Amnesty International says the announcement by Prime Minister John Key that New Zealand will not be increasing the refugee quota for two years is absolutely shameful in the face of the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis.
Responding to Prime Minister Key’s announcement today that the quota will only increase to 1000 and not until 2018, Amnesty International’s Executive Director Grant Bayldon said:
“By only increasing the annual refugee resettlement quota by 250 people in two years time, the New Zealand government have not only failed to do the right thing, they have failed the people whose lives they could have saved through resettlement.
“This is a shameful and inhumane response and a stain on our country’s reputation as a good global citizen.
“The fact that Prime Minister Key decided not to at least double the refugee quota shows that he and his Government are completely out of step with public sentiment as the people of New Zealand have clearly expressed their desire to help their fellow human beings.
“What we need to remember is that we’re talking about people here, people who New Zealand has the opportunity to provide a chance to restart their lives in safety and with dignity. The reality is that we need a significant response from a country that currently holds a place on the UN Security Council.
“The Government should have been looking at how much, not how little, we can do to help while people need protection and a second chance. Doubling our refugee quota would have been the least we could have done after 29 years without an increase.
“Amnesty International will continue to call on the Government to do its fair share and at least double the quota to help address the shameful imbalance that exists when it comes to sharing responsibility in the face of the global refugee crisis.
“Following that the next step must be an annual increase in the quota to meet the growing need for resettlement places.
“We also call on Prime Minister John Key to ensure an increase in resources to support front-line services working in resettlement and ensure we continue to give refugees the best start to life in New Zealand”.