Small, delayed refugee quota increase deeply disappointing
Members of community group ActionStation say the Government’s decision not to increase New Zealand’s refugee quota for two years is deeply disappointing.
Prime Minister John Key and Minister for Immigration Michael Woodhouse today announced they would not increase New Zealand’s annual refugee quota until 2018, and then only by 250 people per year. The number of refugees and people seeking asylum worldwide has, for the first time in the post-World War II era, recently exceeded 50 million people.
“That’s 50 million men, women and children who have had their homes and lives stolen by war,” says Laura O’Connell Rapira, Campaign Director at ActionStation, “and our Government’s response is to help just 250 more people in two years time. By way of comparison, Australia will grow their refugee intake from 13,500 to 18,750 by 2018. New Zealand from 750 to 1,000. Today the Government has done the least they think they can get away with, and many New Zealanders will be disappointed.”
This Wednesday at 1.30pm ActionStation members will join members of Amnesty International, Avaaz, Doing Our Bit and other community organisations at gatherings in Wellington, Auckland and Dunedin to show solidarity for the millions of refugees who continue to wait to be resettled in a safe country like New Zealand and to express their disappointment in the Government’s decision.
“This is the first increase to New Zealand’s refugee quota in 29 years and as such it is a step in the right direction,” says ActionStation spokesperson Marianne Elliott, “but it so much less than we could do, based on the advice of the very organisations who are responsible for resettlement of refugees in New Zealand. It is also still much less than our fair share of the global response to what the United Nations has called the ‘worst humanitarian crisis of the century. Today is a shameful day for New Zealand’s track record as a good global citizen.”