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National’s refugee backdown

Written By: - Date published: 9:01 am, September 5th, 2015 - 82 comments
Categories: aid, flip-flop, International, john key, Minister for International Embarrassment, national, Politics, same old national, Syria, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags:

refugee

It is absolutely predictable.  When the Young Nats ask the Government to urgently review the current refugee quota level you know a change is going to happen.

This is not the first absolutely heart breaking flow of humanity requiring urgent action by nation states.  But this is the first one that is not only televised but facebooked and twittered and youtubed.  Photos of dead three year old kids being washed ashore on Turkey’s beaches have grabbed everyone’s attention and determined that all of us, from the most sympathetic humanitarian left winger to the most obnoxious selfish right winger, have to do something about it.

And here in sleepy Aotearoa the focus groups have spoken.  John Key is preparing for an inglorious backdown that Crosby Textor will try to present as inspired leadership.

Four days ago Key was not moving.  TV3 had this report:

New Zealand’s refugee quota will stay at 750 a year, despite Opposition calls for more to be accepted.

Prime Minister John Key made that clear today after Labour, the Greens and United Future appealed for an urgent increase.

“I think we should continue the process we are going through,” Mr Key told reporters.

“We will have a review in 2016. We will assess our capacity and capability and whether we think it’s right to keep it at 750 or change it, and we will make the call.”

Then two days ago the language suddenly softened. From the Herald:

The New Zealand Government was considering fast-tracking a review of how many refugees it takes, Mr Key said today, as the humanitarian crisis escalates with millions fleeing war-torn Syria.

A review of New Zealand’s refugee quota is scheduled for next year. But as pressure mounts on the Government to do its bit in helping the millions displaced across Europe, Mr Key told reporters in Christchurch today that “we’re not ruling out doing more”.

“We’re not ruling out looking at whether there is more that we could possibly do earlier and maybe specifically in relation to what we are seeing at the moment.”

What is funny is the almost identical response to the issue being displayed by the English Conservatives.  It is almost as if they are being advised by the same organisation and conducting the same focus groups and getting the same results.

Two days ago the Guardian described the Conservative’s position in this way:

David Cameron faced accusations of heartlessness after he insisted Britain should not take any further refugees from the war-torn Middle East, as community groups prepared to show that councils in the UK are willing to take thousands more.

The prime minister knows he and the home secretary, Theresa May, will be pressured over the migration issue when parliament returns next week, but some senior Tory backbenchers said they expected Cameron to shift his ground after distressing pictures of a drowned child, who had been found washed up on a beach in Turkey, went viral.

Cameron insisted the best solution to the crisis was to bring peace and stability to the Middle East. During a visit to Northamptonshire, he said: “We have taken a number of genuine asylum seekers from Syrian refugee camps and we keep that under review, but we think the most important thing is to try to bring peace and stability to that part of the world.

“I don’t think there is an answer that can be achieved simply by taking more and more refugees.”

Then suddenly as quickly as you can say “what do the focus groups say?” there was a backflip.  Yesterday the Guardian reported this:

David Cameron has bowed to growing international and domestic demands that Britain take in more refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war by indicating that the UK would accept thousands more refugees.

Final details of the numbers, funding and planned location of the refugees, were being urgently sorted out in Whitehall, with local councils insisting the programme had to be fully funded by central government.

Cameron is expected to map out his new approach to the crisis after long arranged talks in Madrid on Friday with the Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy, originally convened to discuss Britain’s plans for reform of the European Union.

He may not be able to put a specific number on how many refugees the government is willing to take, but it is expected the government will make a Commons statement on Monday when parliament returns after the summer recess.

Cameron’s language has moved on from earlier when he described groups of refugees as a swarm.

Josie Pagani has an interesting take on the issue.  While she agrees something should be done now she still thinks that military intervention in Syria should occur and thinks that the increased power of surveillance introduced last year by the Government is a good thing.  Her view has Blairite middle way written all over it.

With both Labour and the Greens announcing their intention to seek the introduction of bills to double the quota this year in Labour’s case and to permanently increase the quota to a minimum of 1,000 per annum in the Green’s case National will have to come up with something.  Soon.  After all if Parliament can urgently take action to ensure that people can get boozed at 5 in the morning while watching a rugby game it has to be able to take action to try and help desperate homeless people that are moving to Europe en masse.

82 comments on “National’s refugee backdown ”

  1. Draco T Bastard 1

    Josie Pagani has an interesting take on the issue.

