The Quiet War on Asylum

The Quiet War on Asylum

Out of print

This eloquent and passionate work documents how we have strayed from a humane policy towards asylum seekers, following the same sad and discredited path as Australia.’ Joris de Bres, Race Relations Commissioner 2002-2013

Why would a country that has never had a boatload of asylum arrivals in modern history suddenly legislate for mass detention? Treading across the refugee camps of Burma and Thailand, to Australia’s detention centres and back to New Zealand, Tracey Barnett looks hard at this controversial new policy. She speaks to asylum seekers, refugees, NGO workers and migrants – people on the move and on the ground. Their lives and stories reveal a reality more complex than the political rhetoric, and one that questions how fair and ethical New Zealand really is on the world stage today.

What are BWB Texts?

BWB Texts are short books on big subjects by great New Zealand writers. Spanning contemporary issues, history and memoir, new BWB Texts are released regularly, and the series now amounts to well over fifty works.

All recently published BWB Texts can be purchased in print and digital formats using the ‘Buy’ or ‘Preorder’ buttons on this page. You can also subscribe to the series – a great gift idea! Find more information about subscription offers here.

For guidance on these purchase options please visit our Sales FAQs page or email us.

Print publication:
Ebook publication: Dec 2013
Pages: 132
RRP: $14.99
ISBN: 9781927277584
ISTC: A0220130000060F7
DOI: 10.7810/9781927247969

Search inside


Podcast of 'Above the Parapet', Auckland Libraries, November 2015

Tracey Barnett’s full submission to the Foreign Affairs, Defence & Trade Committee regarding the current situation for refugees in New Zealand, 10 September 2015 – listen here

'Tracey Barnett: Would you host a refugee?', Tracey Barnett, NZ Herald, 4 Sept 2015

'World Refugee Day and New Zealand's Quiet War on Asylum', Politics Personified, 17 June 2015

Mike McRoberts with Tracey Barnett on the Rohingya crisis, Three60, TV3, 24 May 2015 (forward to 22:45)

Mark Sainsbury on refugee issues, RadioLive, 24 May 2015, 10–11am

'We can and should take more refugees - Winston Peters', Duncan Garner talks with Tracey Barnett and Winston Peters, RadioLive, 20 May 2015

'Tracey Barnett on asylum seekers', with Wallace Chapman, Sunday Morning, Radio NZ National, 8 June 2014

Read 'Another mythical scare story about boat people coming to NZ', Keith Locke, The Daily Blog, 26 May 2014

Listen to Tracey talk to Mike Hosking on Newstalk ZB, 26 May 2014

Hear New Zealand's Immigration minister warn people smugglers on Radio NZ National, 26 May 2014

Read Tracey Barnett's op-ed in the Sunday Star Times

Watch an interview with Tracey on TV3 News


'With all the issues fighting for attention in an election year, asking people to read about New Zealand's policy on refugees would seem like a tough sell. But Barnett's essay-cum-polemic casts a valuable light on this obscure topic.’ Paul Little, North & South

'Tracey Barnett is an eloquent and passionate advocate for a return to a humane policy towards asylum seekers arriving by boat. The Quiet War on Asylum documents how we have strayed from that ideal and from compliance with the Refugee Convention, following the same sad and discredited path as Australia, even though no boat of asylum seekers has ever entered our waters. Thank you for publishing this excellent account.’ Joris de Bres, Race Relations Commissioner 2002-2013

'The Quiet War on Asylum is a moving, well-researched account that will make you sad, mad and appalled at the plight of refugees and the way governments in developed countries, who have the power to help, make the situations of refugees worse. Every politician or media person who has anything to say about immigration should be required to read this book. Highly recommended.' Amazon reviewer