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Lift the refugee quota

Written By: - Date published: 7:16 am, June 23rd, 2015 - 69 comments
Categories: australian politics, class war, human rights, im/migration - Tags: , , , ,

It’s a shameful fact that the political right use refugees as a weapon to drum up populist conservative backlash. John Key was at it (again) earlier this month:

People-smuggling boat ‘credible risk and threat’ to NZ

A people-smuggling boat with 65 people on board was a “credible risk and threat”, and had the capability to make it to New Zealand, the Prime Minister says.

What the hell kind of “risk” and “threat” is a boat load of scared and desperate women and kids to this country? Are we really so frightened of helping people? To their credit, Labour and The Greens spoke up:

Boat people: a political bogeyman?

Labour leader Andrew Little said the chances of refugees making it to New Zealand in boats were zero. He said Mr Key was simply trying to distract the public. “This looks like National Party standard distraction material, to raise some sort of bogey that he thinks is going to be there and will get people excited,” Mr Little said. “And divert attention from things like falling dairy prices, a lower national income – the sort of issues that are exercising a lot of people at the moment.”

Green Party immigration spokesperson Denise Roche agreed that the Government was inventing a bogeyman. “I do worry that there’s a beat-up that consistently comes from this Government about potential refugees and asylum seekers who use boats to get here.

Since then we’ve had the claims that Australia has paid off refugee boat crew (“people smugglers”) to divert elsewhere, claims that this “state bribery” has been going on for years, and Tony Abbot effectively admitting as much. Digging deep into his puddle of moral rectitude, Key refused to express an opinion on this tactic, because he could see “both sides of the argument”.

Despite the fact that NZ hasn’t increased its refugee quota since 1987 (where were you Labour?), Key was sure yesterday morning that we shouldn’t raise our quota. Then it emerged that he knows so little about the actual refugee situation in NZ that he didn’t even know what the quota was:

Key admits getting refugee numbers wrong

Prime Minister John Key has admitted to getting his numbers wrong and greatly overestimating the number of refugees New Zealand settles. … “Yes, it is 750, but we have family reunification, so the numbers swell to thousands. I think it is 3000 or 4000 off the top of my head,” Mr Key said. After being challenged on that figure by the Greens and other advocacy groups, he said the figure was wrong.

Today [Green MP] Ms Roche released figures from Immigration New Zealand which showed that in the 2013/14 financial year a total of 1153 refugees, asylum-seekers and family members were accepted. That figure included 750 refugees accepted as part of the quota, 334 under family reunification, and 69 asylum seekers.

That wasn’t the only thing Key got wrong. For example:

Here are the Facts, Prime Minister
Press Release: WagePeaceNZ

3. When referring to refugees, our Prime Minister stated that, “Our humanitarian position is, I think, top of the class.”

Fact: When it comes to refugee in-take, New Zealand is far closer to the bottom of the class. New UNHCR figures show we are 90th in the world in the total number of refugees we host per capita. Worse, if you figure by our relative wealth, then we rank 116th. Our world standing has actually dropped by three places since last year. These figures were released last week.

Amnesty International has also criticised our “top of the class” position on refugees:

John Key’s refugee comments disappointing

New Zealand has not increased its refugee quota for 30 years. Amnesty International is calling on the Government to double the quota from the current 750. New Zealand ranks 87th in the world in per capita rankings for its total refugee resettlement. By comparison Australia takes three times as many refugees on a per capita basis.

“As New Zealand prepares for its presidency of the UN Security Council in July it must set an example and not leave neighbouring countries like Turkey to do it all. Other countries have stepped up: Germany is taking 30,000 Syrian refugees, Canada is taking 10,000,” said Grant Bayldon.

“New Zealand’s tiny refugee intake calls into question its Security Council election campaign which positioned that nation as being a good global citizen, punching above its weight on the world stage.”

Indeed.

