABC 2014 report.

                      “Like any organised crime outfit, people smuggling networks are nimble and respond quickly to what CEOs would call “political challenges to their business environment”.

                      For smuggling networks operating through Indonesia, that has been a series of changes to Australian policy.

                      Passengers from the only boat known to have reached Australian territory this year have told the ABC they paid as little as $1,000 per person for the voyage.

                      According to passengers from a boat that was turned back in December, they paid between $1,200 and $2,500 per person.

                      While this represents a massive discount on the up to $13,000 that was being charged just a couple of years ago, a cut-price offer is not the only thing that has changed in the smuggling trade.

                      The available evidence suggests that smuggling networks have been trying out new routes and offering to keep sending people until they make it to Australia.”


            • OnceWasTim

              “at least one vessel declared an intention to reach NZ”
              Don’t you mean Australian media reported that one vessel declared that intention?
              At least you have the decency to add “it may have been more a distraction rather than a reality” if it was actually their stated intent. In fact now I come to think about it, I remember placards on an overloaded leaky boat
              You’re a bit of a surprise sometimes @RL.
              I realise NZ can’t be the world’s bleeding heart, but at least can do all it can when things go tits up, AND call out the arseholes that are causing the problems.
              Better still – it can also get its own house in order. Like for example the economic refugees heading our own various governmental agencies making judgements on others with much the same ambitions.

        • McFlock


          Firstly, See if they’re in our SAR area – the boat will probably sink, and we don’t want 5000 people to drown.

          Secondly, Apply to the UNHCR for help.

          Thirdly, bring them in when they reach our SAR area.

          Fourthly, find the people smugglers and break their parasitic organisation. Somebody bought a big freaking boat that was pretty much unprecedented in size. The Tampa had less than 10% that number.

          • RedLogix

            Exactly all the steps the Australians attempted. But in practical terms exactly what do you do with a shipload of people determined not to return to where they came from? Yes the humane, intelligent thing is to let them ashore and give them residency.

            But that comes with consequences as Rudd found out.

            • McFlock

              Are we as bad as Australia? Really?

              • RedLogix

                Maybe I’m biased because I have lived here almost five years now and have noticed that Australians generally don’t seem to be the horned devils most of The Standard regulars make them out to be.

                The big difference is that they on average are a little more socially conservative than us, and tend to speak their minds freely. You’re rarely left in much doubt as to where you stand with them. But otherwise we’ve encountered pretty much the same range of values and opinions as you would find back in NZ.

                But for an accident of geography and distance we would be struggling with the exact same issue and be doing no better. We have nothing to be smug about.

                • McFlock

                  It’s quite likely that Australians alive today chased indentured Aborigine slaves down and took them back in chains.

                  Aborigines weren’t classes as “human” until 1967.

                  That’s not an “accident of geography”. We’re well short of perfect, but we are at least better than that.

                  • RedLogix

                    Again the same moral smugness that has no place in this debate. Maori were always a highly politically aware and engaged peoples; by contrast the social, technical and cultural distance between the European colonists (many of whom arrived under damned difficult circumstances themselves) and the Aboriginal peoples was huge. If ever the stage was set for a disastrous meeting of two peoples, colonial Australia had to be it.

                    Moreover we cannot neglect the impact of geography; until roughly the 1960’s Australia was a much tougher and challenging place to live. A brutal climate, prone to drought, storms and flood, combined with huge distances and isolation made for a tough outlook in those who could tolerate it. Put simply the country itself shaped a people with hard attitudes. A far more prominent Catholic Church inculcated a deep social conservatism. These really only started to change when roads, cars and electricity started to transform Australian life and the iron grip of the Churches relaxed in the 60’s and 70’s.

                    Nor can it be said that all white Australians treated Aboriginals as sub-humans; there are plenty of examples of those who did not. But universally everyone on both sides of the divide struggled to adapt to each other to some degree. Again I’m not for an instant defending what happened, just suggesting that there is no reason to think us kiwis would have done any better if faced with the same context.

                    • McFlock

                      All that’s as may be – but that’s their background.

                      We can, should, and I think given the opportunity would do better than them now.

                      We should be offering to take the lot.

                    • RedLogix

                      So now the smuggler’s gambit is; leaky ship to somewhere off the Aussie coast, get rescued by their navy, a few years in an open PNG transition camp, and then quick smart to soft touch NZ and six months later, bingo into Aus!

                      OK that’s not what might happen, but it’s certainly how it will be sold.

                      Truly if there have been two issues that have torn Australian politics inside out this past decade it’s climate change and boat people. We’re jumping up and down on one of their big bright red hot buttons here and should proceed intelligently.

                      Ultimately I’m OK for us to take the 150 we’ve offered, but we need to be absolutely onside with the Australians to ensure the optics and messaging works. Because if it doesn’t we will have brought ourselves one ugly shitstorm, both internationally and domestically.

                      This isn’t about us ‘being better than them’. Jeeze that’s so patronising and unhelpful. It’s about working constructively with our nearest neighbouring nation (one that we are deeply linked with) to solve an ugly problem with a now hopelessly tragic human face.

                    • McFlock

                      Except they’ve shut the camp because the aussie court finally declared it illegal. That’s why the refugees are running out of food and water.

                      So, like I say: Manus is a one-off deal. No slippery slope, no moral hazard, no floodgates.

                      Applying their problems to us, when we have a massive natural bulwark against their problem, is silly.

                      25k is something like 0.1% of their population, by the way, equivalent to 4,000 people in NZ. Can we really not handle two or three times that a year, especially if it comes off the immigration visa quota?

                    • RedLogix

                      But pretending we’re somehow better than the Australians just because of that ocean is equally silly.

                      Yes we can take these people as a one-off. But there is a real finite probability that it will not end there. As I said above, once you start paying kidnappers all you are doing is validating their business model. Much the same with people smugglers.

                      The Australians have been dealing with this godawful issue for some time now. Having NZ stick it’s naive little nose in, stinking of ‘holier than thou’ really won’t be welcome. We can do it, but Adern needs to be really smart about it’s done.

                      PS. And quit the irritating obfuscation. The refugees are running out of supplies because they refuse to leave the detention camp that the PNG Supreme Court has declare must be shut, and move to open, transition camps PNG have provided where there is plenty of food, water, medical care and security provided.

                      The only reason why they are doing this is to attempt to continue to pressure Australia into granting them asylum, when everyone knows they simply don’t qualify.

                • But otherwise we’ve encountered pretty much the same range of values and opinions as you would find back in NZ.

                  People are people the world over.

                  But for an accident of geography and distance we would be struggling with the exact same issue and be doing no better.

                  Yep. If we had 25000+ people turning up every year as illegal immigrants we’d looking at ways to limit that as well as immigrants cost a huge amount to prepare, assimilate and generally provide for. When it’s uncontrolled it costs even more.

                  • McFlock

                    Which is a bloody stupid way of looking at it.

                    We have 60k people turning up every year, long term. Shit planning might cause some issues, but yeah, nah, we can handle it.

                    • Once we start allowing in illegal immigrants the number will rise again and again. It would only be a few years before it gets to well over a 100k and still be climbing.

                      And that’s not a fear – that’s actually what happens.

