NZ yet to hear details of asylum solution
By Philippa McDonald in Auckland and staff
Updated Tue Jul 6, 2010 10:28pm AEST
New Zealand's prime minister John Key says he is hoping to meet Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard soon to discuss a regional solution to people smuggling.
Ms Gillard announced today the Government was negotiating with East Timor on setting up a centre to handle new boat arrivals before they reached Australian waters.
Mr Key says Ms Gillard has not yet given him details of how a joint approach to people smuggling or a regional processing centre would work, so he has made no promises regarding the extent of New Zealand's cooperation.
But he says a solution to people smuggling is in his country's interest.
“We acknowledge that New Zealand is a potential target so we can't just put our hands up in horror and pretend that it's not an issue from New Zealand's perspective,” he said.
However, Mr Key says however New Zealand is not open to increasing the 750 refugees it accepts each year.
Meanwhile, Immigration Minister Chris Evans has told The 7:30 Report the centre could take asylum seekers who are still in Indonesia, not just those taking boats to Australia.
“Potentially we'd be taking people from all countries in the region, all people who are involved in the process,” he said.
“This is – as I say – all about a regional solution.”
Video: Gillard bites bullet on asylum seekers (7.30 Report)
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