Former immigration minister Rita Verdonk, who is now leader of the nationalist Trots op Nederland (TON) party, claims that the cost of the general amnesty for asylum seekers will cost the country €6bn over 20 years, reports Saturday’s Volkskrant.
The government, which granted the so-called general pardon when it came into power last year, has estimated that the cost of the pardon for 27,500 refugees is €485m up to 2009.
But Verdonk, who is currently an independent MP, claims this figure is based on unrealistic calculations.
‘If there had not been a general pardon, all sorts of taxes would have been unnecessary. Higher excise duties, the tax on plane tickets, increasingly higher council property taxes and tax on state pensions – none of these would have been needed if we had not granted that pardon. People should realise that,’ says Verdonk in an interview in the paper.
Meanwhile Verdonk’s party has fallen in popularity according to two recent opinion polls. The latest, by Maurice de Hond at the weekend, concludes that TON would win only 14 seats in parliament now compared to 18 a week ago.
The drop follows accusations by a former advisor on a tv programme that Verdonk is ‘unprincipled’ and ‘narcissistic’.
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