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Susan Devoy urges New Zealanders to stand up for the refugee

Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy urges New Zealanders to stand up for the refugee.

“Let’s replace the barbed wire of refugee camps with our own No. 8 wire mentality. Let’s be there for some of our planet’s most vulnerable children, families and people,” she said.

“If there was a World Cup for nations that provide homes and hope for refugees and asylum seekers: New Zealand wouldn’t even qualify.”

Speaking at the National Refugee Resettlement Forum that opened in Wellington today Dame Susan says she is proud New Zealand has taken in and supported more than 30,000 refugees over the years.

“But I also know we can do better. New Zealand’s intake of refugees has remained the same since 1987,” said Dame Susan.

“And with 33 million displaced people in the world – most of them children - New Zealand has the capacity to accept more refugees, it’s part of our responsibility as a global citizen.”

“For a country that’s renowned for punching above our weight on the world stage: when it comes to taking in refugees we lag behind the rest of the world.”

Dame Susan said change depends primarily on the will of everyday people: which is why everyday New Zealanders need to take a stand and call for a rise in New Zealand’s refugee quota.

“Most of us will never know what it’s like to flee our home, never knowing if we will see our loved ones again. Most of us will never know what it’s like to survive a war in our own homeland, or put our lives on hold as we wait for another country to give us a new home,” said Dame Susan.

“My plea today is for Kiwis to start punching above our weight not just in sport: New Zealanders need to start punching above our weight when it comes to compassion, kindness and most of all, humanity.”


ENDS

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Gordon Campbell:
On First Time Voting (Centre Right)

For the next two days, I’m turning my column over to two guest columnists who are first time voters. I’ve asked them to explain why they were voting, for whom and what role they thought their parental upbringing had played in shaping their political beliefs ; and at the end, to choose a piece of music.

One guest columnist will be from the centre right, one from the centre left. Today’s column is from the centre right – by James Penn:

As someone who likes to consider himself, in admittedly vainglorious fashion, a considered and rational actor, the act of voting for the first time is a somewhat confusing one. I know that my vote has a close to zero chance of actually influencing the outcome of Parliament. The chance I will cast the marginal vote that adds to National or Act’s number of seats in Parliament is miniscule. The chance, even if I did, that doing so would affect the government makes voting on a strictly practical level even more spurious as a worthwhile exercise.

But somehow I have spent a large amount of time (perhaps detrimentally so, depending on the outcome of my upcoming exams) agonising over how to cast my first vote in a national election. More>>

 

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