At face value, John Key might look like a great humanitarian for considering the intake of 800-odd refugees that Australia wants to send off to Malaysia. The problem with the move is that he might be giving people smugglers the belief that NZ is an open door. This could be bad news for both:
1. Australia - because people will come to Australia with the expectation of ending up in NZ
2. New Zealand - it will be directly targeted by people smugglers knowing that the media news can be used to 'sell NZ' to prospective refugees.
Consider this - Afghanistan is a huge source of heroin; so might we see more sophisticated vessels bringing heroin and people to NZ, which is relatively lightly patrolled for refugees. NZ should be careful to avoid this can of worms. Of course both Australia and NZ are relatively isolated, however if resources from heroin trafficking were to enter into the people trafficking market, using GPS systems, there seems little reason why NZ could not be targeted.
The risk might be low. But it appears that Key is intent on helping to embarrass the Australian Labor Party. For NZ, it is a small number of people. A token gesture. But its not a trade I would so keen to entertain.
The problem with this issue is that Western countries should be doing more to secure political freedom in these countries so refugees are not compelled to engage in trade with people smugglers. The best way of doing that is adopting coherent political systems. John Key last night proved to me he is not about that. He is dangerously anti-ideological or pragmatic.