The Green Party has launched a Member’s Bill that would require the Government to lift New Zealand’s refugee quota to 1000 per year, the first increase in 28 years.
The Bill is being launched in advance of world refugee day this Saturday and comes on the heels of calls for New Zealand to increase its refugee quota. The current quote is 750.
“John Key has said increasing our quota won’t do much, but it will make a massive difference to the extra people we take in – it will literally change their lives,” said Green Party immigration spokesperson Denise Roche.
“It has been 28 years since New Zealand last increased our refugee quota. My proposal is a modest increase that simply plays catch-up with where our refugee contribution ought to be.
“New Zealand’s quota has not gone up in 28 years, which has left us lagging at 88th in the world in terms of refugee intake per capita.
“The increase to 1000 refugees per year is reasonable and modest. We hope there should be wide political support.
“The additional cost of 250 extra refugees will be $19.2 million over 3 years according to information provided by the Government. This is a tiny fraction of the Government’s budget and is affordable.
“New Zealanders are fair minded people, and we have a proud history of doing our fair share. We are not currently doing our fair share and that needs to be fixed.
“Amnesty International has identified that the number of refugees in the world is the highest since the end of World War Two. Increasing our quota would play a small part in helping to alleviate this crisis.
“John Key is using the excuse of not being able to help all the refugees in the world, as a reason not to help a few more.
“The UNHCR has said that developed countries have actually reduced the proportion of refugees they take. New Zealand needs to buck that global trend.
“If this Bill is drawn and passes, it will literally mean the difference between life and death for the additional people that can come here,” said Ms Roche.