English ignores child refugees in favour of tax cuts
The Prime Minister's comments on not increasing the refugee quota because of jobs ignores the large number of children who are refugees but not looking for work.
"Focussing on unemployment only looks at half of our refugee intake and ignores the 45% of refugees who are children", said Murdoch Stephens, spokesperson for Doing Our Bit the campaign to double New Zealand's refugee quota.
According to statistics from Immigration New Zealand, last year 45% of new refugees were children. On World Refugee Day the Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse noted that these children now achieve at the same level as New Zealanders in educational outcomes - measured by NCEA level two.
"Bill English is ignoring the vast contribution of the many refugee who arrive as children. Given we have one of the lowest unemployment rates in the OECD, this is an incredibly callous position."
When he was last the leader of the National Party in 2002, Prime Minister Bill English had the policy of cutting the refugee quota to just 500 places.
"English speaks as if he is compassionate conservative. But it is very clear now that New Zealanders who care about being a humanitarian country can not have faith in English who thinks there is money spare for tax cuts but not fundamentals like housing, education, and a fair refugee quota."
English's comments were in response to four former Prime Ministers urging him to increase the refugee quota.