    Follow her suggestion and the refugees will be thrown into unknown territory with no friends, no relatives, no understanding of the local customs, unable to speak English and no support. She’s looking at it on pure numbers: 5000 people can easily take in 10 she reckons but she’s not even looking to see what support structures are there for the people who have been so catastrophically displaced.

    Her view has Blairite middle way written all over it.

    So, hard right with a smile and absolutely no consideration for the details.

  2. Lucy 2

    I think Key has missed the boat on this and his popularity may start its downward slope. The NZ people can forgive terrorizing a worker but making us look nasty and mean on the world stage is not cool.

  3. Lanthanide 3

    As much as we’re sure this focus-grouping is happening, how come no one has ever publicly said they’ve been focus-grouped by National?

    Or do we really mean “telephone polling by Curia”, which is not the same thing as a focus group at all?

  4. les 5

    has CT got Abbott singing from the same songsheet too?

  5. BM 6

    2017 National by a land slide.

    • Muttonbird 6.1

      Off topic. I hope the moderators see this.

      [I will allow it but I agree the link to the topic is tenuous in the extreme – MS]

      • BM 6.1.1

        I don’t think it’s off topic, I believe this will harm Labour severely come election time.

        On the topic of refugees I read that we don’t get to pick and choose what refugees come here that’s decided by the UNHCR.

        We could up our refugee quota and get no Syrian refugees at all.

        • Muttonbird 6.1.1.1

          The fact is that right wing governments the world over are flip-flopping like a boat full of trevally on the back of a photo of a drowned boy.

          It doesn’t take much to catch them out.

        • peterh 6.1.1.2

          You are talking the same crap, as Key. last year we applied for 100 Syrian refugees, 87 arrived the other 13 changed their mind, So who except Key stated that crap

        • peterh 6.1.1.3

          You are talking the same crap, as Key. last year we applied for 100 Syrian refugees, 87 arrived the other 13 changed their mind, So who except Key stated that crap

      • dukeofurl 6.1.2

        he doesnt mention Key was caught out telling blatant lies about the numbers of refugees ( another for the list BLip?)

        “Key admits getting refugee numbers wrong”
        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11469078

        As often mentioned here, Key is a past master at taking numbers and lying about them, this must have been a rare instance of him being forced to recant.
        He does his lying about numbers, regularly and flagrantly and never gets pulled up on it- until now.

        • BLiP 6.1.2.1

          Yep, got that one. Thank you very much for thinking of “The List”.

          Did you see that even after admitting he lied in that June 22 report from the Herald, he did the same thing – again – just the other day?

          You'd think at least one of those "Political Editors" covering the post Cabinet press conference might have mentioned it. Just a line or two in a report, or just repeating Denise's press release. But no. Oblivious to what's happening right in front of them they missed it, along with the even bigger story: the lies provide undeniable evidence of John Key's sociopathy.

          For months there's been international headlines about the plight of all those people fleeing a war zone – an international arena where he's sent our troops into – and it never once crossed his twisted mind to have an ask-around about taking in a few extra refugees. Not even after he had appeared across the media for lying about this very situation. He feels no shame, couldn't give a fuck.

          In fact, he's disconnected from the hideous spectacle of human suffering on a massive scale and so unconcerned about his pathological lying he just blurts out another lie. And then yet another one. He feels no shame and doesn’t give a fuck.

          As far as he’s concerned, at the end of the day. a Prime Minister leads by example, especially when encouraging the people of the nation to feel overtly patriotic about and proud of New Zealand, No point in faffing about with demonstrating our suitability to participate meaningfully on the world stage and in the UN by doing what we can to ease human suffering. There’s important things to do. You know, really important things, like rolling out The Crosby/Textor Flag Optics Programme and, check this out, having a beer with Ritchie and the boys in the dressing room after a match. That’s what being a Kiwi is all about, mate.

          Go, Nu Zullund!!

    • Clemgeopin 6.2

      Try not to derail the post nor politicise this tragic humanitarian crisis on party lines.

      As a matter of fact, EVERY political party EXCEPT National are calling for increase in refugee numbers to help ease this great humanitarian crisis.

      Watch today’s Nation programme and listen to the panel at the end.

      By the way, the root cause of this tragedy was fur to the western war intervention, including New Zealand, in those regions. Surely, we bear some responsibility, don’t we?

      • Clemgeopin 6.2.1

        Whoops…2nd last line: (Correction)

        By the way, the root cause of this tragedy is due to the western war intervention,

      • Paul 6.2.2

        Blair and Bush’s invasion of Iraq in 2003 is the root cause.
        The US and its puppet state the UK create this nightmare.
        Remember Key supported that illegal invasion.