It is long past time that NZ raised its refugee quota. A private member’s bill by Green Party MP Denise Roche proposes increasing the quota to 1000. It has wide support:

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.

Come on Nats, do the right thing, raise the quota.


Simon Kneebone:
boat-people-from-earth

69 comments on “Lift the refugee quota”

  1. Charles 1

    Well it’s a wider problem: the only reason you’d want to come here if you were poor, not white, and didn’t speak English, was if the alternative was death by drowning. We have wealth distribution issues (gosh, and race issues, and just about everything else) to deal with first – elect a socially responsible government first, then let them raise the quota. Key and his mates will just draw out the potential poverty of refugees (on one extreme) and breed desperate greed in them (on the other extreme) which doesn’t help anyone. If a boat was drifting somewhere in the Tasman, we should go get it for humanitarian reasons, and keep the occupants as citizens, but asking Key’s style of government to raise quotas isn’t responsible.

  2. Gosman 2

    Set up a charity to help integrate and resettle the additional refugees and get funding from private sources then you will have a much stronger case. Unless you just expect other people to pay for what you want to happen.

    • other people pay for lots of things gossie – at least this would be worthwhile and help actual people that need help rather than the fatcats slurping up their cream

    • Draco T Bastard 2.2

      Charities have never worked well which is why we built up our Welfare State which the inhumane are presently tearing down so as to further enrich the already rich.

    • Colonial Rawshark 2.3

      Unless you just expect other people to pay for what you want to happen.

      Who did you pay to teach you to read and write as a five year old, shit head?

    • Hateatea 2.4

      Charities are actually an inefficient way to deliver most services as a disproportionate amount of time, effort and resources is spent on applying for funding to be able to perform the charitable purpose.

      It is also exploitative of the goodwill of volunteers.

      Many charities in this country are struggling to attract sufficient volunteers as more and more people are working longer hours or more than one job to keep themselves and their families. Where once upon a time it was the wives and mothers, retirees and the clergy who were the backbone of many worthy causes this is not necessarily the case in many areas of this country.

      A properly funded organisation would be more appropriate and efficient but I wouldn’t expect this to happen given the current philosophies en vogue in Government.

  3. ianmac 3

    Perhaps Farrar polling shows Key that most people are disinterested in bringing poor refugees to NZ. He would be on safe ground to be dismissive. In his mind anyway!

    • cogito 3.1

      Not all refugees are poor (or uneducated). Think of Ahmed Zaoui, for instance.

  4. Rosie 4

    Thanks Anthony.

    We have many reasons to be ashamed of ourselves here in lil’ ol NZ and our low refugee quota is one of them.

    A compassionate government would raise it.

    • Gosman 4.1

      A compassionate group of people would set up a charity to support Refugees and look to get funding for it before expecting the Government to do this. Are you going to put your time and money where your keyboard warrior hands are?

      • Tracey 4.1.1

        so, if someone is spread thin, working their job, bringing up the family and maybe supporting a couple of charities, and don’t have time to volunteer or set up a charity for everything they think is important, they should shut up? Interesting philosophy Gosman, makes me wonder how you have the nerve to write anything about Greece or Venezuela, what with you not being prepared to DO anything about it, like go to Germany and exhort them to take one for the great economic system and not relent to Greece, or go to Venezuela to explain to them how wrong they are and how much better they would be under your system?

        • marty mars 4.1.1.1

          hey unfair – he’s thinking about thinking about setting up a charity lol

          • dukeofurl 4.1.1.1.1

            Perhaps they could be some sort of ‘social bonds’ so that people with an eye on the bottom line can ‘invest too’

            Bring in some financial intermediaries like …like Gosman and they would be away laughing.

        • Gosman 4.1.1.2

          I write about Venezuela and Greece because they are illustrative of the failure of left wing economics. I am not wanting anybody to do anything. I merely highlight that the Greeks or Venezuelans will be forced by economic reality to follow policies I support or they will be much worse off than they are now. This article wants the Government to increase funding dramatically for Refugees yet I see little in the way of people stumping up their own time and money to help as well. It is easy to be compassionate when it doesn’t cost you anything.

