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Labour electorate MPs David Clark and Clare Curran, Dunedin National MP and Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse and Mayor Dave Cull met at Dunedin's Red Cross yesterday to get an update on the resettlement planning process.
The meeting was also about showing a united front in support of refugee resettlement in Dunedin before the arrival of the first group of 40 Syrians in April.
Issues discussed at the meeting included how to help refugees find work and support for those suffering as a result of the trauma they had witnessed.
Mr Woodhouse, who on Friday will be welcoming the first group of Syrian refugees to arrive at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre, said the level of support for resettlement made him ‘‘tremendously proud as a Dunedinite''.
Despite being members of opposing political parties, there were issues Dunedin MPs agreed on, he said.
He was confident the city would rise to the challenge of providing a home for the refugees.
‘‘I think that what you will see is the best of this city coming out.‘‘You will see the hospitality that we are so well known for, but also the concern for people.''
The first group of Syrians were going to be resettled in Wellington after their six to eight-week stay at Mangere. The Dunedin-bound refugees are expected to arrive in Mangere in March.
Ms Curran said the meeting was a good opportunity to show the city's leaders were ‘‘very united'' on refugee resettlement in Dunedin. She had been ‘‘really proud'' of the public's response, which showed the ‘‘maturity'' of Dunedin as a city.
Dr Clark said yesterday was an opportunity to show solidarity among the local MPs.
‘‘We will disagree on some things - that's the nature of politics ... but on other issues we are united.''
The city's leaders were earlier shown around the Red Cross building, including a room overflowing with donations for refugees and another which is going to be converted to house about 12 staff who will help resettle refugees once they arrive.
During the meeting, Mr Cull brought up the idea of keeping the public updated on developments via the council website, an initiative Red Cross southern humanitarian services manager Sue Price was keen to support.
Mr Woodhouse brought up the importance of highlighting the extensive selection process the Syrian refugees, who were all coming from Lebanon, had to go through before coming to New Zealand.
This would help ease the ‘‘fears'' some members of the public had about their arrival.
He also pointed out that it would not just be Syrians who would be resettled in the city, with refugees from other countries coming later.