                      So, no, we can’t handle it.

                    • Lol that isn’t what that study showed – so it is your own fear – deal with YOUR stuff and stop projecting it.

                    • McFlock

                      First of all, they’re not “illegal immigrants”, they’re asylum seekers. If the asyum bid fails, they get deported.

                      The floodgate thing is a wonderful theory, it’s about as good as the domino theory the yanks had after WW2. But there are 2000 choppy, blinding, sweltering, chilling, contrary reasons why even a draconian Australia will be the preferred first stop for the desperate.

                    • RedLogix

                      If their ‘asylum bid’ fails and they refuse to return … now what? (Oddly enough even the ‘dumb’ Australians realised that forcing them onto planes and trying to send them back to countries that were not going to accept them back was probably not smart.)

                      Given the vast majority of boat people failed even the most elementary ‘asylum bid’, it was reasonable to assume they were really just attempting to bypass the normal immigration process everyone else has to abide by.

                      Quibble the words all you like, but in the end for most it was an attempt to enter the country illegally. And no-one had any humane solution for dealing with the mess once they were on Australian territory, but without any legal path to residency.

                      And DtB’s reference proves exactly what he contended; that in the years were boat people were permitted residency unchecked, their numbers increased year on year. Note particularly the drop in the year 2013 from 300 boats to just 1 in 2014 after Abbott’s election.

                    • McFlock

                      The vast majority fail in asylum bids?

                      When they shut Nauru “Only 45 of the 1,637 asylum seekers detained in Nauru were found not to be refugees.[2]”.

                      45 nasty, law breaking illegal immigrants abusing the poor aussies, to 1600-odd legitimate refugees.

          • OnceWasTim

            Yep indeed!.
            I always wondered why Okkers are perfectly prepared to spend millions and millions outsourcing their ‘problem’ to those they recognise are in need of a few dollars, yet they can’t see their way clear to invest the same amount of the almighty A$ in tracking down those whose intent is to get an earn in people trafficking. (and that’s as opposed to those smugglers with a genuine concern for refugee’s plight with minimal means)
            Still, I suppose it’s far easier to label and demean and spin, and invent language and terms like “Queue Jumpers”, or “Economic Refugees” or “Low Quality Immigrants”, etc., etc., and question their integrity rather than own up to their own. Besides, they’re probably all fuckn rapists and murderers anyway.
            But mmmmmmaaaaaaaaaaaaate! Did you see that Chickie Babe Jacinta!? She’s that fukn new Koiwoi Prime Minister or sumthing.
            Whoooooar! Hot pants brutha! Move over!
            Actually, it’s a bit of an admission that their intelligence capability is actually up to SFA. If it’s not that and they’re not able to locate those whose intent is more about people for money, then it’s down to – well take a guess (you just have to listen to a Dutton or a Corman or a Yabbit or two)

            • Draco T Bastard

              I always wondered why Okkers are perfectly prepared to spend millions and millions outsourcing their ‘problem’ to those they recognise are in need of a few dollars, yet they can’t see their way clear to invest the same amount of the almighty A$ in tracking down those whose intent is to get an earn in people trafficking.

              I suspect that has to do with those traffickers being in other countries and thus outside of Australia’s jurisdiction. About the only thing that Australia could do is ask those countries to look into it and those probably don’t care enough to do so.

              The other option would be to send the spies in to try and find them but if they did that then we certainly won’t hear about it.

              • OnceWasTim

                Are you trying to tell me the Australian Navy hasn’t entered into waters not within their ‘jurisdiction’ in the past?
                NEVER taken boats with queue jumper boat people economic immigrants under tow and directed them -TOWED them back ?
                Maaaate, Are you interested in buying the Sydney Harbour Bridge by any chance?

                • OnceWasTim

                  I know I know Drac T B. It was for their own good!
                  What else could they have done!
                  Actually rather than the Sydney Harbour Bridge, I’ve got a Rohingya I could sell you. Make very good servant! Just feed flour and water once a day, mattress under house, all good

                • [Citation needed]

                  And will towing a ship back to port catch the people organising the ship? The people getting the money?

        • Matthew Whitehead

          If Australia is so opposed to people smuggling, they should be going after the operators, not trying to keep refugees out of its territorial waters and illegally detaining them.

          I don’t disagree that Australia does have a hard lot being the destination for these people coming by boat from various places in Asia and surrounding countries, but it also doesn’t have a land border, so it has to accept that refugees not able to wait for the paperwork of the UN refugee program will come by boat, and it’s simply a matter of making sure they’re safe when they do so, and if they can’t arrange for safe travel by boat, then Australia will have to deal with the realities of unsafe travel by boat. If Australia can’t accept them all permanently, that’s fine, they should house them temporarily in Australia (instead of farming them out to their neighbours so that they can avoid making a decision on whether or not they’re actually refugees) while they look for a permanent solution- likely, some of those refugees would end up in NZ or the USA. It’s totally reasonable if Australia can’t find space in their own refugee program to take all arrivals. What’s not reasonable is them trying to stop refugees from arriving at all under the guise of opposing dangerous “smuggling” of refugees by boat- I think if we’re being absolutely real, we all know Australia would still oppose these trips even if they were safe, because what they really oppose is having to make a decision on whether these people are refugees and thus being legally obliged to make sure they’re taken care of, simply because of their own domestic politics around immigration colouring the issue of refugees. (who aren’t even immigrants)

          New Zealand is already doing our part in this equation by putting our hand up to take refugees Australia doesn’t want when they arrive this way, and I hope we will continue to take increasing numbers as time goes on.

          But to say that all refugees must apply with proper paperwork when they are fleeing government persecution or war zones is more than a little ridiculous. The inability to wait to save your life is part of what qualifies you as a refugee, and if there’s no completely safe way to flee, sometimes they will balance their dangers and take an unsafe boat because it’s still less likely to kill them than their own government.

  3. RedLogix 3

    Not accurate at all mickey. As far as I am aware these people are free to leave the now closed camp (hence no food and water) and live on Manus alongside the rest of the local population. Closing the Manus Is camp was not optional, it was ordered closed by the PNG Supreme Court April last year and the Australian govt had to comply.

    Three other camps run by PNG are now open and available for the refugees:

    Three other centres in the nearby town of Lorengau, built at the expense of the Australian taxpayer, are ready to receive the asylum seekers. They are all open facilities, where no one is detained. Two of these facilities are for people who’ve had their status confirmed as refugees.

    One of these is the East Lorengau Refugee Transit Centre, which was finished three years ago. It has room for 400 people, according to federal government figures provided to a Senate estimates committee two weeks ago. Seventy-seven refugees are living there already. It has health care and it has security for the protection of residents.

    The other is the West Lorengau Haus. It has capacity for another 300 refugees. So total capacity for refugees is 700. For confirmed refugees, the PNG government pays an allowance for food and other necessities but they need to cook their own food.

    The third facility is designated for the people whose claims for refugee status failed, non-refugees. This is Hillside Haus, which can accommodate 198 people. For non-refugees, to whom PNG pays no allowance, the facility will supply catered meals.

    In other words closing the Australian camp was ordered by the PNG Supreme Court and alternative accommodation provided by the PNG govt, to which the refugees are entirely free to go. They may not want to, but this is not Australia’s fault. Omitting this information is dishonestly selective and invalidates your OP entirely.

