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Nationwide tour speaks to doubling refugee quota


Nationwide tour speaks to doubling New Zealand’s refugee quota

A discussion of the review of New Zealand’s refugee quota will travel to eight New Zealand cities in February and March.

Doing Our Bit spokesperson, Murdoch Stephens, will be advocating for a doubling of the quota, which has not grown in 29 years.

Speaking at universities, churches, and community centres, Stephens will be joined in each city by a local speaker who will discuss refugee issues in their region.

Stephens will tell the story behind the Doing Our Bit campaign to double New Zealand’s refugee quota, which he began in 2013. He will also describe the government’s current review of the quota and outline some actions people can take to have a say in the process.

“People need to know that growing the quota from 750 places to 1500 per year is only making up for three decades of population growth and the closing down of asylum seeker options. In nominal terms it is an increase, but in real terms we’re just making up to what we’ve done in the past,” said Stephens.

The refugee quota was set at 800 places in 1987 and now sits at 750, after the Bolger government cut 50 places in 1997.

Despite calls to increase the quota in September 2015, the government stuck to their time frame for a full review of the quota. This review is due in the first half of 2016. At the same time, the Mangere Resettlement Reception Centre will be reopened on June 18, with capacity of the 1500 people, the figure to which Stephens and others seek to have the quota grown.

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“We have the capacity, the community will with support from a wide range of humanitarian NGOs, churches and resettlement organisations. The last two nationwide polls have popular support on the side of both an increase to the quota and the small emergency intake announced last September. Now we just need the politicians to step up and do their bit. And when I say ‘now, I mean now – Immigration’s review is due at the end of the month. The long overdue increase must be a priority,” said Stephens.

The campaign has a strong social media presence, with over 8000 likes on Facebook, 3000 Twitter followers, but this will be the first chance for the distributed communities to meet.

Michele A’Court will MC in Auckland, while Raybon Kan will host procedings in Wellington. Stephens will be joined by a local guest, including Dame Susan Devoy in Auckland, to speak about how people can get involved with refugee resettlement volunteering in their local communities.

MON February 22: Palmerston North, Diocesan Centre, 7pm.
WED February 24: New Plymouth, Brian Bellringer Pavilion, 5.15pm.
FRI February 26: Hamilton, Waikato Migrant Resource Centre, 6pm.
MON February 29: Auckland, University of Auckland. General Library B28. 6pm.
MON March 8: Dunedin, University of Otago Archway Lecture Theatre 2, 6pm.
THU March 10: Christchurch, Cardboard Cathedral, 7pm.
MON March 14: Nelson, Victory Community Centre, 5.15pm.
TUE March 15: Wellington, St Andrews on the Terrace, 6.15pm.

ENDS

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