After leaving NZ to live in permanently Australia, Sonny Bill Williams, with his own ties to Islamic extremists, writes another opinion piece seeking to send NZ the Manus illegals. This has become a yearly event for him and continues the relentless push of the NZ media to being illegal extremists into this country. While SBW claims they have committed no crimes, he offers no evidence why they were illegally trying to enter other countries. The Manus Island saga appears to have been engineered especially to get violent political idealists in Western nations.
For me, New Zealand is home, and now the travel bubble with Australia is (mostly) open, it’s a great opportunity for my family and me to catch up with friends and loved ones.
This trip is more than that, though. I’m here because I want to raise awareness about a terrible situation going on not far from here, on Nauru and Papua New Guinea, where roughly 230 people – refugees and people seeking asylum – have been trapped for almost eight years by the Australian government.
These people have fled from danger and persecution in their home countries, seeking only safety in Australia. Almost eight years later – eight years! – they are still in limbo, with no idea what their futures hold.
Eight years is a long time, but New Zealand has consistently said the offer is still on the table. The ball is well and truly in Australia’s court, and with the US deal about to come to an end, what alternative does the Australian government have?
These have been challenging times. Covid-19 has wrenched families apart. Imagine what that is like for these people – eight years without seeing your family or friends, or perhaps meeting someone and starting a family.
For some who fled their dangerous homelands as young men and women, even boys and girls, an important part of their lives has been ripped away from them. They’ve lived in limbo year after year, waiting endlessly for a decision that’s never come.
After eight years, now is the time for kindness. The time for Scott Morrison to say: “Enough is enough. These people deserve better. They’ve suffered too much mental and physical anguish. Now is the time to accept the New Zealand offer.”
* Sonny Bill Williams is in New Zealand on behalf of Amnesty International Australia’s Game Over campaign, which seeks to get people trapped offshore in Australian detention centres to safety.