Prime Minister John Key’s admission today that he did not even ask his Australian counterpart to return Kiwis currently detained in off-shore detention centres to mainland Australia shows how little he tried to advocate for them when meeting Malcolm Turnbull this week.
Under questioning from Green Party human rights spokesperson Catherine Delahunty, the Prime Minister admitted he made very limited requests on behalf of detained New Zealanders and he also refused to rule out supporting Australia on their bid for the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
“It beggars belief that John Key didn’t ask for New Zealanders to be brought back to the mainland of Australia from off-shore detention centres when many have been held, apart from their families, for months,” said Ms Delahunty.
“John Key’s unwillingness to ask for the most basic protections for Kiwis detained or deported from Australia, including whether they had access to legal aid, makes him complicit in the violation of their human rights.
“John Key needs to rule out supporting Australia’s bid for the UNHRC until they rectify all of the 143 human rights abuses the Council has cited it for.
“A country that has been cited 143 times for breaches of human rights by the UNHRC should not get a seat on that very body.
“Despite John Key playing up his buddy-buddy relationship with Malcom Turnbull, he didn’t even ask for the basic rights of New Zealanders in detention and now it looks like New Zealand won’t be taking a stance against Australia on the UNHRC.
“New Zealanders need a Government and a Prime Minister prepared to do the right thing, and that includes advocating for the human rights of New Zealanders here and overseas,” Ms Delahunty said.