Shameful refugee quota increase still leaves NZ at the bottom of the list

Minister for Immigration Michael Woodhouse announced this week that the government will put off increasing the refugee quota to 1000 places until 2018.  It’s a shameful decision that undermines the Government’s claim that it takes its international humanitarian obligations seriously, right before we celebrate World Refugee Day on the 20th June.

The Green Party, like tens of thousands of ordinary Kiwis, churches and support services organisations, think we could do much better than that – especially since there are about 60 million displaced people in the world at the moment, the most since World War 2.

NZ’s refugee quota has remained at 750 places since 1987.  During the three decades since then, our population has increased by 43 percent.  As a result the number of refugees we take per capita has put us at the bottom of the range of countries taking them – at about 90th place.

The Minister constantly refutes this by saying that New Zealand’s ranking on refugee settlement is “7th in the world”, indulging in number-fudging and semantics to mislead the public.  His ranking is based on the Government’s insistence that there is a meaningful difference between ‘quota’ and ‘convention’ refugees. In many cases, however, people who fall into those two groups are fleeing the same desperate situation for the same reasons. We are taking refugees from Syria under our quota. Other countries are taking Syrian asylum seekers who arrive at the border as ‘convention refugees’. They all need protection, regardless of how they arrived.

By the Government’s calculation, New Zealand is doing better on resettlement than Germany, who were on course to accept one million refugees at the end of 2015.

The small increase in our quota will of course make a huge difference to those refugees who desperately need a safe haven.  But we could be doing so much more.  We could be more ambitious and double the quota to 1500 places.

As Murdoch Stephen’s from Doing Our Bit said in his opinion piece on Monday:

The campaign to double New Zealand’s refugee quota was never to become a world leader. It was just to lift ourselves off the bottom of the list. No-one argues we should match the Swedes and increase our quota 80-fold. We should just be doing our bit.

We agree.

About Denise Roche 161 Articles

Green Party MP

3 Comments Posted

  1. Well YOU employ these leaders? NZ. INCOMPETENT Governments have plagued the Earth for CENTURIES! Just LOOK at the trouble they CAUSE! How HARD is it to supply GOOD FOOD. HOUSING. HEALTH SERVICES. EDUCATION. RECREATION. HMMMMM NOT very hard is it. NOOO but NOTICE the CHAOS!!! YOU EMPLOY THEM PEOPLE!!! In fact NZ SHOULD be REAL EASY to run properly because of its SMALL population and GREAT WEALTH! Again NOTICE the CHAOS!!! HOW could anyone celebrate World Refugee Day. WHATS to celebrate??? WOW only 60 MILLION now. The VICTIMS PILE. The CRUEL SMILE. So i must say. as NZers shuffle to Gods DEATH. From CHAOS to CHAOS. YOU ONLY CHOOSE TO LOOSE! COULD have FUN BEAUTY LIFE. OOOOOPSE more suffering again IS IT NZ???

  2. A rolling long-term refugee-status should be offered in high-quantity, with our aim being to send them back to their home country, with the support of future aid projects, even a pre-project military interim. Only half joking as I say, “Refugees could have fields from bankrupt dairy farmers to use for permaculture.”

    These spiritual impulses where set in motion some hundreds of years ago. The consciousness rising is more influential than Islam. Active with and visualising positive change.

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