          • Draco T Bastard 4.1.1.2.1

            I write about Venezuela and Greece because they are illustrative of the failure of left wing economics.

            Actually, they’re proof of the failure of right-wing economics – the delusion that if we make the rich richer then everyone will be better off. What really happens is that the nations that do that fall into bankruptcy with extremes of poverty and wealth – exactly as we’re now seeing around the world including NZ.

          • dukeofurl 4.1.1.2.2

            Please !
            As a student of capitalism you should know that failure is part of the system. Most of the big companies of 75 years ago have failed over time as you capitalists would have predicted.
            Was General Motors a soft left wing institution all along ?
            Yet when they did go bankrupt the people who held unsecured bonds got next to nothing.
            From memory face value was $27 billion and they got 10% of the new GM stock., maybe less than 5% back. Happens all the time , take the risker lending and expect to lose your shirt.

            Greeces problem, is that they owe too much, and the looses Europes banks will take when they get back up to 10% of face value is too much to bear.

            You have this idea that borrowing too much money is ‘left wing economics’, well then our own example of TV3.
            First it was a private equity buyout, which is OK, but they got bank money to load up with debt on the scale of Greece- plus Ironbridge didnt have to pay back the money they borrowed when they couldnt pay the interest.
            The lenders got shares instead, so they took it on the chin and offloaded the shares /debt to Oaktree, who will try to stitch it up to sell off and make some money. Fat chance.

            • Gosman 4.1.1.2.2.1

              The failure of companies like General Motors under Capitalism is evidence of the strength of the system not it’s weakness.

          • Colonial Rawshark 4.1.1.2.3

            I write about Venezuela and Greece because they are illustrative of the failure of left wing economics.

            They are targets of rapacious neoliberal capitalism.

            The IMF is more than willing to keep giving Ukraine money, even though Ukraine is outright defaulting on its IMF payments.

            For Greece, the IMF will give nothing.

            This is nothing but the politics of control, power and subjugation, by the power elite.

            • Gosman 4.1.1.2.3.1

              The IMF has given Billions and Billions to Greece.

              • Colonial Rawshark

                Don’t take us for fools Gosman. The IMF has lent billions and billions to Greece which immediately got put into the deep pockets at Deutschebank and other private holders of Greek bonds.

              • Nigel

                The IMF money is primarily to pay the banks that lied about the Greek financial position to allow EU membership. Followed up by huge loans with no hope of repayment.
                How ironic that suddenly these same institutions have gotten the religion of financial prudence.
                Those loans will never be paid, the question is only one of how much squeezing of the Greek population (for interest payments, not principal) can occur before they default.
                Of course the ECB will bail out those banks that made risky loans to Greece as they always expected.

                What a load of cobblers that the Greek situation in any way reflects on the poor people of Greece. To make this a Left/Right argument is disingenuous.

                Tax avoidance by the wealthy in Greece is a national pastime, as it is to a lesser degree right here at home….

                Cheers

                • Tracey

                  “Tax avoidance by the wealthy in Greece is a national pastime, as it is to a lesser degree right here at home….” as it is in all capitalist-hybrid nations, including ours. So having shitloads of money doesn’t make you any more disposed to abide by the rules set for everyone else.

              • Tracey

                a gift you say? That’s odd, so they are not wanting any of it back?

          • s y d 4.1.1.2.4

            Yo Gosman, rather than set up a charity, I would prefer that the government didn’t use my taxes to train another nations armed forces who by their actions will create more refugees.
            We could always stop doing that and find an alterntive use for the funds currently spent overseas – maybe we could help with resettling more refugees?

