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Humanitarian Initiative On Iraq

For immediate release

Humanitarian Initiative On Iraq

In response to the situation in Iraq, the Porirua City Council may increase its support to refugees.

Councillor Robert Shaw wants his council to consult ratepayers on a proposal to allocate $50,000 per year to Iraqi refugees for the next three years.

The consultation would be a part of the normal budget process.

Council will consider his motion on Thursday 3 April as part of the budget process.

"If Councils carry motions about the war, they must also back their words with real money" he said.

At present Council provides $10,000 a year for all refugees in the city and Cr Shaw says this is not enough now a protracted war is unfolding.

Porirua City has 29 Iraqi refugee families and 3 more families are expected shortly. The Porirua New Settlers Service supports them.

Of the total of 50 refugee families in Porirua City, 29 are Iraqi.

"We hope that these families can be repatriated once the situation in Iraq improves. For the moment they need our help."

"I am confident my city has the ability to find houses for more families, and I know we will have the support of the New Zealand government. Housing New Zealand housed the earlier arrivals. We have an exceptionally high level of cooperation between local and central government agencies in Porirua City."

"Our schools are well able to cope with students from diverse backgrounds and we have specialist services that teach English to new arrivals."

Councillor Shaw would not speculate on the results of the consultation with ratepayers, but he said Porirua City is "composed of diverse peoples who live well together and have good hearts."

"We have a fine tradition of concern for people in need."

In practical terms, the Council would notify the New Zealand government of its willingness to accept more families. The Council would not select the families or provide their induction.

"The local government sector must play its part in New Zealand's response to the international crisis."

"It is not sufficient to leave it to voluntary organizations and churches. I hope other council's respond in the same way, for together we can make a difference."

Cr Shaw said he would welcome genuine expressions of opinion and support. He can be contacted on robert.shaw@paradise.net.nz

For more information:
Porirua City Councillor Robert Shaw, telephone 233 0252

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