  6. Bill 7

    Oh dear. Pagani is even out of step with the international gang that some think she might be prospecting for.

    Cameron is backing off from air-strikes in Syria. It will only go before parliament if there is a general consensus to execute air-strikes.

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/sep/04/david-cameron-abandon-syria-airstrikes-vote-jeremy-corbyn-wins

    edit: Should say that I completely agree with her suggestion for a higher refugee intake. There are no excuses not to.

  7. greywarshark 8

    Countries right in the middle of the refugee problem like Hungary don’t have the option of sitting on their comfortable backsides like yek and his band of Notionals. The radio news this morning on Hungary shows that they have been not just reacting, they have been thinking and now are proactive to avoid a very nasty situation, from escalating to extreme. So a bad and troubling situation has been faced and pragmatic action has followed.

    Please don’t go to Hawaii at the moment Mr Key! Stay and do the job we pay you for all you bloated pollies and do it in a humanitarian way, don’t step back and say they brought their troubles on themselves by throwing their children in the water or similar to that Aussie cock-up. You know Oz actually take more refugees than we do, despite all their callous cant. So increase our intake to include those from the present refugee bulge which seems to have multiplied exponentially.

    The government in Hungary is offering buses to help get the refugees off the road and take them to their next destination. They are dealing with the present situation there and having to deal with reality, not talk about what is ideal. It is time we did more and humanity demands it. But also we must take responsibility for being involved in the battles and turmoil and destruction etc that we have participated in to some level, by sending troops over there.

    Good on you Labour for making a push for greater numbers. But the small number suggested should not have to be begged for, it requires a determined Opposition to force action from the Right.

    • Bill 8.1

      You’re aware that the Hungarian president has been spouting a pile of Islamophobic nonsense, yes?

      Hungary closed the border with Serbia, apparently used tear gas on refugees and is washing its hands of the whole thing by saying it’s essentially Germany’s problem.

      There’s nothing thoughtful or pragmatic about Hungary’s reaction.

      • greywarshark 8.1.1

        I would say that it was entirely pragmatic to offer buses to take the refugees where they want to go. I have heard about Hungary’s leader who doesn’t sound like a statesman! But they have done something intelligent so got to give them some kudos for that.

        It is making a virtue out of necessity for sure. But I didn’t say that the Hungarian leader is a great guy. I just said that he and his bunch were faced with difficulty and had to do something. And seemed to have handled a difficult situation without too much violence. Somebody must have got hurt in all the jostling and controlling by the law enforcers. But I haven’t heard what they were.

        joe 90 gives some examples of the sentiment and morality of the country helping roadside refugees.

        Thanks miravox for that great coverage of what is going on. We need to keep on top of this and perhaps NZ can not only take in a small number from the large pool of refugees but also speak in the UN with some of our NO.8 fencing wire mentality going to the heart of the matter as to how we can help those people still back home in Syria or wherever so they can stay there.

        • miravox 8.1.1.1

          You’re welcome grey.

          I don’t think it was a pragmatic solution to put on the buses. The pragmatic thing to do would have been to allow the international trains to run. It was cancelling these that led to the walk. The buses were arse-covering – the photos were dreadful and would have been so much worse is someone was killed walking along the main highway. Even then not all refugees would be taking the bus after the last offer of a ride by train led to a diversion to a refugee camp.

          Meanwhile as the Keleti camp in Budapest rapidly emptied out, the handful still remaining kept asking: “Is it a trick?”

          “They say they take us to Austria, but won’t they just take us to a camp like they did with the train?” said Hadi Rostani, a 24-year-old from Afghanistan’s south-west. Several of his friends had thought they were getting a train to Germany, only for it to be stopped near a refugee camp that Hungarian authorities tried to corral passengers without papers into.

    • miravox 8.2

      The Hungarian government is not as benevolent as you portray Greyrawshark

      http://www.euronews.com/2015/07/30/thousands-in-peril-over-hungarys-new-asylum-crackdown-says-amnesty/

      Hundreds of mostly Syrian refugees have begun marching to the Austrian border after being prevented from boarding trains to Germany in the Hungarian capital Budapest.

      http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/09/refugees-march-austria-hungary-blocks-trains-150904124334547.html

      …Amnesty International says a new law, which comes into force on Saturday (August 1), is likely to see migrants arriving in Hungary sent back to Serbia, FYR Macedonia and Greece, where they face “violence and indifference from authorities”.
      It says the new legislation is Hungary’s “thinly-veiled attempt to dodge its asylum obligations under international law”.
      Amnesty says Hungary has had around 86,000 asylum applications so far this year, with up to 70 percent of them refugees fleeing conflict in Syria.
      But not all stay. Firstly Budapest has a history of rejecting asylum applications, last year it turned down 90 percent of initial claims, according to Eurostat. Secondly, say Amnesty, many claimants move on to other parts of the EU before they know the outcome.

      http://www.dw.com/en/hungary-passes-tough-new-laws-against-border-violators-amid-refugee-surge/a-18694948 [yesterday]

      Under the new laws, trespassing in border zones will become a criminal act, smuggling people will be punishable by 20 years in prison and registration centers will be erected at points along the border.

