Double the quota campaigner praises government on fulfilled promise
The Doing Our Bit campaign praises the coalition government for their commitment to increase the refugee quota to 1500 places.
Campaign founder, Murdoch Stephens said, “the last two months have seen a lot of speculation about the fate of the quota. We welcome the coalition government's strong leadership on the matter and are pleased with today's announcement.”
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had repeated their intention to double the quota on numerous occasions since the election. However, the lack of a timeframe and comments from Winston Peters, the leader of New Zealand First, had caused some speculation in the media.
“We want to pay tribute to all of the parties in the government for creating a safe and secure future for another 500 people a year – approximately 125 families. We're pleased that this coalition government is able to give a second chance at life to a fair number of refugees at the same time as helping New Zealand's most vulnerable. It's refreshing to have a government of togetherness not of them versus us.”
The campaign was founded by Stephens in 2013 with the goal of doubling the quota, which was then 750 places and had not increased since the 1980s, to 1500.
The campaign became a national movement in 2015, with organisations like ActionStation and Amnesty working with Doing Our Bit to make it impossible for the previous government to ignore. Previous campaign successes include the Syrian emergency quota in 2015 and an increase of the quota to 1000 places.
“Doubling the quota makes up for thirty years of no increase to the quota,” Stephens said, “but it doesn’t make us a world leader. At 1500 places we’ll still be accepting half as many people per capita as Australia. Today is a day of celebration, for sure, but we are far from being world leaders.”
Decreasing migration which was one of the conditions of New Zealand First's consideration of an increased quota. Net migration numbers have fallen twelve percent from a peak of 72,400 under the previous government. Treasury predicts net migration to fall to 25,000 by 2022.
Stephens released a book on the campaign in August, Doing Our Bit: the Campaign to Double the Refugee Quota. He points to three more areas which are likely to be issues in the coming term: restrictions that amount to a ban of refugees from Africa and the Middle East, which cities refugees are resettled in, and the role of New Zealand advocating for refugees on Nauru and Manus Island.