    • Sure and go back to blaming the people smugglers too but for gods sake don’t blame the aussies cos they’re our brothers – get real mate the aussies ARE to blame.

      • RedLogix 3.1.1

        The core problem here is that tragically these people by a cruel and hopeless stroke of fate have made themselves outcasts everywhere. The moment they paid the illegal people smugglers for their passage on got on those damn boats their fate was sealed. That and some very unfortunate timing. After all they had every expectation their illegal passage would see them safe in Australia, much as 51,000 others before them.

        The problem is now no-one really wants them, other than Cambodia, the US and NZ. And if by some miracle they could be re-homed tomorrow and we could be certain the people smugglers would not restart their vile trade in response … there would be no problem with resettlement.

        It’s very analogous to the strict policy most governments have around never paying out kidnappers. Because paying out a ransom validates a business model that criminals quickly take advantage of. People smugglers are much the same, except their victims are not innocents, but for the most part people driven to find a better life.

        The people to blame here are the people smugglers primarily, with the refugees themselves seeking bypass a legal migration process must also bear some responsibility for their choices as well. Australia did not invite them to illegally migrate, nor a any moral obligation to accept them as refugees just on their say so.

        The rest of the editorial I linked to is a reasonable read as well. It’s a tough issue with no easy answers. Sorry I can’t be more fluffy ducky on this.

        • greywarshark

          Red L
          The core problem here is that tragically these people by a cruel and hopeless stroke of fate have made themselves outcasts everywhere.

          ‘Made themselves outcasts’? I think somebody else made them outcasts.
          Sure it is tragic. Paying money to be transported hopefully, is just a final blow to these dejected, rejected outcasts.

          Don’t blame them for world, religious, political, oil resource….conflicts. They are only little people, as ultimately all of us are, living our small lives. And only about half of this small country try to do anything to better the situation, using the small resources that each of us has.

          • RedLogix

            Of course they did. These people committed a crime by trying to enter Australia illegally. They had every expectation they would get away with it, but they didn’t. Exactly whose fault is that?

            The problem we both have here gw is that none of us can really know their exact motives for migrating. Because if living in a shitty corrupt poverty-ridden country is justification for illegal migration then you have just validated several billion people mass migrating without restriction.

            Already there are some 65m refugees in the world and over time this will become a more fraught issue. Imagine for instance if in say 2025 the WAIS suddenly begins it’s almost inevitable terminal breakup. By say 2028 sea level has risen 2m and most Pacific Islands are now uninhabitable. Vast areas of Bangladesh are now gone, and so on. Such a crisis would render Manus Is a mere picnic.

            I truly don’t have a good answer for any of this within a politically conventional framework. Open borders utterly disintegrates any sense of national identity or integrity. None of us are ready for that and I make no apologies for being appalled by such a prospect myself. But I’ve made this basic proposition many times before and been roundly ignored: All the real problems in the world now are global in nature, and demand solutions imposed at the level of global governance.

            Australia cannot fix this on it’s own, nor can NZ. No single nation on it’s own can address the complex issues of gross economic inequality, corruption, war-mongering and social injustice that drives this story. Until the human race as a whole accepts the critical need for a global government, capable of imposing it’s policy universally, then we will be left helpless in the face of these intractable tragedies.

            • McFlock

              what crime did they commit?

              I’ve always been a bit unclear on that. My understanding is that their objective was not to “enter Australia illegally”, it was to get to Australia and go through the regular asylum process on Australian soil.

              • RedLogix

                Try embarking on an aircraft to NZ in say Hong Kong without a valid visa or passport. It’s just not going to happen; almost all nations have clamped down on people travelling on false documents trying to arrive on their territory in order to claim asylum.

                What Australia was faced with was not handfuls of people arriving by plane, but tens of thousands in large boats, but in principle they have the same right to prevent these people from arriving on Australian soil whether they arrive by plane or boat. That’s not the real issue here.

                The core of the problem is simple; too many people abusing a ‘regular political asylum process’ in order to bypass the normal immigration process that everyone else has to undertake. I’m personally in no position to judge why these people were trying to apply for political asylum, but clearly Australia has had reason to determine them as ‘economic migrants’. As I mentioned above, this whole question of who is or isn’t a ‘refugee’ will only become more vexed as time goes on.

                Of course the downside is that this wholesale abuse has made it far harder for genuine political refugees.

                • McFlock

                  Travelling on false documents is very illegal.

                  Simply turning up on aussie soil, as the refugees try to do, is not.

                  Australia’s reason to call them economic immigrants is illegal, as is their detention. As for “tens of thousands” – 12,000 boat people from 1999-2001, dribs and drabs thereafter. If you’re lucky, in the next few years they’ll reach something approaching the 50k Vietnamese boat people let in after the war in Vietnam ended.

                  • RedLogix

                    Simply turning up on aussie soil, as the refugees try to do, is not.

                    Are you arguing for open borders? Because the problem is that by ‘just turning up’ and claiming political asylum creates the problem that most refuse to return of their countries of origin, or any other alternative, when the authorities determine they are not genuine.

                    Now they are stuck with people who have no legal path to residency, yet no other place they can go to. They effectively make themselves stateless. Rudds’ answer which was to just let them in anyway saw over 51,000 people exploit this opportunity in just a few short years, and the numbers just kept rising until Abbott put a stop to it.

                    As I mentioned a few days ago, through sheer social accident I’ve just spent five days with a senior Australian military diplomat based in Asia. What was never made public by the Rudd govt was the sheer scale of some of the planned ‘shipments’ their intelligence services got wind of. Smugglers were scouting out for end of life ships capable of carrying tens of thousands to Australia. The idea was to just run them ashore at speed and there would little the Australian navy could do to stop them. The potential profits were astounding.

                    Now there may not be a law against ‘just arriving on Australian soil’, but such mass arrivals are not easily tolerated domestically. It sank both Rudd and Gillard and tossed Abbott a priceless political lifeline. You only have to consider the turmoil it is causing in Europe.

                    • McFlock

                      Those who refuse get deported.

                      The problem arises becausemost if not all of them have legitimate asylum grounds, but Australia doesn’t want to abide by international law.

                      As for what intelligence services get wind of – unless they’ve sabotaged one or two then all they got wind of were grand schemes.

                      51000, over years, in a country of 20-odd million. Practical problems don’t strike me as being insurmountable. The character of the people and politicians who literally made shit up and formented the scare on the issue, on the other hand…

                    • RedLogix

                      Political asylum was originally intended to have an individual scope; something that related to the specific circumstances of a natural person.

                      But in reality there is no clean boundary between a ‘politically persecuted’ refugee and one that’s ‘economically oppressed’. When the notion of refugee is expanded to encompass and entire group, culture, nation or religion of people even … the concept becomes strained.

                      I accept there is no clean definition that will satisfy everyone here on this thread; however in this case the Naura and PNG govts have determined that around 80% do qualify as refugees. There is a lot of solid information here:


                      In this case the primary requirement is to resettle them in any country where they will be safe. Accommodating their desire to settle in any specific country is a secondary matter. The fact that that these people have spurned resettlement offers to Cambodia, and insist the only place they will go is Australia inevitably casts a shadow over their motives. They may well be refugees, but the opportunity to improve their lifestyles at the same time seems very high on their collective agenda.