      The Hungarian president seems to think he has some kind of duty to protect
      Christian’ Europe from the ‘Muslim millions’
      http://www.wsj.com/articles/migrants-storm-train-station-in-hungary-1441268482

      Mr. Orban warned that the visa-free policy known as Schengen “is under threat at this moment” because external borders aren’t being properly reinforced. He said if there is no effort to increase security on the EU’s external borders, “tens of millions” of migrants would come to seek a better life in the EU.

      http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/03/migration-crisis-hungary-pm-victor-orban-europe-response-madness

      “Those arriving have been raised in another religion, and represent a radically different culture. Most of them are not Christians, but Muslims,” he said. “This is an important question, because Europe and European identity is rooted in Christianity.
      “Is it not worrying in itself that European Christianity is now barely able to keep Europe Christian? There is no alternative, and we have no option but to defend our borders.”

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2015/09/03/muslims-threaten-europes-christian-identity-hungarys-leader-says/

      It is ironic that the man who wants to save Europe’s Christian identity used to have no Christian identity himself. “Once an atheist, he now upholds religion as the nation’s backbone,”

      Despite Hungary only having to let refugees through to Austria and Germany, the government seems set on ‘protecting’ Europe from these desperate people
      http://www.worldbulletin.net/hungarian-parliament-introduces-harsh-anti-refugee-laws/163925/hungarian-parliament-introduces-harsh-anti-refugee-laws

      The new measures include three-year jail terms for people climbing over the newly built razor wire fence on the border with Serbia, as well as new border “transit zones” to hold asylum seekers while their applications are being processed.

      Lawmakers also declared a “state of crisis caused by mass immigration”, which allows the police and army to assist in registering asylum-applications and operate detention facilities in registration camps.

      “If we do not protect our borders, tens of millions of migrants will keep coming to Europe,” right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban said in a statement on Friday.
      “If we allow everyone in, that is the end of Europe. We may one morning wake up and realise that we are in the minority on our own continent.”

      While acknowledging the heroic efforts of Hungarian relief workers, this country, courtesy of its leader is no friend of refugees from the Middle East. Just the opposite.

      • joe90 8.2.1

        Some Hungarians are trying to help.

        Eleanor Beardsley
        ‏@ElBeardsley

        Hungarians waiting by the highway with food to give to the refugees who will arrive on foo… http://ift.tt/1VD1jki

        edit: this too

        Hans Rosling förklarar flyktingkrisen.

        Hans Rosling förklarar flyktingkrisen och var de flesta som flyr befinner sig idag.Vill du hjälpa: Svenska Röda Korset samlar just nu in pengar till flyktingarna. http://stod.redcross.se/skank-valfritt-belopp/katastrofhjalpen/

        Posted by Jag vill hjälpa on Thursday, 3 September 2015

        • miravox 8.2.1.1

          Yes, that’s part of what I meant by my final sentence. Thanks for expanding on it. Chances are some of these people will run foul of the new laws to ‘protect Europe’ too.

        • miravox 8.2.2.1

          Ta for that link.

          4,000 through so far – and the Hungarian authorities are still being arses…

          Hans Peter Doskozil, chief of police in the Austrian province of Burgenland, said two special trains had been arranged to take migrants from the border town of Nickelsdorf to the capital Vienna, after they had been brought by bus by Hungarian authorities.

          However, he claimed that Hungary was refusing to let Austrian buses enter Hungary to pick them and deliver them to the trains, meaning they had to walk in rain and darkness.

          “Our biggest problem is that the Hungarians – after checking back with Budapest – are refusing to let our buses enter their territory and pick up the refugees,” he said.

          He added: “We offered them that they can bring the refugees directly to the trains, or to the shelter [on the Austrian side], but they just stop the buses on the Hungarian side, everyone has to get off in the rain.”

          I just hope the Austrians have had enough time to organise properly. Should have, I guess.

    • mickysavage 9.1

      That is not going to do it.

