Today’s post cabinet press conference focused on the announcement of an increase in the New Zealand refugee quota from 2018 onwards. Prime Minister John Key also talked about his recent visit to Fiji and New Zealand’s response to the attack in Orlando Florida.
Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse announced the refugee quota would increase from seven hundred and fifty a year to one thousand a year from 2018. He said the increase was timed to take effect once the emergency intake of five hundred refugees from Syria announced last year was completed.
Woodhouse said that the community response to the refugee quota issue had been significant and that the Government wanted to provide an “appropriate response” to global tensions. He said that the government was interested in the quality of refugee resettlement as well as the quantity.
The Minister announced that starting 2017/2018 there would be a trial of “community sponsorship” refugee resettlement outside of the quota but that would initially be limited to 25 places a year. Woodhouse stated that the program would “test” the ability of institutions and community groups to aid in the resettlement of refugees and refugee families. He stressed that this trial would be separate to the quota and that the quota would remain reserved for “those in most need”.
The Prime Minister John Key said that he has written a letter to United States President Barrack Obama expressing New Zealand’s condolences in the wake of the attack in Florida. He wrote that no one “should be persecuted for their beliefs or lifestyle”.