                      In the event of war or upheaval that does affect entire groups of people, there is every good reason to find ways to temporarily resettle and protect them until they can be returned to their native land. But enabling permanent mass migration to another country is a tough ask for any host nation. It may well fall under the concept of asylum, it may well be humane and compassionate … but ultimately there will be a domestic backlash if the process is seen, or feared to be spirally out of control.

                      That both Howard and Abbott were able to exploit this to their own political advantage was of course deplorable; but there is an object lesson in it for NZ to observe. Ask Winston.

            • mauī

              Weren’t historical white settlers of Australia and New Zealand also committing a crime too? Can we really judge? It’s not like my ancestors got permission to come here or anything. Maybe they had permission from the Queen I guess. In this context I can’t see how the current situation is much different.

              The other similarity is that many kiwis/aussies are from economic migrant stock aren’t they.

              Personally I would like it if New Zealand maintained a small population so we don’t wreck the country. But having to defend your borders to do it seems crazy, a huge waste of money and human cost as you’re essentially at war.

              • RedLogix

                You are right in a moral sense. But that was almost 200 years ago, and how far back in history do you want to go to redress all the wrongs inflicted by one tribe upon another?

                But in terms of addressing the modern world, the open borders our ancestors enjoyed are no longer possible. Or at least not in our current context. I can imagine some more distant, ideal future when this might be possible, but not now. Or maybe even this hope is futile, maybe the billions of dispossessed and desperate will just arrive anyway and there will be nothing we can do. You are right, we cannot morally wage war on them, but neither could we be oblivious to their sheer numbers.

                Again, most people just want a quiet life, most people love the land they grew up in and the last thing they really want is to uproot themselves and start over in a strange place. But two things we cannot ignore; gross global inequalities and an internet which cast this in a harsh relief to anyone connected to it.

                Manus Is is a mere prelude to something much larger.

        • marty mars

          No mate the people s.mugglers are a result not a cause. A cause would be the economuc system that some have grown fat on whilst others struggle and suffer. Or perhaps the western insatiable need for trinkets and toys which cost other countries their forests and land and water and air. Or maybe the weaponary sold to the poor and their governments or the child slave labour to produce fake sneakers – no. The blame is set fairly on us. Pity some won’t try and help people seeing as how we have caused it in many ways.

          • RedLogix

            I’m mostly on the same page with that marty. But just ‘blaming us’ isn’t going to fix much. My fuller answer is above to gw at 10:46

        • OnceWasTim

          Jesus RedL, I don’t know where to begin – others have picked up on the spin and inaccuracies better than I can in response. (greyw, McFlock , etc).
          Wonderful spin you’ve managed to put on it all with your interpretation of the PNG supreme court decision, the way they ‘made themselves’ victims, etc, etc.

          I think One Nation are looking for a few candidates at the mo!
          You’d have to renounce the privilege of your citizenship though.

      • greywarshark 3.1.2

        It’s like the stupid slogans thrown around after gun murders about whether it is the guns or the people who are responsible. And what is actually happening and needs attention is sidelined.

        Fancy Jacinda coming out with that ‘people smugglers/boat operators blame’. They are just behaving like we do in NZ when there is illicit money and opportunity around. We have seized the day and the opportunity to enrich ourselves. All countries and people do things not good, but hey if there’s money in it, there is temptation and the rich fall for it as well as the strugglers.

        The refugees are desperate, they have money to pay for sea transport. The final solution (the word solution has a sinister ring whether it is the Aussie or Pacific solution) is to take the money and get rid of them. A sweet-and-sour deal for the Indonesians or whoever is closest to Australia.

    • mickysavage 3.2

      I agree that the PNG Supreme Court ruled that the camp was in breach of the inhabitants human rights. I have read that they inhabitants do not want to move because of safety concerns.

      As far as I am aware there is no court imposed timeline for closing the camp.

      • RedLogix 3.2.1

        I find that an odd answer. Surely Courts are not in the habit of allowing their rulings to be complied with entirely at leisure?

        It would have better if these people had been more concerned about their safety before they got on those boats. Besides some 77 others seem to have taken up the offer to leave without any reported problems so far.

        • mickysavage

          And I am finding your critisism odd. The Supreme Court decision says that the whole setup was illegal. I did not think about the decision when I read the post but have had a read through what I can find of it. The original decision said “[b]oth the Australian and Papua New Guinea governments shall forthwith take all steps necessary to cease and prevent the continued unconstitutional and illegal detention of the asylum seekers or transferees at the relocation centre on Manus Island and the continued breach of the asylum seekers or transferees constitutional and human rights”. This was back in March.

          You seem to be saying that allowing them to go elsewhere on Papua New Guinea fixes this breach. It doesn’t. Australia still has an obligation to process their refugee applications. Saying that they can remain on Papua New Guinea validates an arrangement that should never have been made.

          • RedLogix

            If you want to get technical, as I understand it Australia only has an obligation to process their refugee applications once they reach Australian territory. OK so I didn’t write the rules, but that’s how it is I think.

            Of course the Australians do know a great deal about these people, they have had them in detention for a considerable period after all, and have concluded (and I we can only take their word for this) that these people are ‘economic migrants’. Just claiming you are frightened to return to your home country is not really good enough when it comes to legal procedure. Such a claim has to be scrutinised and tested, and apparently most would fail.

            Of course the Australians never wanted these people to arrive illegally and had every right to try and prevent them from doing so. Logically the boats should have been turned back to their port of departure at Indonesia, but they would not take them back either.

            But my real criticism lies with your OP, where is implies by my reading, that the Australians have abandoned these refugees in a prison camp they cannot leave with no food or water. That simply is not true.

            • mickysavage

              The residents have major fears of leaving. They have been left with no food or water. If the US was going to take them why shut things off now? Why not wait for the decision to be made?

              • RedLogix

                Because PNG wants them out of the detention camp they are in, and into the open transition camps PNG have ready for them. What you need to say out loud, is these people are not in any sense trapped in this now closed facility with no food or water, they are refusing to leave.

                • mickysavage

                  They are afraid to leave. They are living in this particular hell hole. The US of A is meant to take them. Why upset them by making them leave?

          • Gabby

            Why is it important that they go to Australia? They’ve escaped the oppression from which they fled.

    • greywarshark 3.3

      Red L
      There is an important follow-on from the above. And that is explaining why each of those actions and reactions happened. Some context is necessary for understanding, not simple rebuttal of criticism of Australia or indeed PNG.

      • RedLogix 3.3.1

        Indeed. The editorial is clearly written more in sorrow than anger. Everyone here wishes this never happened; and much of the blame for that must lie with Kevin Rudd.

    • DH 3.4

      So what are their future options RedLogix? Have they been offered permanent residency in PNG or is the new situation temporary as well?

      • RedLogix 3.4.1

        As far as I am aware only three countries have offered a place for them. Cambodia where all but one has refused to go; the USA under the Obama Administration and an offer that Trump has put into doubt, and NZ who has offered places for only 150 of them.

