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‘Welcome #500Now’

‘Welcome #500Now’

St Luke’s Presbyterian Church, Remuera, is supporting the campaign to ask our political leaders to expand New Zealand’s refugee quota to a more compassionate number—and to do so immediately.

“There are 22 million refugees in the world, half of whom are under 18 years old,” says Minister Glynn Cardy, “New Zealand can and must do more. ‘Welcome #500Now’ is a campaign that we think all churches, faiths, and politicians – across the spectrum – could support.”

A billboard supporting the campaign is being erected outside St Luke’s today.

Four former prime ministers have thrown their support behind this initiative to welcome more refugees immediately; Helen Clark, Sir Geoffrey Palmer, Jim Bolger and Mike Moore. Each stressed that this is about generosity of spirit, as opposed to party politics.

Journalist Tracey Barnett, founder of this initiative, explained that there are plenty of ways to support this campaign. “We are asking folks to take a white board marker, write #500Now in the palm of their hand, and with their open palm outstretched, take a photo with friends, family, your team-mates or choir and email the photo to party leaders and MPs of your choice, with the query, ‘Will you commit to taking 500 more refugees now, if elected this September?’” Then post their photos on social media too, with the hash tag ‘Welcome #500Now’.

The Executive Board member of the Refugee Council of New Zealand feels this call for 500 more refugees is only a beginning to what is needed to right New Zealand’s unimpressive ranking as 95th worst in the world for the number of refugees and asylum seekers we host per capita. Today 45 percent of New Zealand’s quota refugee in-take are children. Australia takes over four times more refugees per capita than New Zealand.

Those interested in having their local printer create a sign for their building can use the artwork shown below.

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