            • Tracey 4.1.1.2.4.1

              ^^^ this

            • Gosman 4.1.1.2.4.2

              I suppose you think that if IS wins there will be no refugee problem then. Is that correct?

              • Colonial Rawshark

                Hey Gosman the more you fight ISIS the stronger it gets. The US reckons it has killed up to 15,000 ISIS fighters now, except ISIS only used to have 15,000 fighters. But it’s still going strong as ever.

                Grow a brain.

          • Tracey 4.1.1.2.5

            Yes, i a nutshell you “speak” and wait for the world to catch up with your genius because your way is the only way (even though you vote for a party that props up a system you claim to not want) We noticed that Gosman, it’s not a secret. And you do it without any self righteousness or know-it-all ness. Well done.

      • Rosie 4.1.2

        Yes, they already have Gosman, and you would have noticed that if you had read Anthony’s post:

        http://www.wagepeacenz.org/

        So, you think it’s desirable that our government dump it’s social responsibilities on to NGO’s? (Ala social bonds, the profit driven incentive for mental health care and job placement of “clients”).
        Are you not in the least, a little embarrassed about our indifference to suffering given other countries are taking in large numbers?

        Eg; Italy:

        “In the first seven months of 2014, more than 87,000 people arrived in Italy by sea, mainly from Eritrea and the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria). In an effort to reduce the risks linked to such journeys, in October 2013 the Italian Government launched the Mare Nostrum operation, which has rescued more than 100,000 people. Greece and Spain also recorded an increase in arrivals.”

        http://www.unhcr.org/pages/49e48e996.html

        And don’t tell me what I should be doing. You have no idea what non paid work I do in my life

  5. frankly if we care very little about others in need then we should expect the same when we need help and we will need that help – but the ones that love fortressnz will be the first in line for help, crying and pleading for their loved ones and themselves and forgetting how callous they were when others asked.

    Increase the help we give refugees

  6. vto 6

    “some people make poor lifestyle choices”

  7. Save NZ 7

    Change NZ Foreign Policy to help prevent the burgeoning refugee crisis….

    All these bomb and wars, hello the locals are trying to get away….

    • s y d 7.1

      That is the rub.
      You would think Gosman would try to be a clifftop fence rather than a charitable ambulance.

  8. Sable 8

    The reality is there are people migrating to NZ every day who for whatever reason may or may not be a good fit for this country. Its more appropriate to talk in terms of ensuring the vetting process is of a high standard rather than banging on about people who will never get this far South.

    Yet another attempted public diversion from National…..

    • Old Mickey 9.1

      That’s a shame, with Winston’s support that’s a dead giveaway that nothing will change anytime soon. This is a topic not suitable for gotcha politics, and it would be nice to see some reasoned debate in the house rather than the usual “does the minister stand by all his statements”.

  9. peter 10

    Increasing our refugee quota will make zero fifference to this huge problem. How about putting our energies into lobbying the rich nations, like the Gulf States, to take up their responsilities as humans. It seems only the countries that are predominantly white and with a Christian background have even the slightest regard for helping others.

    • r0b 10.1

      Increasing our refugee quota will make zero fifference to this huge problem.

      And it will make the world of difference to 250 lives.

    • Tracey 10.2

      send 150 soldiers could be argued as not making any difference, putting less than 1% into the new asian bank won’t make any difference, and yet, and yet, this government does that.

      It will make 100% difference to those humans we accept over the current limit

    • Colonial Rawshark 10.3

      Hey Peter you heartless wretch, how dare you even claim a shred of Christianity as your own when you yourself have fuck all “regard for helping others.”

  10. Rolf 11

    The readers need to be aware that 99% of these so called refugees are not fleeing any unrest, they are simply illegal immigrants that want to take advantage of our generous welfare. Genuine refugees have a certain right to protection, but not free welfare on others expense. Do like Australia, send them to other countries like PNG where they can build their new life, and support them in doing so. Europe has been overrun by false refugees, murder, crime, street shootings, fraud, street rape has become the result. Learn from others mistake.