        Otherwise the only other practical option is a UN Refugee program, but I’ve no idea what the status of this option is either. PNG will house them temporarily in transition as refugees, but I don’t think even they want to offer them residency. And I doubt such an offer would get a better reception than Cambodia’s.

        I’m not trying to defend any of this mess; just pointing out that it’s not the black and white issue some people here want to make it out as. It’s a complex muddle of global issues, tensions with Indonesia, ugly domestic politics, and criminals making huge profits from desperate people who took a gamble and lost. Shitty all round, but I don’t imagine for one second NZ would have handled it any better than Australia.

        • DH

          Thanks. I’m staying out of the debate, it has no ‘right’ ending, but what you’ve said here has resonated. It wasn’t that long ago we were up in arms over all the refugees drowning en-route to Aus, at least that has pretty much ceased. I don’t agree with Turnbull’s assertion that granting residency after a 3-4yr wait in a bumhole camp will tempt the smugglers to start up again but it has to be said this isn’t a simple black and white picture here.

  4. Zorb6 4

    Ardern’s response was the correct one.Turnbull has a point about rewarding this type of behaviour.This Govt has plenty of business to attend to without this distraction.

  5. Cinny 5

    NZer’s are being dicks as well. They had a poll on newshub this morning re refugees, the majority of people who responded to the poll do not want these refugees.

    For all those that say ‘we need to do more to help our own people’, ask yourself, what are you doing to help ‘our own people’, chances are most people who think like that aren’t doing much for anyone except themselves.

    Rant over

    Proud of our PM and it’s a beautiful day out there.

    • gsays 5.1

      To be fair cinny, the poll respondents were of the folk who choose to watch/read/listen to newshub’s product.

      Unfortunately these folk get to vote as well.

      • Cinny 5.1.1

        Thats a darn good point G. It was like a wtf moment, are kiwis really that selfish, turns out the newshubAM listeners/viewers are.
        Even after the wonderful Aziz (?) explained that he was a refugee, and what himself and his family went through, even after his touching truthful story, the poll remained the same.

    • greywarshark 5.2

      Rhanks Cinny
      We need to remind ourselves and be thankful for what we have got this day – a beautiful day and a potentially great PM. But being great is hard work, so all the best Jacinda with your greatness, try harder.

      • Cinny 5.2.1

        So looking forward to tomorrow, 2pm, Parliament is back on, this political junkie has been missing it.

  6. Wayne 6


    Manus Island was not the most important issue at this meeting.

    The upcoming APEC talks and TPP were almost certainly the biggest things that would have occupied the two leaders. Also this will be the first time the PM meets Trump, and as we know Turnbull has his own issues with him. So I am sure they would have talked about the best way to deal with him, given the importance of the US in the Asia Pacific region. Plus the continuing rise of China, especially following the 5 year congress. And Abe has increased his power base.

    So lots of changing realities, all of which are more important to New Zealand’s future.

    • Stating the obvious for cred – lol – wow, did you write down their briefing notes

    • Chris 6.2

      Another hateful right wing idiot putting a monetary price on human lives. Such a fuckwit.

      • Wayne 6.2.1

        Chris and DoublePlusGood

        You are obviously talking about the Prime Minister because it was her meeting.

        She didn’t go beyond the 150 that New Zealand had already offered to take.

        • Chris

          I was referring specifically to this part of your comment:

          “Manus Island was not the most important issue at this meeting.

          The upcoming APEC talks and TPP were almost certainly the biggest things that would have occupied the two leaders…”

          That’s your spin on what was more important to Ardern. A childish attempt at deflection common to those of your ilk. Watching you pontificate on national television really is quite painful, by the way.

    • DoublePlusGood 6.3

      Sad that you care more about economics than human rights

  7. Antoine 7

    I appreciate Ardern’s desire to speak out on behalf of the powerless, but I hope we come out of this with a functional relationship between the two Governments. We need a lot of favours from Australia…

    • Sabine 7.1

      We do?

      Which favours from OZ do we need?

      • Antoine 7.1.1

        We want better treatment for New Zealanders who live there.

        • Sabine

          we could get this by treating Australians here the same.

          We really don’t have to continue that drop roll over game National started on that particular item of your list.

          what ‘favours’ do we need?

          • Antoine

            > we could get this by treating Australians here the same

            We could not. We need them more than they need us.

            (Edit: because the % of NZers living in Aussie is much higher than the % of Aussies living in NZ)


            • Draco T Bastard

              We need them more than they need us.


              And then there’s the obvious. If the NZers living is Aus are having such a hard time but don’t want to return to NZ then why don’t they become Australians?

                • Yep, they’re being ripped off. No doubt about it. Perhaps they should take the hint that Australia just doesn’t want them.

                  NZ really can’t do much about that except put in place the exact same rules for Australians as Australia has for NZers. And even doing that won’t change anything – the Australian government will still continue shafting immigrants. I thought that was obvious by now as they’ve been doing it for a long time.

                  My two youngest sisters are Australian but my parents had to move on to NZ after Australia changed the immigration rules. And that was back in the 1960s.

                  • Antoine

                    > NZ really can’t do much about that except put in place the exact same rules for Australians as Australia has for NZers.

                    That would be counter productive IMO, it would lead to a ‘tit for tat’ exchange


                    • DoublePlusGood

                      Eh, just do it to members of the government – doesn’t harm your average australian, pisses off their government

                    • Antoine

                      > pisses off their government

                      Can you see that pissing them off might not be the best way of persuading them to do what we want?


                    • So, we should just roll over and take whatever Australia dishes out and not stand up for ourselves?

                      And if we put in p;ace the exact same rules for Australians immigrating to NZ as they have for NZers going to Aus then they really can’t complain now, can they?

                    • Chris

                      It wouldn’t be tit-for-tat. It’d be adapting to reflect the nature of the relationship, which by the way isn’t *special* anymore.

                      People opposed to treating Australians the same as they treat us seem to think there’s still a chance the Australian government “will see sense”. They’re holding out for things to improve. Well, they’re never going to improve for as long as Australia knows it can treat NZers like crap without any repercutions.

                      Unfortunately, the only way things might change is when there are cases of Australian families who’ve made NZ their home getting ripped apart through deportation. Harsh, I know, but it’s the only way things might change.

                      As for other things like restricting health care and welfare for Australians, Ardern and Peters should just do this.

                    • Gabby

                      it would lead to a ‘tit for tat’ exchange if the ockers felt they had to stay one up on us, otherwise, one tit, one tat and we’re even. They wouldn’t feel they had to stay one up on us, would they?

                    • Antoine

                      @Gabby What are the odds of Aussies being bloody minded?


  8. But it is strange that a right wing Government, who normally talk about the rule of law as if it is a given, should violate its legal obligations in such a clear and calculating way.

    No it’s not. How else do you think they justify avoiding paying the taxes that they legally owe?

    They’ll look for a loophole and this one’s clear: …who present themselves at Australia’s boarder.

    The refugees are not making it to the border and so Australia doesn’t have any legal obligations.

