No defence for NZ’s small refugee quota

Support for growing New Zealand’s refugee quota has been swelling over the last six months. Every week a new commentator sees the global refugee crisis and our tiny intake and agrees that New Zealanders must do our bit.

One of the very few people to publicly oppose an increase in New Zealand’s refugee quota is broadcaster Mike Hosking.

In one episode of Mike’s Minute Hosking has admitted our quota is small, but says we cannot increase it because there is no firm figure that can be justified. Instead of asking where we could start, he asked “where would you stop?”

For more than two years I’ve been making the case for New Zealand doubling our refugee resettlement quota.

I’d like to walk Hosking through the numbers, in the hope that his inability to justify a figure was more a result of his prodigious workload rather than antipathy towards those in desperate need.

The numbers are quite simple: our population has grown 40 per cent since 1987, yet our quota has actually dropped 50 places since then.

Even ACT agrees that the quota should keep pace with our population. This would increase our quota to 1120 places.

But on top of the quota we also take 300 people through family reunification and about 120 people as asylum seekers (once appeals have been counted).

Fifteen years ago we averaged 500 accepted asylum seekers per year. The significant decrease since then was due to aggressive pre-screening of people before they could get to New Zealand to claim asylum.

Since we’ve closed that window, we should open a door: 380 more places in the quota to make up for the number we used to take.

Add this to the population increase and the quota should be 1500 places.

We would be doubling the quota in nominal terms, but in real terms we’d be doing only what we’ve done in the past. The average Kiwi will not notice, but the 750 extra people – roughly 200 families – certainly will. Continue reading

  • Murdoch Stephens is the spokesperson and lead researcher for Doing Our Bit – Double New Zealand’s Refugee Quota. The article above is from The Dominion Post.
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