Immigration Bill Completes Committee Stage

by Desk Editor on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 — 8:56 PM

A bill allowing for the detention of large groups of asylum seekers has completed its committee stage with changes to increase the size from 10 to 30.

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said he had received many emails concerned that the Immigration Amendment Bill would be a breach of New Zealand international obligations.

The minister said the bill did comply and much of the criticism was overstated, such as Amnesty International’s complaint the bill allowed for unlimited detention.

Labour MP David Clark said the bill was “scurrilous’’ and was designed to distract from the Government’s political problems. He described the detention centre as the New Zealand equivalent of Guantanamo Bay.

This comment drew mocking laughs from the National benches.

The bill was reported with amendment and MPs began the committee stage of the Legal Assistance Amendment Bill.

Debate was interupted when the House rose shortly before 10pm.

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