  9. Whispering Kate 9

    Personally I think we need to begin a slow withdrawal from our relationship with Australia. Frankly Australia is becoming a rogue state – treating whoever they want with contempt. They treat their own indigenous people shamefully which for the 21st century is unexcusable from a supposedly civilised society. They do not accept gay marriage and treat our own people over there with insults daily. They can’t even be sportsmen when they play us and will live forever as being under arm bowlers – what do you expect from them, they are a nasty lot.

    We need to step up and have as little to do with them as possible, they taint us with their disgraceful behaviour. I have it on good authority from a family member who has lived for there on the Gold Coast for years that they are bloody lazy workers and prejudiced as well. I say good riddance to them. I often wonder why they are absolutely so different from us – so full of themselves for god knows why. We have stood up to greater powers than them in the past and didn’t we feel good about it. We can do it again.

    • greywarshark 9.2

      Yes that underam bowling – it just epitomises the Aussie attitude. It’s getting what you want using the best methods available to you at the time.

      We are being treated like Mexico is by the USA. Oz has long been even more drawn to their style of ruling than our pollies. Extreme conditions build hard people and as times get tougher there the people will get worse, and any pollies with values will just be sacrificed in their parliamentary house in various rituals meant to demoralise them. So we need to be prepared for it.

      We opened up our systems to embrace CER whatever that is. We forget. But it doesn’t seem to give us much, and left us with Oz as our No.1 trading partner. What do we get out of it besides inflated house prices underwritten by the Scarlet Banks’ profits.

      Apparently many in Oz don’t know what ANZAC means. They have moved on and embraced neo lib completely, and we are an externality.

  10. Keith 10

    What do deprived, homeless or badly housed Kiwis think of our magnanimous government’s gesture to take in and support these refugees?

    We have so many pressing, serious needs for our own people, right here, right now that saving the world takes a back seat to getting our own house in order I would have thought!

    • McFlock 10.1

      Actually, it would be better to do both.

      And this isn’t a systemic issue, like poverty. Manus Island is a one-off.

    • greywarshark 10.2

      I thought I read this a few days ago. Perhaps you are repeating it, or someone else thought it too.

      Unfortunately we are not Fortress NZ. Or perhaps fortunately. It’s impossible to think on the spot about whether we would have been better off to never engage much with the world at all, not trade overseas much, and not send trained military forces overseas, etc. But – we did, and we are involved with the world.

      If we want to respect ourselves as decent human beings, we can’t always turn away from difficulties and mumble that we’re too small, we can’t afford it, we don’t want to know, it’s not our fault and why should we have to care if everybody else isn’t rushing in to do something. Which is our regular approach. And that is with those things that we deign to pay attention to. Thousands of things happen while we are too busy filling our lives with alternatives to thought.

      FFS stop moaning, we won’t have the moral standing to ask for things to be attended to here if we don’t care about fellow human beings elsewhere…sometimes. And when we need help from overseas, can we demand it then? Would we get it from Australia I wonder? Probably I think, at a price though.

      We need to care for and help our NZ people, yes. Unfortunately the same people who have hurt thee refugees so much that they have desperately fled their own lands, are present in our society and close connections. But we have a better chance of surviving their malpractice than the detained on Manus Island. They feel so unsafe they are desperate to find help. We are better off, with all our problems than those poor people.

      As Shakespeare had one of his characters say:

      Hath not [any man or woman] hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as [anyone] is?
      If you prick us, do we not bleed?

      • Keith 10.2.1

        For those here without a stable roof over their heads who wonder how they are going to get through next week I am sure their hearts will be warmed while those from Manus Island will have immediate accommodation and assistance.

        We are no longer first world!

        • Cinny

          We are no longer a first world, correct, but we have a future.

          Not into a divisive narrative determined by who is suffering the most, that solves nada.

  11. Delia 11

    It is all noise Malcolm is happy to leave them there with some future ‘plan’ that the USA will gradually transport the 600 to the USA…like sure they will, in 2030. It is cynical. Jacinda should go to the United Nations and get them to do their job by telling the PNG govt that NZ is coming to collect the 150 people (with any conditions NZ allows) to expediate the situation.

  12. greywarshark 12

    If you are speaking from the position of knowing first hand about the conditions people are suffering in NZ you will feel that pain of knowing that we are not in the first world, and sinking. With yawning gaps between upper and lower classes.
    It’s disgraceful and not what I ever imagined that I might see in NZ.

    But we are in a position to improve things here. And still have obligations to people elsewhere who are caught in the coils of vicious and callous self-seeking pollies and there funders and mates. A decent country does what it can, it tries. Australia is not a decent country, and we are going downhill. We must pull out even our loose change and do something for these poor people with nothing. We know already what can happen to people with more opportunities – news this morning said that there were 6 suicides of Otago University students.
    ‘ But after a bad year in which there were at least six suicides in the wider campus area, Otago University is trying a range of new responses.’

    So those who can get to uni are suffering, those who can’t get that far are suffering. And too many of us are in this soup, it’s everywhere. We have to hang together or assuredly we will hang separately. And humans are under attack and despised by others – the curiosity and triumphs of robot devisers. The machine mad are diminishing the world we live in.

    How does that help needy people here – you would say. Well first it is a help to realise the width of the problem, and that others are trying to find ways to help, both here and overseas. If something positive even small, can be done by helpers or the struggler, gradually things can improve. Larger things can help – like a change of government. Keep watching, and asking.

  13. jimekus 13

    “Deliberately shutting off power and water and stopping the supply of food to the inhabitants”

    Sounds like it’s straight out of the Apartheid State’s current training manual which is being actively marketed around the globe..

  14. Sparky 14

    I guess as someone with dual citizenship I’d make the point its not “Australia” its the “Australian government”. A small group of people whose attitudes I’m guessing are not indicative of the attitudes of all Australians (myself included).

    The average Aussie has no more control over their pollies than we do over ours. If we did I would not expect a supposedly left leaning government to back the TPP deals……

  15. David Mac 15

    I’d rather the refugees we welcome didn’t have the desire or funds to pay exorbitant fees to criminal smugglers.

    Whatever the Western world does, it’s a token effort. There are 6 billion people in the world living on less than $2 a day.

    Eventually, with the exception of submarining nations, we will need to help the 6 billion where they live.

    Maybe the Manus island boys can be dropped back home. Teach them to skydive and a military transport plane can fly them home. They can keep the chute, give them $2000 re-integration money and they can choose the homelands field they wish to land in.

    We need to help them where they live. Training and educating 1000’s and sending them home to spread their wisdom is the path to helping millions find a life that they don’t wish to abandon.

  16. Tanz 16

    Good call, Australia. We don’t know enough about these refugees. We need to take in refugees who go through due process. (possibly I may be banned again, lol).
    National would not have made such an irresponsible call, they are more responsible. They are still the preferred govt too, latest Roy Morgan poll. And where is Winston now? Gone to ground it seems, now that he has his baubles. Australia made the right call.

  17. OnceWasTim 17

    “Get all that? Turnbull said that the Manus Island residents did not present any threat to Australia, they were economic refugees. ”

    Yep, I get all that. As I’ve mentioned on other posts in comments – they’re not unlike NZ and Australian refugees – those that cross the Tasman, or to Mother England, the You Ess of Aye? or the UAE in search of better prospects.
    Or even those from Mother England whose currency is worth more than NZ$ who want to retire to a better lifestyle and mansion.
    Except in this case it’s worse – most have been declared ‘genuine’ refugees escaping various forms of persecution, only to be persecuted further.
    Geeze those Aussies are so tough eh? I wish I could be like them (/sarc)

  18. David Mac 18

    A gang of Somalian pirates, their respective whanau and a Shanghai’d crew running a 150 metre long container ship up onto Matauri Bay would probably be the lead news story that night.

