Michael Neilson needs correction

Michael Neilson's, unbalanced article 'Asylum changes horrifying' in the NZ Herald on 29 March, gives a woeful account of Australia's approach to illegal arrivals. As soon as our neighbour announced that 'boat people' would not be allowed onto the Australian mainland to claim asylum, the arrivals ended. These people attempted the crossing to Australia from Indonesia and further afield, in rickety craft and many perished. My question to Mr Neilson is: 'How much value do you put on a human life?' According to one university study, more than 1200 died, including women and children.

As far as the changes to the legislation that Neilson objects to, can I ask if he is aware that allowing detention of asylum seekers is a direct result of the Mohammad Samsudeen stabbings at Lynnmall.

Even though Samsudeen was a powder keg waiting to explode, the Court refused attempts to put him under lock and key, as the existing legislation did not permit it. The proposed changes will allow a dangerous asylum seeker to be kept away from the public.

What Neilson also fails to highlight, is the fact that Jacinda Ardern, as responsible minister, sat on her hands for three years while her department operatives tried to keep Samsudeen under surveillance. How many times did the SIS plead with her for a law change, so that Samsudeen could be kept in custody?

It is noteworthy that Ardern made her first comment on terrorist identity after the Christchurch mosque shootings when she declared that: ‘We’re looking in the wrong direction’. That is, white supremacy is the problem. All this while, she was likely being briefed weekly on Samsudeen, the risk he posed to New Zeaanders and the horrendous cost to her department.

The Lynnmall events shocked even her out of her smugness and the process began to provide the legislation that Neilson objects to.