      Interesting that the UNHCR announced it and not Key. And that McCully and Woodhouse refused to appear on the Nation this morning.

      Stand by for further incremental change. Reminds me of that famous chant of the conservatives,

      What do we want?

      Incremental change

      When do we want it?

      Some time in the future …

    • Bill 9.2

      Hmm. No confirmation. I’m guessing the final number will be a bit higher – just enough to neutralise Labour’s call for 1000. And just enough to kick The Green’s longer term proposal into the long grass.

      Labour should have called for the 5000 that countries of a similar size to NZ have previously committed to. (That’s based on the call made a few months back by a Westminster based foreign affairs spokesperson for the UK to take in 60 000 refugees)

      I’m picking that NZ Labour based the inadequate 1000 on Yvette Cooper’s recent proposed total for the UK. Her proposal would require Scotland (similar population to NZ) to take 1000 refugees. Meanwhile, the Scottish government has indicated that it views 1000 as a bare minimum and is pressuring for a greater UK uptake.

      And yes, it was the SNP’s foreign affairs spokesperson who called for the UK to accept 60 000.

      • Clemgeopin 9.2.1

        ” just enough to neutralise Labour’s call for 1000′

        Labour is asking for an immediate emergency doubling of the quota for this year. i.e, from 750 to 1,500 as a response to the crisis.

        • Bill 9.2.1.1

          Yup, my bad. An extra 750, not 1000. Ridiculously low as opposed to inadequately low number then.

          The point – that I suspect they are taking pointers from overseas (specifically the UK and the Labour Party there) still stands though.

    • Molly 9.3

      Paul, I’m guessing that is the magic figure that the “team” has come up with that can be used to placate their supporters who want absolutely no increase, and those with still beating hearts that have indicated a disgust with current levels.

      National continues to rule by poll and disconnect.

  8. Clemgeopin 10

    The NATION on TV3 this morning had excellent interviews and information about the refugee crisis and about NZ role. Worth watching.

    I was particularly very impressed with the race relation’s commissioner, Dame Susan Decoy’s views on it. 10/10.

    Also the panel at the end was very good.

    Do watch the programmer if you can.

    [lprent: The links are..

    The Nation
    Susan Devoy
    Panel

    The Nation these days is actually worth watching TV and putting up with the adverts (albeit in my case via the net). Very little else is. ]

    • Paul 10.1

      Any chance you could summarise points made?

    • les 10.2

      still cant figure out how/why a pronk like Jamie Whyte is invited onto panels.

      • Clemgeopin 10.2.1

        He is Ok, apart from being burdened with the ACT’s thoughtless libertarian stupid/impractical/unrealistic selfish and mad ideology. But today, he did very well.

        In my opinion, the commentator that is pretty clueless, dumb and useless and should never be allowed to grace any panel slot is Tau Henare. He says almost nothing of intelligence or value. Basically a waste of space, fees and time.

      • marty mars 10.2.2

        I agree les – that guy has zero credibility – for some reason they see ex or failed politicians as the go to people for these things – dimwits.

    • Clemgeopin 10.3

      Correction : Typing error line 3/4

      Dame Susan Devoy’s …..(not Decoy’s)

      [The letters on my new key board which I bought less than a year ago have worn out resulting in too many spelling errors! Will buy another, hopefully a better KB shortly]

  9. dv 11

    The Government is reportedly agreeing to take an extra 100 Syrian refugees.

    The UN Refugee Agency praised the increase on TV3’s The Nation on Saturday morning.

    UNHCR spokeswoman Ariane Rummery from Switzerland told the show: “New Zealand has responded to our call to [look at the number of resettlement places it offers to Syrian refugees].

    Should New Zealand take more refugees?
    Share your stories, photos and videos.
    “It’s said it will take 100 Syrian refugees from the major refugee hosting countries in the region. That’s on top of its normal quota. So that’s a great start.”

    THIS comment struck me as VERY odd.

    The Prime Minister’s office was refusing to confirm or deny the statement.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/71773401/new-zealand-takes-an-extra-100-refugees–report

  10. and now the plight of the refugees will become a political pointscoring exercise for the right – key will do the minimum he can get away with and will be lauded as a hero – the “who will pay for it” line the right spinners are using shows their lack of empathy, their distorted priorities and their weakness – they will reap what they sow.

  11. Rolf 13

    First, we need to remember that most of these people are not refugees, they are settlers. What is happening is the same as when North America was colonized by European settlers. Secondly, I don’t blame them. Take a look where they come from. All countries where there is USA supported or initiated wars. What is the USA doing about it, only more threats, intimidation and violence. USA is not helping. Asylum means a right to protection, not a right to immigrate or settle, not a right to others welfare and social services. The best we can do is to help them where they are, and put pressure on the US to go home.

