Doing our bit for refugees?

It honestly warms my heart to see the doing our bit campaign and facebook page created by Murdoch Stephens.

The campaign seeks to double New Zealand’s refugee quota and refugee funding so that the hard working people across New Zealand’s governmental and NGO services have the resources they need to get their job done.

My local gallery Pātaka will be hosting an exhibition of photos of refugees that Murdoch found while in Iran. You can see some of them on the website and they are the very heart of this call to do our bit, because these are people like you and I clearly reacting and responding to a situation they do not seem to understand.

The Green Party has a policy to increase the quota and increase settlement funding but it is not (yet) our policy to double the quota or funding.

I personally support the campaign because:
• It is the perfect antidote to the toxic subtext of the Immigration Amendment Bill that was beating up fear and distrust.
• It is honest that, despite the spin, New Zealand is not and has not been doing our bit globally.
• Doing our bit is something to be proud of
• It creates a space for people with a refugee background in New Zealand to be able to share their success stories
• It creates an opportunity for us all to (re)consider the role we play in this increasingly connected world.

I would just add that I also think we need to call on the government not to discriminate between quota refugees and those seeking refugee status after arriving in New Zealand as asylum seekers. The government currently seems to be creating a two tier system which provides some (not enough) legal and financial support to quota refugees and takes away resources from those who have had to seek asylum on our shores. This is not consistent with the refugee convention or the reality of world.

3 Comments Posted

  1. Josh
    Yes I have. Sadly this is not an isolated occurrence in my experience, I know of several similar families. For those true refugees, who have nothing and nowhere to go, I believe we should do everything possible to bring them to a better life here in godsown. However, if a family of five can afford airfares here for a visit, and subsequently claim refugee status does not arouse any sympathies in my heart.

  2. I would be prepared to support more resources for refugees if NZ had successfully reached the point where it was able to guarantee housing for it’s mentally ill. Unfortunately this is not the case.

    I have an ongoing battle to obtain housing for a family member and have been repeatedly told that no housing will be made available until all other family members have turned their back on the patient and they are living on the street.

    This is an utter disgrace and I do not support even a single refugee being brought into this country until our Mental Health Services pull finger and start providing adequately for the (broader) needs of patients – rather than pretending that a pill or injection is the sum total of the resources a patient needs.

  3. I’ll tautoko that, Jan! Looking forward to seeing you speak at our refugee-background speakers event and photograph exhibition at Victoria next month.

Comments are closed.