There was a great opinion piece in the Dominion Post today by Murdoch Stephens, who leads a campaign calling for New Zealand to double its refugee quota. This is a campaign that I totally endorse and Murdoch makes all the arguments well. I recommend reading the piece.
Immigration is a multi-faceted issue. It encompasses global humanitarian responsibilities, post-colonial and regional obligations, as well as narrowly considered domestic interests in relation to skills shortages and business creation.
Murdoch has been lobbying for this for a few years now, joining ChangeMakers, the Auckland Refugee Council, Tracey Barnett, the Red Cross, the New Zealand Federation of Multicultural Councils and many others who have been working incredibly hard in a mostly voluntary capacity to protect the rights of refugees in New Zealand.
Sadly they have not been successful, and in fact policy and funding has significantly regressed. Despite deep sector and public concern, as well as New Zealand’s history of leadership in relation to human rights and refugees, Murdoch Stephens and others have struggled to even gain face-to-face access to the Minister.
We then learn this week that the Government has been more than willing to meet with wealthy migrants keen to discuss immigration policy, and has apparently received significant financial benefit from doing so.
It makes me look at the Government’s loosening up of access and criteria for wealthy applicants in a very different light.