    • dv 13.1

      First, we need to remember that most of these people are not refugees, they are settlers.

      SOURCE!!!

    • Paul 13.2

      You like John Key need to learn about empathy.

    • Foreign waka 13.3

      Rolf, please tell us what in your point of view constitutes a settler and what a refugee.
      I do see your point, and yes it is true – it’s the instigated wars that are now showing the results. It is a war of 2 main religious fractions, Sunni and Shia – essentially. Many countries are behind the scenes having their hand in the game, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, US on one side and Iran, Russia on the other. The average person on the street will have to choose between those fractions – or choose peace and flee.
      Many of those crossing the border are fleeing from this war with its unimaginable brutality and they are clearly refugees.
      If we want to change anything, we need to act humanly and with a passion for the right of any individual to enjoy a peaceful life. War clearly is not the answer, neither a stance that would deny any basics to people in need.
      No one says that this will solve the conflict but any decent human being would agree that this is the only right thing to do if any of the rhetoric was not just a spoken word.

    • marty mars 13.4

      they are not settlers, they are refugees.

  12. Pat 14

    “What is funny is the almost identical response to the issue being displayed by the English Conservatives. It is almost as if they are being advised by the same organisation and conducting the same focus groups and getting the same results.”

    can only assume this comment is tongue in cheek given we all know Crosby Textor are advising both groups?

  13. ianmac 15

    Now Key has denied that he would increase the quota by 100.
    “Prime Minister John Key has rejected claims this morning the government is opening the gates to extra Syrian refugees.

    This morning, United Nations refugee agency spokeswoman Ariane Rummery told TV3’s The Nation that the government had agreed on taking on an extra 100 Syrian refugees.”

  14. Keith 16

    What Key meant when he said he was taking advice was he was working Curia’s arse off polling and focus grouping! Government by poll!

  15. Finbar 17

    What money got you on this journey.Yes our social care is open caring.Dare we political our social party usery.What party has your monied philosophy got about fairness.

  16. Finbar 18

    What is your pin numbers care of those borders questions.

  17. joe90 20

    “Home”

    no one leaves home unless
    home is the mouth of a shark
    you only run for the border
    when you see the whole city running as well

    your neighbors running faster than you
    breath bloody in their throats
    the boy you went to school with
    who kissed you dizzy behind the old tin factory
    is holding a gun bigger than his body
    you only leave home
    when home won’t let you stay.
    no one leaves home unless home chases you
    fire under feet
    hot blood in your belly
    it’s not something you ever thought of doing
    until the blade burnt threats into
    your neck
    and even then you carried the anthem under
    your breath
    only tearing up your passport in an airport toilets
    sobbing as each mouthful of paper
    made it clear that you wouldn’t be going back.
    you have to understand,
    that no one puts their children in a boat
    unless the water is safer than the land
    no one burns their palms
    under trains
    beneath carriages
    no one spends days and nights in the stomach of a truck
    feeding on newspaper unless the miles travelled
    means something more than journey.
    no one crawls under fences
    no one wants to be beaten
    pitied
    no one chooses refugee camps
    or strip searches where your
    body is left aching
    or prison,
    because prison is safer
    than a city of fire
    and one prison guard
    in the night
    is better than a truckload
    of men who look like your father
    no one could take it
    no one could stomach it
    no one skin would be tough enough
    the
    go home blacks
    refugees
    dirty immigrants
    asylum seekers
    sucking our country dry
    niggers with their hands out
    they smell strange
    savage
    messed up their country and now they want
    to mess ours up
    how do the words
    the dirty looks
    roll off your backs
    maybe because the blow is softer
    than a limb torn off
    or the words are more tender
    than fourteen men between
    your legs
    or the insults are easier
    to swallow
    than rubble
    than bone
    than your child body
    in pieces.
    i want to go home,
    but home is the mouth of a shark
    home is the barrel of the gun
    and no one would leave home
    unless home chased you to the shore
    unless home told you
    to quicken your legs
    leave your clothes behind
    crawl through the desert
    wade through the oceans
    drown
    save
    be hunger
    beg
    forget pride
    your survival is more important
    no one leaves home until home is a sweaty voice in your ear
    saying-
    leave,
    run away from me now
    i dont know what i’ve become
    but i know that anywhere
    is safer than here

