NZ Herald: Tracey Barnett: NZ can show what compassion looks like

Wait before you celebrate our new good look on the world stage with our humanitarian offer to take 150 of Australia’s refugees. Because you have to ask this first. For four years, what has New Zealand said about Australia literally selling human beings around our region, to lock them way, indefinitely, in poorer nations who need the cash?

How have we reacted seeing our closest cousins, ironically, becoming the human traffickers they so abhor, flashing political concessions to a host of countries in the Pacific rim, on-selling their human rights obligations, creating a new regional contagion? What has New Zealand said up until now? Not. One. Word.

Until our new Prime Minister spoke out recently and renewed the problematic 2013 Queenstown deal, we have let Australia get away with murder.

So, when did our silence become complicity? In the past, Australia has approached many countries to warehouse Australia’s asylum seekers, the Solomon Islands, Nuie, the Philippines, all unsuccessfully-before clinching cash offers with Manus, Nauru and Cambodia.

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