World Vision welcomes the scrapping of New Zealand’s discriminatory refugee quota restrictions

04 Oct 2019 by Gabriel Thomas, News Media Advisor
World Vision welcomes the scrapping of New Zealand’s discriminatory refugee quota restrictions

World Vision New Zealand welcomes today’s announcement that the Government will scrap discriminatory refugee quota restrictions, so refugees from the world’s most vulnerable places will be welcome here.

The restriction has only allowed refugees from the Middle East or Africa to settle in New Zealand if they already have family here. That has left people who are fleeing from some of the world’s most dangerous places with virtually no chance of coming to safety here. 

For example, the UN refugee agency has called on developed nations to prioritise resettlement from major crises such as the one in South Sudan. But only 12 South Sudanese have been resettled in New Zealand.

“We’re thrilled about this much-needed change,” says Grant Bayldon, National Director of World Vision New Zealand. “Sadly, many refugees know exactly what it means to be discriminated against, so there should be no place for further discrimination against them in New Zealand’s refugee policies. 

“Refugees need to believe they have the option of moving to a safer place. Resettlement in New Zealand is a lifeline; lifting these restrictions means that the refugees who need it most will be able to start a new life here.”

But World Vision does believe the Government has much further to go in terms of welcoming the refugees who have the most extreme need. “We’re disappointed that the allocation for refugees from the Middle East and Africa has effectively remained unchanged,” says Bayldon. “80-90% of people who the United Nations are asking countries like New Zealand to resettle are from Africa or the Middle East, so the fact that they can only make up less than a third of our intake is still not good enough.” 

“Two thirds of the world’s refugees currently live in Africa and the Middle East,” says World Vision New Zealand’s advocacy director Carsten Bockemuehl, who presented a petition to parliament earlier this year calling for this change. “Most of the refugees forced out by conflict in countries like South Sudan and Syria are living in neighbouring countries like Uganda or Lebanon. This move means New Zealand is poised to be a better global citizen, to do our bit to help deal with the refugee crisis. But there’s still more we could do to focus on the most vulnerable people in the world.”

Gabriel Thomas, News Media Advisor, World Vision New Zealand  |  ‚Äč+64 21 360 098