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Cutting refugee numbers will cost not save

10 August 2005

Cutting refugee numbers will cost not save

The National Party’s immigration policy released yesterday shows a lack of understanding of refugee policy in New Zealand, says RMS Refugee Resettlement director Peter Cotton.

“The policy fails to distinguish clearly between refugees and migrants which is both inappropriate and misleading.

“Refugees flee conflict and persecution. For those lucky enough to find refuge in a country with a refugee resettlement programme such as New Zealand much of their energy then goes into trying to help any family members who are still in danger to get to safety.

“The Refugee Family Quota, which the National Party wants to cuts, is a ballot system which refugees pay to enter to try to bring family members here. If they’re lucky enough to win places in this lottery they then pay the airfares for their family and all the other immigration costs which migrants pay.”

Peter Cotton said if this category is axed the savings to the government will be negligible. “There’s also likely to be increased costs in primary and mental health care of refugees for whom the stress of separation from family, and ongoing anxiety about their safety, will hinder successful resettlement in New Zealand.”

ENDS

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