Key strikes Refugee deal with Australia

It has been hinted at in advance, the meeting happened on the weekend, and the news is now confirmed:

via SMH

via SMH

We will take 150 boat people off Australia.

Every year.

Julia Gillard and New Zealand prime minister John Key announced the deal on Saturday and said the annual intake of refugees would form part of New Zealand’s annual quota of 750.  

They would replace refugees referred by the United Nations High Commission and be subject to Australia’s offshore processing legislation.

The announcement came after talks in Queenstown, New Zealand today. It mirrors a similar deal done between New Zealand and Australia in 2001 when former prime minister Helen Clark helped end a diplomatic standoff after a boatload of more than 450 refugees sank off Christmas Island. New Zealand agreed to resettle more than 130 of the asylum seekers after they were rescued by the Norwegian freighter, the Tampa.

In return, New Zealand has brokered some other deals under the CER (Closer Economic Relations) agreement.

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard appears to have finally made good on her losing Rugby World Cup bet with her New Zealand counterpart John Key.

Key confirmed that Gillard – who appears to have been dragging her heels on honouring the year-old bet – ate an apple over dinner at Queenstown, where the pair are holding their annual bilateral get together.

The two leaders had bet on the outcome of the All Blacks v Wallabies semi final during the Rugby World Cup. The loser had to eat an apple from the winner’s country.

Apples have been a long-standing sore point in the relationship after Australia only recently lifted a decades-old ban on New Zealand apple imports.

Oh, well.

That seems like a fair deal then…


Via:  Sydney Morning Herald

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