Neil Finn Joins Chorus of Support For #500Now
Neil Finn joins chorus of support for #500Now
Auckland, 7 August 2017 – Kiwi music icon Neil Finn is lending his voice to support “Welcome #500Now.’ The campaign calls for politicians of all parties standing for election this year to commit to taking an additional 500 refugees immediately.
In a video interview Neil explained his reasons for supporting the ‘Welcome #500Now’ campaign: “Refugees bring with them amazing culture, intelligence and skills that we don’t get from other places. They’re good hardworking people who just want to lead a decent life like the rest of us. I think we should let in at least 500 more.
“We’re so lucky to live in New Zealand that we can afford to be generous. Go and meet some refugees. They’re out there contributing really well and doing amazing things, so don’t close yourself off to them. Open your heart to empathy and compassion.”
Neil demonstrated his support by inviting Syrian rapper Shareef on stage to join him in a version of “Don’t Dream It’s Over,” available on YouTube.
Shareef, originally from Damascus, left school at age 15 after it was bombed in 2011 and started working to support his family. Eighteen months later he was stopped at a checkpoint on the way home by the army, arrested and detained for three days. They broke his nose and teeth and shot him through the leg, then released him. Rather than join the army Shareef fled to Lebanon with his family and they sought asylum. Lebanon wouldn’t accept them, nor would Turkey or any Arabian country. In limbo, Shareef turned to music, stared recording songs and posting them online, building a following throughout the Middle East.
Eventually New Zealand agreed to accept him and his family as refugees, and he joined Neil on stage a few weeks after arriving last year.
Last week four ex-Prime Minsters – Jim Bolger, Helen Clark, Sir Geoffrey Palmer and Mike Moore – came together in support of New Zealand welcoming 500 more refugees immediately. Jim Bolger said, “There are no rational arguments against us being more generous. None at all. We can do it. We can afford it. And we can offer that hand of welcome and friendship,”
Watch Neil’s video interview here: https://youtu.be/qZSXqjXQUf0
To show support for the campaign, follow these simple steps:
1. Write #500Now on your palm
2. Hold out your hand and take a photo. Include your friends, colleagues, family, workmates or teammates.
3. Post it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram with the hashtag #500Now
4. Then email it to the Prime Minister, party leaders and your MP and ask, ‘Will you commit to welcoming 500 refugees immediately, if elected?’
#500now is a new initiative asking candidates across all parties at this year’s election to commit to taking 500 more refugees now. These efforts focus on raising New Zealand’s refugee intake immediately, while highlighting how significantly refugees enrich New Zealand.