    • vto 11.1

      it is a globalised world in absolutely every single sense except people movement….. people should be able to go wherever they want like money can, like junk can, like armies can, like weapons can, like movies can, like the internet can, like … the list goes on

      let the people go wherever they want

      this is the free market brought to its ultimate conclusion

      bring it on

      • greywarshark 11.1.1

        @vto +1

        Rolf you stay true to form. You always say things that make any moral person feel uncomfortable to share the page with you. If peoples iives are continually being disrupted by fighting and destruction of their houses and gardens then they are forced to flee. if they want to live, want to protect their children from injury, death, rape or enforced service for a vile and degenerate band then they must abandon their homeland and seek a place for themselves somewhere else on earth.

        NZ is part of the military and political group causing much of the problem. It is only fair that we accept part of the human fallout from our machinations.

    • Tracey 11.2

      “that 99% of these so called refugees are not fleeing any unrest”

      which refugees, do you mean the ones on the boats that aren’t coming here? Or others?

    • Tracey 11.3

      “Europe has been overrun by false refugees, murder, crime, street shootings, fraud, street rape has become the result”

      Cos Europe had been inhabited by humans for a few hundred years with no murder, crime, street shootings, fraud, street rape. It only started with illegal migrants.

      🙄

      Is it ok to send murderers, criminals, street rapists and shooters to PNG instead of here or Australia?

      • peter 11.3.1

        It is sad but true that we simply cannot let these people in. Most are good people fleeing bad situations, but letting them in just drags our own economy and social structure down.

        We or rather that pathetic body of crooks called the UN should be pressuring the despotic regimes and the bigotted selfish religions ike Myanmar and Buddhism to reduce the pressure for these people to want or need to leave. Go to the sour e 9f he problem, not putting a band aid on the symptoms.

        • Macro 11.3.1.1

          What a load of utter tosh!

          Have you any credible evidence that refugees will “drag our economy and social structures down”, or is that your obvious racial prejudice speaking? Do you know any people in this country who have arrived here as refugees? Obviously not – because if you were to actually do some investigation of just how well these people have integrated and worked in our society, you would never have written such a stupid thing.

          • peter 11.3.1.1.1

            When someone has to resort to abuse a d personal attacks, it is THAT person who has both a stupidity and lack of knowledge a d confidence in their own thoughts and arguments. Please refrain from your racist and vacuous and abusive rants.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 11.3.1.1.1.1

              Yes, because projecting your own ethics onto refugees is totes legit.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 11.3.1.1.1.2

              PS: Macro makes no remarks about you personally – learn the difference between criticising your racist behaviour and a personal attack.

              “You wrote an idiotic racist comment” is different from “you are a racist idiot”, whether or not both statements are true.

            • Colonial Rawshark 11.3.1.1.1.3

              Hey peter you fucker

              Inhumans like you should be escorted on to a small island and kept there. Preferably not one of the ones belonging to NZ.

            • greywarshark 11.3.1.1.1.4

              It’s a shame Peter that people take notice of the tosh you write, and get all excited. You are quite right that people shouldn’t resort to personal attacks.
              The way you should be treated, is to be ignored until you learn to apply your mind to reality and accept we have to care about each other if we are to function as highly intelligent and knowledgable moral people. We also need to accept responsibility for our actions in taking part in wars and being complicit in damage to others’ lives.

              • infused

                You will find it is a view backed by a lot of New Zealanders. And you only have to watch the EU to see how this is all playing out.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  When you look at Europe, you look at it through your little piggy centre right eyes, distorted by hate-speech and ignorance.

                  Please add some links so we know exactly what you’re blithering about.

                • miravox

                  Trying to compare the European situation with a couple of percent increase in numbers for NZ is not really relevant.

                  Compare – World bank data shows NZ accepted 1,403 refugees (2010-14 data) .

