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New Zealand strikes refugee deal with Australia

Published on Feb 9, 2013 12:16 PM

WELLINGTON (AFP) - New Zealand is to accept 150 refugees a year from Australia, Prime Minister John Key said Saturday to ease pressure on Canberra which is grappling with a surge in boatpeople heading to the region.

Mr Key made the announcement at the end of talks with visiting Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard whose government last year faced a record number of more than 17,000 asylum-seekers arriving by boat.

"People smuggling has tragic consequences. It is a regional problem that requires regional cooperation," he said, adding Australia had assisted New Zealand in the past.

"There are boats that we can point to that were on their way to New Zealand where Australia has effectively taken those people."

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