The Green Party urges the Government to offer to resettle and support Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russian violence and persecution.
“Aotearoa New Zealand’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine must focus first and foremost on what we can do to support ordinary people facing a crisis,” says Golriz Ghahraman, the Green Party’s foreign affairs spokesperson.
“Hundreds of thousands of people in Ukraine right now have fled their homes with little in hand. Mums and dads who just want to make sure their kids have access to meals, medical care, and can go to school as they become displaced in make-shift refugee camps.
“The Government’s announcement today of humanitarian aid is a positive step. We must keep up this commitment over the coming months. However, we can and must do more.
“Now is also the time to deliver on Aotearoa New Zealand’s historic commitment to human rights and so Ukrainian people and their families know we will welcome them with open arms. While the preference is always for peace to prevail and the freedom to return home, for now, overcrowded refugee camps and an uncertain future is unsustainable for Ukrainian refugees at the border.
“Given our refugee quota has not been filled for two years now, New Zealand is well placed to offer to take 2000 refugees. We could easily use the Auckland Resettlement Centre as an MIQ facility.
“This must include anyone based in Ukraine, regardless of their race or ethnicity, including migrant workers and students stranded by this war.
“We know in particular that Ukraine’s Rainbow communities are extremely fearful and at risk based on Putin’s track record of oppression. Supporting their safe passage through targeted resources for local organisations, followed by resettlement will make a huge difference.
Ricardo Menéndez March, Green Party spokesperson for immigration added: “Aotearoa is home to many people from Ukraine and steps should be taken to make sure their families can safely join them here. Ukrainian nationals based in New Zealand should have their visas automatically extended, so that they are able to remain here while a war rages in their homeland.
“We must not let Immigration bureaucracy get in the way of visas being expedited quickly to partners and family members of Ukrainian people based in Aotearoa,” says Ricardo Menéndez March.
“The Green Party also urges our Ministers and officials to keep up efforts to de-escalate the conflict using whatever channels are available to the Government,” says Golriz Ghahraman.
“A world without war is possible, but it requires enduring commitments by all nations to peacebuilding and diplomacy.
“New Zealand may be a small nation but we must never lose focus on doing everything we can to play our part.”