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Labour and National MPs call on Ardern to create 'lifeline for vulnerable Hongkongers'

Labour's Louisa Wall and National's Simon O'Connor are calling on Jacinda Ardern to "consider the creation of a lifeline for young vulnerable Hongkongers".

Jacinda Ardern - file. Source: 1 NEWS

Hong Kong activist Nathan Law wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister - urging her to prioritise the creation of a lifeboat scheme "for vulnerable young Hongkongers who face political persecution and arbitrary arrest if they stay in the city". 

"As one of the overseas activist whose name was recently published on an international wanted list by the Hong Kong Government, I want to pass on my appreciation for your government's previous efforts in stand up for Hong Kong and the decision to suspend New Zealand's extradition treaty with Hong Kong. 

He urged Ardern to consider a scheme similar to that in Australia, where a five-year graduation visa was created to let Hong Kong students work in the country after graduating. 

"New Zealand has a long track-record of standing up against systematic violations of basic human rights," he wrote. 

A spokesperson for the Prime Minister said the letter was received and had been passed on to the Minister of Foreign Affairs for a response.

Winston Peters - File. Source: 1 NEWS

A spokesperson for Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters said he was not in charge of visas and was not able to make any decisions in the caretaker period.

In July China passed a controversial security law giving it new powers over Hong Kong. The law came into effect following more than a year of pro-democracy protests. It’s makes secession and subversion of China’s state power punishable by life in prison.

Wall and O'Connor are members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, which aims to 'help craft a proactive and strategic approach on issues related to the People’s Republic of China'.

They came out in support of Law's letter, saying, there were many young activists from Hong Kong "who have been involved in pro democracy protests over the last few years are vulnerable to the risk of arbitrary arrest, lengthy jail sentences, and even the possibility of extradition to the mainland if they stay in the city".

Earlier this month, it was announced 250 international PhD and postgraduate students will come under new border exemptions and be allowed to enter New Zealand to finish their study. 

"We cannot turn away from the crisis in Hong Kong and leave the question of offering refuge for vulnerable activists to others," Wall and O'Connor wrote. 

"In that spirit, we hope that you will consider Nathan’s appeal and make a life boat policy for young Hongkongers a policy of the Government."