    Warsan Shire

    • Clemgeopin 20.1

      Very powerful poem.
      Thanks, joe90

      http://seekershub.org/blog/2015/09/home-warsan-shire/

      Warsan Shire is a Kenyan-born Somali poet, writer and educator based in London. Born in 1988, Warsan has read her work extensively all over Britain and internationally – including recent readings in South Africa, Italy, Germany, Canada, North America and Kenya- and her début book, ‘TEACHING MY MOTHER HOW TO GIVE BIRTH’ (flipped eye), was published in 2011. Her poems have been published in Wasafiri, Magma and Poetry Review and in the anthology ‘The Salt Book of Younger Poets’ (Salt, 2011). She is the current poetry editor at SPOOK magazine. In 2012 she represented Somalia at the Poetry Parnassus, the festival of the world poets at the Southbank, London. She is a Complete Works II poet. Her poetry has been translated into Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. Warsan is also the unanimous winner of the 2013 Inaugural Brunel University African Poetry Prize.

      Born: 1988, Kenya
      Notable awards: Brunel University African Poetry Prize, London Legacy Development Corporation

  18. Clemgeopin 21

    Aunt’s heartbreak over Syrian boys’ death.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34149755

    Speaking at the burial for his wife and sons, Alan Kurdi’s father Abdullah said: “I have no future any more. My future is gone”
    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-34150364

  19. fisiani 22

    Little huffs and puffs and Honest John comes out smelling of roses. Typical. No wonder Little is polling just 8.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 22.1

      The PM’s going through Crosby/Textor odour eaters like there’s no tomorrow, but some smells do linger.

      “On a trip to White Sands Missile Range, Toftoy met a Texan man who was prone to making unbelievable statements. Whenever anyone expressed doubt about the man’s claims, he would respond, “Why, around these parts, I’m called ‘Honest John!'””

    • appleboy 22.2

      Prat. Key changed his views based on internal polling showing he was out of step. Honest John? Oh that’s right you live on planet key

  20. infused 23

    You are going to see a massive push back in these countries and right wing govts elected to sort it out. This pussy footing by the EU is going to be pretty damaging.

    Worst is they are going to get extreme right wing govts.

    Federica Mogherin is the only one talking sense.

    • locus 23.1

      Remarks at a press conference two weeks ago, by Federica Mogherini – Italian politician and EU representative for Foreign Affairs and Security
      http://eeas.europa.eu/statements-eeas/2015/150824_02_en.htm

      we should do more is to work together also with Turkey, but also with other countries, not only to support them in hosting this large number of refugees, but also to help in the management of the flow

      so please Mr Key,
      – be a statesman
      – be an inspirational Prime Minister for New Zealand
      – put the politics aside
      – do the right thing on behalf of all caring New Zealanders
      – work together with these countries
      – right now!
      – show us you have a heart

  21. Tory 24

    This “hand wringing” has not been evident for the 14 off so migrants who have died in Calais this year boarding trains, I guess the liberal media had other priorities and it goes to show how well the media manipulate public opinion.
    Interesting debates on CNN and BBC here in Europe today about no current checks and balances to identify IS operatives (IS promised 500,000 migrants), concerns developing in Sweden post IKEA killings of 2 residents by 2 asylum seekers and concerns in Germany that only 25% of asylum seekers end up in employment. Also interesting that Germany Is deporting Roma and Kosovo migrants as they are deemed to be economic migrants.
    While the left shed their “crocodile tears” (can’t recall the debate for the immediate increase of migrants from Congo, Sudan, Pakistan etc) the uncontrolled mass migration of economic migrants (potentially infiltrated with jihadists) will end in tears and that includes NZ.

    • locus 24.1

      Tory – let me take a flying leap – nobody here agrees with your negative, politically motivated bile….

      Most commenting here have shown a concern for the desperate plight of ordinary people whose lives have been torn asunder by war

      These hundreds of thousands of war refugees need our help now – they have escaped from the hell that their countries have become and common decency and humanity is what we should be offering

  22. Thinker 25

    Turning from the main point of the discussion, and not wanting to downplay the real issue here, I’m interested by the letter from the Young Nats, essentially alerting what we might for a moment call the ‘Old Nats’ (without trying to put them down).

    It almost hints of an end to the generation of the “beggar-thy-neighbour at an individual level” attitude that has bedevilled this country since the Douglas/Reagan/Thatcher years.

    The letter seems to me to be saying “Look, getting rich and balancing the books are great goals, but there’s a point at which we have to recognise that we have a humanitarian crisis here that puts those goals into a different perspective”. If so, then all credit to them. It shouldn’t have been necessary to make that point, but it was a point well-made.

