New Zealand will lift its annual refugee intake quota from 1,000 to 1,500 within this political term, the country’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced.
“I’m proud that the Coalition Government has today agreed to make such a significant and historic increase to the annual quota of refugees,” PM Ardern said. “This is the right thing to do. It fulfils New Zealand’s obligation to do our bit and provide a small number of people, displaced by war and disaster each year, a place to call home.”
For 30 years New Zealand’s refugee quota sat at 750 people per year, leading to calls to double the quota. In 2016 the previous government announced an increase to the quota to 1,000, which took effect in 2018. All three parties in the government had policies to increase the number of refugees New Zealand accepts.
“The quota increase will take place from July 2020,” the PM announced. “In the meantime, we will work to increase the number and spread of refugee resettlement and support services. We need to make sure we’re prepared for this change in policy.”
Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said the quota increase was made possible through a significant boost in funding for refugee services in Budget 2018.
This included money to build and operate two new accommodation blocks at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre to extend the lifespan of the complex, meet the demands of the current intake of 1,000 and help enable an increase in the refugee intake.
An additional six settlement locations will also be needed around New Zealand on top of the recent re-establishment of Christchurch as a settlement location.
The increase in refugees could help supplement a drop in other immigrants.
According to the Ministry of Building, Innovation and Employment, annual net migration to New Zealand is predicted to decline by 22 per cent, to 51,000 in the June 2020 year when the increase in the refugee quota will take effect.
Article published 19th September 2018