                  Austria accepted 55,598 in the same period. NZ would be having to take in around 20,000 over that period to make somewhere near a fair comparison (Austria pop 8.4 million).

                  These figures have substantially increased this year, more than 10,000 people filed for asylum in the first three months of this year. In May alone nearly 300 people per week sought refuge. We see some of these poor people queuing up early in the morning for their papers at the police admin centre down the road from us.

                  Even doubling the 750 NZ has agreed to accept is not going to come anywhere near the situation in Europe.

                  Totally invalid, fear-mongering, comparison there infused.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 11.4

      We’ll just have to take Rolf’s word for it that his ‘concern’ is based in reality, as opposed to racism and hate.

      Oh, who am I kidding – bigots waste no opportunity to spread their vile prejudice. Rolf is no exception.

      • peter 11.4.1

        Opposing illegal immigrant on economic and social grounds is being bigotted and racist? In my experience patronizing attitudes are the most racist positions of all.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 11.4.1.1

          they are simply illegal immigrants that want to take advantage of our generous welfare…Europe has been overrun by false refugees, murder, crime, street shootings, fraud, street rape has become the result.

          I’m sure you see this as the simple truth; to me it looks like a sort of insecurity blankie, a fog of prejudice caused by ignorance and stupidity in equal measures.

          “Illegal immigration” is a revealing frame, too. I thought we used to criticise the USSR for its closed borders and yet here you are, setting up gulags.

  11. Scintilla 12

    One of these days some powerful country is going to decide that NZ is relatively empty of people and just perfect for whoever they wish to resettle. They might be refugees from war-torn countries, or maybe just surplus population they don’t want anymore, kind of like how Australia was the penal colony for those who committed some heinous crime such as stealing food, or the master’s new boots. Maybe they will be the rich and entitled escaping climate change and setting up a new life down here.

    I wonder what our response will be?

    • Puckish Rogue 12.1

      Yeah nah, Australia would move to block not because they want to but more because Australia would see any invasion of NZ as a base to invade Australia

      Australia would then be backed up by the US so while its not impossible (after all the largest moslem country in the world isn’t that far away) its pretty damn unlikely

    • Colonial Rawshark 12.2

      Our politicians will sell them the country at a discount rate

      • Scintilla 12.2.1

        Yes, i suspect Australia would certainly act in his own interests, please let it not happen while Abbott is PM! We are very handy as the long term food farm next door. Australia/USA might see us as a useful refugee camp easily able to absorb 5 million people – and think of the economic growth! Massive opps for rentier lifestylers. Pretty sure JK’s Mates Rates will apply for those poised to profit from such a scheme.

        Doubling (or more) of our current population would transform our current society, which may be refreshing (like to think it could be great), but it could also become something else entirely. And there’s the rub. ‘Live and let live’ is my motto, but that motto is not shared by probably the majority of people on the planet. I loathe the idea that a more prescriptive, restrictive, suffocating values system might be imposed alongside more of the exploitative, resource pillaging, surveilled and stupidised twattery we already endure.

        It’s still possible to live on the fringe in NZ and follow your own path, but that space is quietly diminishing – that’s the freedom I fight to keep.

  12. Ad 13

    I’d feel a whole lot more comfortable about more refugees if we were allowed a broader debate about the total number and skill level of immigrants allowed into New Zealand in any one year. I’m not asking for an annual referendum on quotes. I’m asking for a decent debate about how fast immigration is changing the entire country, let alone Auckland.

    • cogito 13.1

      Better to have more well screened refugees of good character allowed into NZ than some current migrants who buy their way into NZ and then turn us into tenants in our own country.

      • Ad 13.1.1

        Disagree.
        Asians are over 23% of Auckland’s population.
        Chinese and Indians in particular have provided spectacular dynamism and wealth and confidence into Auckland over two decades. Asians are not foreigners here. They are us.

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