  19. Ian 19

    China will take them. They are now the biggest donor to Papua . Problem solved

    • David Mac 19.1

      The internet has enabled those in the most dire of circumstances to window shop the reception they may receive around the globe. Nobody is racing to scratch plastic bottles out of a Chinese dump.

      Who can blame them, we shoot through to Aussie for an extra $20 an hour, what lengths would we stretch to for a doctor, roof, child with a full belly?

  20. rhinocrates 20

    Some people need to be reminded that being a colossal dick won’t give you one.

  21. Angel Fish 21

    Not wanting to incentivize smugglers and more “refugees” from trying to illegally migrate makes perfect sense. However, keeping them detained there for so long doesn’t make any sense. They should be returned back to the country of their origin.

  22. Joseph Levonian 22

    Australia is not a dick!
    A dick is a good thing.
    It is not judgemental, welcomes all (especially after a few drinks) and helps make the world a happier place for many.

    May I suggest that we launch a complaints commission to investigate this misuse of the word ‘dick’ and find a better alternative so as to exonerate the appendage that has innocently been portrayed as a politician!

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    Recreational catch limits will be reduced in areas of Fiordland and the Chatham Islands to help keep those fisheries healthy and sustainable, Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones says. The lower recreational daily catch limits for a range of finfish and shellfish species caught in the Fiordland Marine Area and ...
    15 hours ago
  • Minister welcomes hydrogen milestone
    Energy Minister Simeon Brown has welcomed an important milestone in New Zealand’s hydrogen future, with the opening of the country’s first network of hydrogen refuelling stations in Wiri. “I want to congratulate the team at Hiringa Energy and its partners K one W one (K1W1), Mitsui & Co New Zealand ...
    1 day ago
  • Urgent changes to system through first RMA Amendment Bill
    The coalition Government is delivering on its commitment to improve resource management laws and give greater certainty to consent applicants, with a Bill to amend the Resource Management Act (RMA) expected to be introduced to Parliament next month. RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop has today outlined the first RMA Amendment ...
    2 days ago
  • Overseas decommissioning models considered
    Overseas models for regulating the oil and gas sector, including their decommissioning regimes, are being carefully scrutinised as a potential template for New Zealand’s own sector, Resources Minister Shane Jones says. The Coalition Government is focused on rebuilding investor confidence in New Zealand’s energy sector as it looks to strengthen ...
    2 days ago
  • Release of North Island Severe Weather Event Inquiry
    Emergency Management and Recovery Minister Mark Mitchell has today released the Report of the Government Inquiry into the response to the North Island Severe Weather Events. “The report shows that New Zealand’s emergency management system is not fit-for-purpose and there are some significant gaps we need to address,” Mr Mitchell ...
    2 days ago
  • Justice Minister to attend Human Rights Council
    Justice Minister Paul Goldsmith is today travelling to Europe where he’ll update the United Nations Human Rights Council on the Government’s work to restore law and order.  “Attending the Universal Periodic Review in Geneva provides us with an opportunity to present New Zealand’s human rights progress, priorities, and challenges, while ...
    2 days ago
  • Patterson reopens world’s largest wool scouring facility
    Associate Agriculture Minister, Mark Patterson, formally reopened the world’s largest wool processing facility today in Awatoto, Napier, following a $50 million rebuild and refurbishment project. “The reopening of this facility will significantly lift the economic opportunities available to New Zealand’s wool sector, which already accounts for 20 per cent of ...
    2 days ago
  • Speech to the Southland Otago Regional Engineering Collective Summit, 18 April 2024
    Hon Andrew Bayly, Minister for Small Business and Manufacturing  At the Southland Otago Regional Engineering Collective (SOREC) Summit, 18 April, Dunedin    Ngā mihi nui, Ko Andrew Bayly aho, Ko Whanganui aho    Good Afternoon and thank you for inviting me to open your summit today.    I am delighted ...
    2 days ago
  • Government to introduce revised Three Strikes law
    The Government is delivering on its commitment to bring back the Three Strikes legislation, Associate Justice Minister Nicole McKee announced today. “Our Government is committed to restoring law and order and enforcing appropriate consequences on criminals. We are making it clear that repeat serious violent or sexual offending is not ...
    2 days ago
  • New diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has today announced four new diplomatic appointments for New Zealand’s overseas missions.   “Our diplomats have a vital role in maintaining and protecting New Zealand’s interests around the world,” Mr Peters says.    “I am pleased to announce the appointment of these senior diplomats from the ...
    2 days ago
  • Humanitarian support for Ethiopia and Somalia
    New Zealand is contributing NZ$7 million to support communities affected by severe food insecurity and other urgent humanitarian needs in Ethiopia and Somalia, Foreign Minister Rt Hon Winston Peters announced today.   “Over 21 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance across Ethiopia, with a further 6.9 million people ...
    2 days ago
  • Arts Minister congratulates Mataaho Collective
    Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Paul Goldsmith is congratulating Mataaho Collective for winning the Golden Lion for best participant in the main exhibition at the Venice Biennale. "Congratulations to the Mataaho Collective for winning one of the world's most prestigious art prizes at the Venice Biennale.  “It is good ...
    3 days ago
  • Supporting better financial outcomes for Kiwis
    The Government is reforming financial services to improve access to home loans and other lending, and strengthen customer protections, Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Andrew Bayly and Housing Minister Chris Bishop announced today. “Our coalition Government is committed to rebuilding the economy and making life simpler by cutting red tape. We are ...
    4 days ago
  • Trade relationship with China remains strong
    “China remains a strong commercial opportunity for Kiwi exporters as Chinese businesses and consumers continue to value our high-quality safe produce,” Trade and Agriculture Minister Todd McClay says.   Mr McClay has returned to New Zealand following visits to Beijing, Harbin and Shanghai where he met ministers, governors and mayors and engaged in trade and agricultural events with the New ...
    4 days ago
  • PM’s South East Asia mission does the business
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon has completed a successful trip to Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines, deepening relationships and capitalising on opportunities. Mr Luxon was accompanied by a business delegation and says the choice of countries represents the priority the New Zealand Government places on South East Asia, and our relationships in ...
    5 days ago
  • $41m to support clean energy in South East Asia
    New Zealand is demonstrating its commitment to reducing global greenhouse emissions, and supporting clean energy transition in South East Asia, through a contribution of NZ$41 million (US$25 million) in climate finance to the Asian Development Bank (ADB)-led Energy Transition Mechanism (ETM). Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Climate Change Minister Simon Watts announced ...
    5 days ago
  • Minister releases Fast-track stakeholder list
    The Government is today releasing a list of organisations who received letters about the Fast-track applications process, says RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop. “Recently Ministers and agencies have received a series of OIA requests for a list of organisations to whom I wrote with information on applying to have a ...
    5 days ago
  • Judicial appointments announced
    Attorney-General Judith Collins today announced the appointment of Wellington Barrister David Jonathan Boldt as a Judge of the High Court, and the Honourable Justice Matthew Palmer as a Judge of the Court of Appeal. Justice Boldt graduated with an LLB from Victoria University of Wellington in 1990, and also holds ...
    5 days ago
