Greens call to increase refugee quota

New Zealand's annual refugee intake would be increased by a third under a private member's bill put forward by the Green Party.

The current quota of around 750 refugees a year has been labelled a disgrace by Green MP Denise Roche, who wants it increased to 1000.

"It is disgraceful that our quota has not gone up in 28 years," Ms Roche said.

"Taking a 1000 refugees a year is a reasonable target that should be widely supported."

Her bill will be placed in the ballot and compete with 74 other private member's bills to secure one of the few slots on the order paper and come up for debate.

There is support from across the political spectrum to increase the quota.

Labour, New Zealand First, Act, United Future and the Maori Party all want to see the refugee numbers increase by varying degrees.

NZ First's support would come only if immigration levels were cut at the same time.

There are currently about 52 million refugees around the world - numbers not seen since World War II.

Prime Minister John Key has said increasing the quota would not make enough difference to that situation, and it was better to focus on supporting the refugees we currently do settle.

New Zealand is ranked 87th in the world for total refugee resettlement per capita.

The Greens' member's bill comes amidst an ongoing controversy over the treatment of 65 asylum-seekers who were intercepted by Australian authorities while apparently trying to reach New Zealand.

The asylum-seekers and Indonesian authorities have alleged that the Australian authorities paid the people-smugglers thousands of dollars to turn around back to Indonesia.

The 65 refugees are now in a detention centre at Kupang in West Timor, and have directly appealed to New Zealand for help.

- Nicholas Jones of the New Zealand Herald

Add a Comment





Local journalism matters - now more than ever

As the Covid-19 pandemic brings the world into uncharted waters, Otago Daily Times reporters and photographers continue to bring you the stories that matter. For more than 158 years our journalists have provided readers with local news you can trust. This is more important now than ever.

As advertising drops off during the pandemic, support from our readers is crucial. You can help us continue to bring you news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter