Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Tomorrow is World Refugee Day - are we doing our bit?

19 JUNE 2013


Tomorrow is World Refugee Day - are we doing our bit?

On World Refugee Day, Thursday June 20th, Doing Our Bit will officially launch a campaign to double New Zealand’s UNHCR Refugee Resettlement Quota.

Doing Our Bit is spearheaded by Murdoch Stephens, a Wellingtonian whose interest in refugee issues was sparked during a chance encounter with an abandoned refugee detention centre in Iran. From that centre, Stephens recovered more than one thousand family portraits of detained Afghan refugees.

Back in New Zealand, Stephens met with members of the Afghan community and refugee NGOs to gain their perspective on the images. They agreed that if the backstory of the detention centre was made clear and the photos were shown with respect then they should be exhibited. When Stephens learned that New Zealand’s refugee intake was one-fifth, per capita, of Australia’s, he felt that he needed to act.

New Zealand’s low refugee intake is not a new issue. In February a NZ Herald editorial commented that our intake was ‘paltry’, remarking that ‘surely we could do more’. In April, Amnesty International described the quota as ‘tiny'.

Despite being a small country in the middle of the South Pacific, New Zealand prides itself on being hospitable. We are friendly to overseas visitors and we see ourselves as punching above our weight in international affairs,” said Stephens, coordinator of Doing Our Bit.

However, in terms of accepting refugees New Zealand is clearly not doing our share.” Stephens says.

Australia’s refugee quota for the coming year is 20 000 while New Zealand’s is 750. Australia takes more than five times as many resettlement refugees as New Zealand per capita. Most other countries also exceed New Zealand, but accept their refugees as asylum seekers rather than through the UNHCR resettlement programme.

The 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention refers in its preamble to the responsibility of “burden sharing”. Doing Our Bit contends that New Zealand is not sharing the load.

If you look at the economics of it, New Zealand is in a far better shape in terms of GDP change and unemployment than almost all countries that are accepting significantly more refugees than us. We can do more,” said Stephens.

I am not asking New Zealand to Iead the world. I just want us to do our bit.”

The beginning of the Doing Our Bit campaign coincides with the opening of an exhibition about refugees at Pataka Art + Museum from July 13th – September 15th that includes the first exhibition of the Afghan family portraits.

For more information visit www.doingourbit.co.nz, or like and follow our Facebook page.


© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

New Reports: Flood Risk From Rain And Sea Under Climate Change

One report looks at what would happen when rivers are flooded by heavy rain and storms, while the other examines flooding exposure in coastal and harbour areas and how that might change with sea-level rise.

Their findings show that across the country almost 700,000 people and 411,516 buildings worth $135 billion are presently exposed to river flooding in the event of extreme weather events...

There is near certainty that the sea will rise 20-30 cm by 2040. By the end of the century, depending on whether global greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, it could rise by between 0.5 to 1.1 m, which could add an additional 116,000 people exposed to extreme coastal storm flooding. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Commerce Commission Fuel Report

The interim Commerce Commission report on the fuel industry will do nothing to endear the major oil companies to the New Zealand public... More>>


Emergency Govt Bill: Overriding Local Licensing For The Rugby

“It’s pretty clear some clubs are having difficulty persuading their district licensing committees to grant a special licence to extend their hours for this obviously special event, and so it makes sense for Parliament to allow clubs to meet a community desire." More>>


Leaving Contract Early: KiwiBuild Programme Losing Another Top Boss

Ms O'Sullivan began a six-month contract as head of KiwiBuild Commercial in February, but the Housing Ministry has confirmed she has resigned and will depart a month early to take up a new job. More>>


Proposed National Policy Statement: Helping Our Cities Grow Up And Out

“We need a new approach to planning that allows our cities to grow up, especially in city centres and around transport connections. We also have to allow cities to expand in a way that protects our special heritage areas, the natural environment and highly productive land." More>>


Ombudsman's Report: Ngāpuhi Elder 'Shocked' By Conditions At Ngawha Prison

A prominent Ngāpuhi elder is shocked to find inmates at Ngawha Prison are denied water and forced to relieve themselves in the exercise yard... Chief Ombudsman Peter Boshier has released a report highly critical of conditions at the Northland prison. More>>


Promises: Independent Election Policy Costing Unit A Step Closer

The creation of an entity to provide political parties with independent and non-partisan policy costings is a step closer today, according to Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Associate Finance Minister James Shaw. More>>


School's In: Primary And Intermediate Principals Accept New Offer

Primary and intermediate school principals have voted to accept a new settlement from the Ministry of Education, which includes entrenched pay parity with secondary principals. More>>


IPCA On 'Rawshark' Investigation: Multiple Police Failings In Hager Searches Confirmed

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that the Police's unlawful search of Nicky Hager's property in October 2014 resulted from an unwitting neglect of duty and did not amount to misconduct by any individual officer... More>>


Broadcasting Standards: Decisions On Coverage Of Mosque Attacks

The Authority upheld one of these complaints, finding that the use of extensive excerpts from the alleged attacker’s livestream video on Sky News New Zealand had the potential to cause significant distress to audiences in New Zealand, and particularly to the family and friends of victims, and the wider Muslim community. More>>




InfoPages News Channels