  • Education Minister heads to major teaching summit in Singapore
    Education Minister Erica Stanford will lead the New Zealand delegation at the 2024 International Summit on the Teaching Profession (ISTP) held in Singapore. The delegation includes representatives from the Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) Te Wehengarua and the New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI) Te Riu Roa.  The summit is co-hosted ...
    5 days ago
  • Value of stopbank project proven during cyclone
    A stopbank upgrade project in Tairawhiti partly funded by the Government has increased flood resilience for around 7000ha of residential and horticultural land so far, Regional Development Minister Shane Jones says. Mr Jones today attended a dawn service in Gisborne to mark the end of the first stage of the ...
    5 days ago
  • Anzac commemorations, Türkiye relationship focus of visit
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters will represent the Government at Anzac Day commemorations on the Gallipoli Peninsula next week and engage with senior representatives of the Turkish government in Istanbul.    “The Gallipoli campaign is a defining event in our history. It will be a privilege to share the occasion ...
    6 days ago
  • Minister to Europe for OECD meeting, Anzac Day
    Science, Innovation and Technology and Defence Minister Judith Collins will next week attend the OECD Science and Technology Ministerial conference in Paris and Anzac Day commemorations in Belgium. “Science, innovation and technology have a major role to play in rebuilding our economy and achieving better health, environmental and social outcomes ...
    6 days ago
  • Comprehensive Partnership the goal for NZ and the Philippines
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon held a bilateral meeting today with the President of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos Jr.  The Prime Minister was accompanied by MP Paulo Garcia, the first Filipino to be elected to a legislature outside the Philippines. During today’s meeting, Prime Minister Luxon and President Marcos Jr discussed opportunities to ...
    6 days ago
  • Government commits $20m to Westport flood protection
    The Government has announced that $20 million in funding will be made available to Westport to fund much needed flood protection around the town. This measure will significantly improve the resilience of the community, says Local Government Minister Simeon Brown. “The Westport community has already been allocated almost $3 million ...
    6 days ago
  • Taupō takes pole position
    The Government is proud to support the first ever Repco Supercars Championship event in Taupō as up to 70,000 motorsport fans attend the Taupō International Motorsport Park this weekend, says Economic Development Minister Melissa Lee. “Anticipation for the ITM Taupō Super400 is huge, with tickets and accommodation selling out weeks ...
    6 days ago
  • Cost of living support for low-income homeowners
    Local Government Minister Simeon Brown has announced an increase to the Rates Rebate Scheme, putting money back into the pockets of low-income homeowners.  “The coalition Government is committed to bringing down the cost of living for New Zealanders. That includes targeted support for those Kiwis who are doing things tough, such ...
    6 days ago
  • Government backing mussel spat project
    The Coalition Government is investing in a project to boost survival rates of New Zealand mussels and grow the industry, Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones has announced. “This project seeks to increase the resilience of our mussels and significantly boost the sector’s productivity,” Mr Jones says. “The project - ...
    6 days ago
  • Government focused on getting people into work
    Benefit figures released today underscore the importance of the Government’s plan to rebuild the economy and have 50,000 fewer people on Jobseeker Support, Social Development and Employment Minister Louise Upston says. “Benefit numbers are still significantly higher than when National was last in government, when there was about 70,000 fewer ...
    7 days ago
  • Clean energy key driver to reducing emissions
    The Government’s commitment to doubling New Zealand’s renewable energy capacity is backed by new data showing that clean energy has helped the country reach its lowest annual gross emissions since 1999, Climate Change Minister Simon Watts says. New Zealand’s latest Greenhouse Gas Inventory (1990-2022) published today, shows gross emissions fell ...
    7 days ago
  • Earthquake-prone buildings review brought forward
    The Government is bringing the earthquake-prone building review forward, with work to start immediately, and extending the deadline for remediations by four years, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says. “Our Government is focused on rebuilding the economy. A key part of our plan is to cut red tape that ...
    7 days ago
  • Thailand and NZ to agree to Strategic Partnership
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and his Thai counterpart, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, have today agreed that New Zealand and the Kingdom of Thailand will upgrade the bilateral relationship to a Strategic Partnership by 2026. “New Zealand and Thailand have a lot to offer each other. We have a strong mutual desire to build ...
    1 week ago
  • Government consults on extending coastal permits for ports
    RMA Reform Minister Chris Bishop and Transport Minister Simeon Brown have today announced the Coalition Government’s intention to extend port coastal permits for a further 20 years, providing port operators with certainty to continue their operations. “The introduction of the Resource Management Act in 1991 required ports to obtain coastal ...
    1 week ago
  • Inflation coming down, but more work to do
    Today’s announcement that inflation is down to 4 per cent is encouraging news for Kiwis, but there is more work to be done - underlining the importance of the Government’s plan to get the economy back on track, acting Finance Minister Chris Bishop says. “Inflation is now at 4 per ...
    1 week ago
  • School attendance restored as a priority in health advice
    Refreshed health guidance released today will help parents and schools make informed decisions about whether their child needs to be in school, addressing one of the key issues affecting school attendance, says Associate Education Minister David Seymour. In recent years, consistently across all school terms, short-term illness or medical reasons ...
    1 week ago
  • Unnecessary bureaucracy cut in oceans sector
    Oceans and Fisheries Minister Shane Jones is streamlining high-level oceans management while maintaining a focus on supporting the sector’s role in the export-led recovery of the economy. “I am working to realise the untapped potential of our fishing and aquaculture sector. To achieve that we need to be smarter with ...
    1 week ago
  • Patterson promoting NZ’s wool sector at International Congress
    Associate Agriculture Minister Mark Patterson is speaking at the International Wool Textile Organisation Congress in Adelaide, promoting New Zealand wool, and outlining the coalition Government’s support for the revitalisation the sector.    "New Zealand’s wool exports reached $400 million in the year to 30 June 2023, and the coalition Government ...
    1 week ago
  • Removing red tape to help early learners thrive
    The Government is making legislative changes to make it easier for new early learning services to be established, and for existing services to operate, Associate Education Minister David Seymour says. The changes involve repealing the network approval provisions that apply when someone wants to establish a new early learning service, ...
    1 week ago
  • RMA changes to cut coal mining consent red tape
    Changes to the Resource Management Act will align consenting for coal mining to other forms of mining to reduce barriers that are holding back economic development, Resources Minister Shane Jones says. “The inconsistent treatment of coal mining compared with other extractive activities is burdensome red tape that fails to acknowledge ...
    1 week ago
  • McClay reaffirms strong NZ-China trade relationship
    Trade, Agriculture and Forestry Minister Todd McClay has concluded productive discussions with ministerial counterparts in Beijing today, in support of the New Zealand-China trade and economic relationship. “My meeting with Commerce Minister Wang Wentao reaffirmed the complementary nature of the bilateral trade relationship, with our Free Trade Agreement at its ...
    1 week ago

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