Manus Island refugee Behrouz Boochani slammed Australia for its "hate speech" towards refugees when speaking to media in Christchurch today.
The writer, who spent six years fighting to seek asylum, arrived in New Zealand last night. He was welcomed to the country to speak about his story in person for the first time at WORD Christchurch next week.
"Australia, when they exiled us to Manus they always talk about us [refugees] in a way that we are dangerous people, we are rapist people, we are, you know, criminals, this kind of hate speech," he told media in Christchurch this morning.
Boochani also described democracy in Australia as "broken".
"I don't say that I understand Australia but I think I am with some kind of special understanding because I was in Manus for years and I was just looking at Australia.
"Our resistance was peaceful and we educated Australia," he said. "I think the ugly part of this thing is one side is a peaceful resistance and another side is the ugly part which is Australian Government.
"Australia says that "we are saving lives on the ocean", which is a big lie. They are torturing people, killing people and decided "oh we saved their lives".
"Now I think we are facing state terrorism in the world. There is unwritten agreement between the governments around the world to do crimes, and they are able to justify it."
Greens MP Golriz Ghahraman joined Boochani on his visit to Christchurch today. She also spoke about coming to New Zealand as a child refugee from Iran and called on Australia to shut down its immigration detention camps.
"Close the camps, let people seek asylum. They are unlawful, they amount to torture," she said. "The UN has told you that they amount to torture, Amnesty International has chronicled these atrocities.
"It's time that Australia acts as a good international citizen and does what's right."
Boochani said he was undecided about if and where he would seek asylum now that he's a free man, but he told media he hoped to extend his current visa in New Zealand.