Service cutbacks for refugees arriving in NZ

Out of all the people that come to our shores, refugees and asylum seekers are the most vulnerable.  They often carry many scars- some visible, some less visible.  They often have seen and experienced horrific conditions.  So when they arrive, having willingly accepted them, New Zealand has an obligation to provide services and the care to deal with their unique predicament.

The recent cuts and contracting out of services provided to new refugees arriving in New Zealand is highly concerning.  The Government is cutting staff who are trained and experienced in dealing with the problems refugees have.

Services helping with resettlement, in the first few weeks, are vital to the success of long-term resettlement.  If issues such as war trauma, post traumatic stress disorder due to torture and rehabilitation are done poorly, it can result in affected people being unable to function properly in a new society. This flows through to education, social and employment prospects.

The National Government has shown the welfare and resettling refugees is second only to cost cutting. No consultation was undertaken about the cuts. Staff were told their jobs were going via a PowerPoint presentation.

Refugees come to New Zealand wanting to be active members of the community. They need help in the crucial resettlement period to ensure they can become functioning, contributing and productive members of society. The National Government might think they are saving costs, but really it’s a case of “penny wise, pound foolish”.

3 Comments Posted

  1. All part of a wave of anti-immigrant fever rolling over our shores from next door. It’s easy to be a bit racist in NZ, when we have the Australian Minister of Women’s Affairs to compare ourselves against. We can kid ourselves that we’re progressive by comparison to him.

    Pound foolish is exactly right, let alone morally bankrupt.

  2. Cost cutting, at what cost? Not only to them but to the successful settlement of peoples within the host communities. With the cutting of critical staffing numbers, there will no doubt be a flow on effect to the communities they will be settling into. The findings of the effects of change will not be known for some years. I can say that it won’t be all positive either. But, as they say, time will tell. You cannot take away essential services and expect to have the same robust result. Lets hope its the host communities who don’t reap the costs.

  3. I am shocked. Worked at Mangere Refugee reception centre from 1980 to 1990 and saw nothing but goodness coming from it. We took roughly 750 annually then and I understand we never increased the numbers. Shame on the government, especially its leader, whose own mother was a refugee from the Nazis.
    What has happened to New Zealand, where is our care for others? Money does not offer a shoulder to lean on, a friendly smile to the depressed, or assistance for those in pain. A kind heart brings joy and mercy to those in need. I repeat, shame on them.

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