The Green Party will be seeking leave of Parliament, on Tuesday, to immediately introduce Denise Roche’s Members’ Bill which would permanently increase New Zealand’s refugee quota.
“While it is a good first step that New Zealand has agreed to an emergency intake of 600 refugees over two and a half years, this doesn’t solve the long term problem of New Zealand’s embarrassingly low refugee quota,” said Green Party Co-leader James Shaw.
“The National Government has only moved to increase the number of refugees after an outpouring of public demand.
“If the Green Party’s Bill is allowed to be introduced, Parliament would get to hear from refugees and experts so MPs can decide on a fair and reasonable quota – one that’s more in line with New Zealanders’ desire to do our fair share.
“Every political party except for National have said that they’ll agree to let Denise Roche’s Bill be introduced tomorrow. The Prime Minister would be just playing politics not to allow Parliament to debate it.
“It’s better that MPs from all political parties get to decide how many refugees New Zealand can take, rather than leave it to National Ministers whose record so far has been to do the least they can possibly get away with.
“Denise Roche’s Bill has been in the Members’ ballots since June. It seeks to lift the quota from 750 to 1000 refugees per year, as that was the number that a majority of Parliament was prepared to support in June.
“In reality, New Zealand can do better than that and we’d be seeking to increase the quota figure once we’ve heard from the experts through the select committee process.”
The Government’s announcement today also glosses over the fact that New Zealand’s quota allows for +/-10 percent, which means we can take already take an extra 75 refugees a year, on top of the 750. More than 770 desperate people could have been given a home in New Zealand already had National accepted as many refugees as the quota allowed over the past six years.
“The fact is, innocent children and their families will lose their lives while John Key and the National Government wait for a review of our refugee quota next year.
“New Zealanders have called for real leadership on this issue. On Tuesday, the Green Party will give Parliament the opportunity to make a real, permanent, substantive difference,” said Mr Shaw.
Denise Roche’s Bill can be found here.