Refugee bill will be pulled if Govt response is meaningful

Published: Mon 7 Sep 2015 10:04 AM
Opposition Leader
7 September 2015 MEDIA STATEMENT
Emergency refugee bill will be pulled if Govt response is meaningful
Labour will pull its Emergency Humanitarian Response Bill if John Key’s plan to assist in the refugee crisis is meaningful and addresses the urgent nature of events, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.
“We welcome the Government’s indications that it will allow hundreds of Syrian refugees into New Zealand as a move in the right direction. This issue is not about politics. It is about doing our best by some of the world’s most vulnerable people and acting as the good global citizen we have always been.
“Labour has plans to introduce a bill to Parliament tomorrow which would allow an additional 750 refugees into New Zealand over the next year. Organisations have indicated to us that with the right resources and political will, this is the number that could be taken in.
“If John Key’s announcement this afternoon offers similar relief to these people then there will be no need for the bill, which has significant cross party support. New Zealanders have made it very clear we are a welcoming people, keen to stand up and do our bit. Now is our chance to do that.
“Our response in situations like this says everything about who we are as a nation – more than any change in flag ever could. I believe the Government has finally heard that call and is now responding.
“This is an urgent situation and our response must be urgent too. While Labour supports a long-term rise in the refugee quota to at least 1000 per year, the crisis in Europe requires greater action now,” Andrew Little says.

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