    Maybe, after all, NZ can get back to its reputation for looking out for each other, in my lifetime. I really hope so.

  23. Steve Wrathall 26

    We’re being played like a violin. Now these migrants are trading in fake Syrian passports in order to be able to tell the right sob story. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34150408

    • dv 26.1

      We’re being played like a violin

      Yes YOU may well be being played.

    • vto 26.2

      We’re being played like a violin. Now the warmongers Key and Cameron and Abbott are trading in fake middle east terrorists in order to be able to tell the right war story and justify their bombing and killing of people…

      you shit in your own nest

  24. Alas, we are seeing the start of another feedback loop kicking it. What with global economic collapse, and climate change, there are going to be millions more joining the crowds fleeing strife torn places around the world.
    There are something like 59 million displaced persons or refugees currently on the move or stuck in camps/caves/forests, or wherever they can hide, and as we are seeing with Germany issuing open invitations to 800,000 people, if they can get across the flaming trench that is the Mediterranean and surrounding countries, the refugees are just going to keep coming, they have nothing to lose, its a bit like all the passengers fleeing steerage on the Titanic, ‘we’ are going to have to lock the doors, the life rafts are fast filling, to the point where everyone will drowned.
    It doesn’t matter if you are right, left, or center, at some point we hit maximum population for any given area, New Zealand hit that back when the Maoris ran out of Moa, now we are passed peak energy, peak top soil, and as we are going to find out this summer peak water ) = peak human habitat.
    Take oil out of the equation, and NZs population/carrying capacity will plummet.
    This is what end times looks like, when humans revert back to the survivalists at any cost, that we are, we will revert to cannibalism when there is nothing left to eat, like in China back in 1960 ish “You eat my child, I will eat yours”
    Funny how ‘we’ can ignore all the ‘refugees sitting in camps around the planet, but when they start turning up dead on the tourist beaches, or jamming up our railway stations, the MSM take notice, dead children makes great press. Especially that little boy, who looked so like ‘US’.
    I think we should have more children 1- to replace the ones we aren’t looking after now, and 2- clearly the planet hasn’t got enough humans yet.
    Don’t forget every politician is 100% fine with environmental destruction, because they all support Kiwi Saver, which is dependent on continued environmental destruction, that is what GROWTH is after all.
    Not long now before the ‘pregnant’ will be looked upon with sadness, and contempt at their foolishness – having a child now is tantamount to manslaughter, murder if you understand how fucked their short future will be, and just out and out SELFISH.
    http://guymcpherson.com/2014/01/climate-change-summary-and-update/
    Published on Sep 4, 2015
    Join Jennifer Hynes as she offers us an in-depth look at Runaway Feedback Loops and the situation in the Arctic and the world and she explains the odds that things will rapidly spiral out of control soon, escalating into near term extinction a few decades from now.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L19JBY0kNmo
    Lucky we have an informed populous and leaders who tell the truth. – where is my beer

  25. Rolf 28

    What we observe is the same as when North America was colonized. People were not happy in Europe, so they en masse crossed the Atlantic and settled in North America, and replaced the original population, the Indians, who now are marginalized in reserves. This is all very well described in a series of book by late Swedish author Wilhelm Moberg. It makes interesting reading. The same thing happens now in Africa and the Middle East, and the target is now wealthy western nations suitable for colonization. Sweden is mentioned, it has the most advance social welfare system of any, and it is reported that these migrants are living very well on generous welfare for ten years. Medical care for them is completely free, and they don’t have to pay the fees as locals do. Critics of the immigration, specifically an experienced journalist called Julia Caesar, are harassed in their homes, other journalists like Niklar Orrenius, regularly bang on her door and stand starring at her through her windows to intimidate her.

  26. Raf 29

    I’m amused at the number of people who say that allowing in a few hundred refugees is just a drop in the bucket and therefore not worth bothering with, when at the same time the presence of handful of NZ military personnel in the Middle East apparently amounts to vital assistance.

  27. fisiani 30

    The number of refugees arriving in New Zealand will increase. That is a certainty. The government will get the credit for this. That too is a certainty. The visceral hatred of John Key exhibited here is just an expression of the complete inability of the Left to shift voting intentions. People are not going to consider switching from National to parties of the Left whilst the political phenomenon that is John Key is PM. Perhaps when he retires in 2026 there might be a shift.

  28. Gangnam Style 31

    The back down, up to 500 more over 3 years, thats quite pathetic really. The report still claiming we take 750 a year (when that has been proven wrong). http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/71789199/prime-minister-bows-to-pressure-to-accept-more-refugees

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