Paying people smugglers is pretty illegal Mr Key

The Green Party is asking the Prime Minister confirm whether he supports paying money to people smugglers, as the Australian Government has been accused of doing.

The Green Party is asking the Prime Minister confirm whether he supports paying money to people smugglers, as the Australian Government has been accused of doing.

“Tony Abbott is not ruling out whether payments were made however the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), has confirmed the payments after talking to passengers on the ship,” said Green Party immigration spokesperson Denise Roche.

“John Key now needs to unequivocally say whether he supports paying off people smugglers like the Australian Government has done.

“Both New Zealand and Australia are party to the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air which, under Article 2, require them to prevent people smuggling.

"Paying people smugglers is facilitating smuggling, and therefore illegal. John Key needs to clearly state that New Zealand does not support and would not make monetary or other payments to people smugglers.

“Despite what John Key says, there isn’t an argument both ways, there is only one legal way – which is you don’t pay smugglers; the other way is illegal and a breach of international law.

“Given New Zealand agencies may have been involved with tracking the boat, the National Government needs to be clear that New Zealand does not support payments that contravene international law.

“Not only does New Zealand have to condemn this practice, John Key needs to guarantee this is not a practice that our agencies will adopt,” said Ms Roche.

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