Budget boost for refugee families a win for compassion

The Green Party welcomes funding in the budget to reunite more refugees with their families, ensuring they have the best chance at a new life in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The $21m funding over three years will support the doubling of the current cap on New Zealand’s family reunification scheme for refugees from 300 to 600, and provide support when they arrive. The funding fulfils part of The Labour/Green Confidence and Supply agreement.

The Green Party’s Immigration spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman said today:

“Because of this change, fewer families will face the horrible reality of arriving in a new country, and knowing their loved ones are facing pain and torture in oppressive regimes overseas. We know that refugees have a much better chance at settling in their new homes if they are with their families.

“I am proud to be a part of a Government showing refugees more compassion. Through committing to doubling the quota and now, overhauling the family-reunification system, we are giving people arriving in New Zealand the best chance at a better life.

“The Green Party has long been pushing for the family reunification system to be fairer and more transparent. As it stands, the system is a lottery, and many of the decisions happen behind closed doors.

“The system worked to an outdated set of rules and definitions, meaning many families fleeing war and persecution were unable to reunite with their loved ones. This funding will vastly improve that system and it is something to celebrate.

“This $21m boost to the family reunification scheme will give refugees fleeing war and persecution a real chance at a better life in Aotearoa.

“This commitment to reuniting families who have been forced to flee their homes shows real compassion and kindness – values we hold dearly in New Zealand. It sends a clear message to refugees that they – and their families - are welcome in Aotearoa.

“Increasing the funding for family reunification is an important part of the Greens’ Confidence and Supply Agreement with Labour. We have fought to ensure a review of the system, and for it to be better funded. We’ve now achieved both of those things.

“The Green Party will continue to advocate on behalf of refugees through advocating for increases to the refugee quota, and by ensuring that when people arrive here, they are given the support they need to thrive.”