Ardern blind-sided by Peters on refugee quota

An announcement by Winston Peters has asserted a difference between him and Labour’s plans to increase refuge quotas.

The National led Government increased New Zealand’s refugee quota from 750 to 1,000 in 2016, extending a 500 intake of Syrian refugees over two years.

Last year Labour campaigned to increase the quota to 1,500. They allowed for this in this year’s budget. This was reiterated in June – NZ works to double refugee quota as others close their borders:

As countries around the world look to close their borders to refugees and other migrants, New Zealand is working on its plan to lift its refugee intake to 1500 a year.

It’s a move that is being watched around the world, with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern having taken a strong stance on the issue, and New Zealand having adopted a community sponsorship model for refugees that has been specifically mentioned by the United Nations as it drafts its latest refugee strategy.

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway is standing firmly behind the 1500 commitment, saying he is currently working on a Cabinet proposal.

The proposal to lift the quota is expected to get support from coalition partners, with NZ First supporting an increase in the number of refugees ahead of the election, provided people were settled in areas with adequate jobs and housing.

But Peters seems to think otherwise. RNZ: Labour and NZ First differ over refugee increase

In the May budget it put aside $6.2 million over four years of new operating funding, along with $7.7 million over four years to build and operate two new accommodation blocks at the centre.

But yesterday as he touched down on Nauru for the Pacific Islands Forum, Winston Peters, threw the government a curve ball.

“We never made a commitment to double the refugee quota.”

“We’ve got 50,000 people who are homeless back home, and I can show you parts of the Hokianga and elsewhere, parts of Northland, with people living in degradation.

“We have to fix their lives up as well before we start taking on new obligations of the level that some people would like.”

One of those people who ‘would like’ is Jacinda Ardern.

“I would want to check the context of all of those questions [to Mr Peters], but as I’ve said that commitment still remains.”

Ardern was obviously taken by surprise by Peters asserting his position of the quota.

“We haven’t finalised all the details of that commitment, but that remains part of our policy.

“It hasn’t come through cabinet, that’s an accurate representation, but that is still a commitment that we have.”

This appears to be either a reneging on agreed commitments by Peters, or another case of Labour failing to ensure they have coalition support for one of their policies – see Government’s three strikes repeal killed by NZ First:

Justice Minister Andrew Little was forced to backtrack on the proposed repeal that he was planning to take to Cabinet on Monday after NZ First indicated it wouldn’t support it.

One could also ask why Peters has thrown a spanner in Labour’s refugee works at this time, when he is in Nauru and before Ardern arrives there. It has certainly shifted attention from quibbles over costs of travel that was focussed on Ardern.

Was it calculated attention seeking by Peters, to make it clear that Foreign Affairs is his domain?

Or does it go further than that, with Peters making it clear that he is the tail wagging the Labour mutt?

Image result for tail wagging dog

29 Comments

  1. David

     /  September 4, 2018

    Maybe Arderns ridiculous trip there was to get the photo op with the refugees and bring a few home with her on the empty plane and Peters saw how that would blow up so saved her from herself.

    • Ridiculous? I think it’s fairly normal for the Prime Minister to attend the Pacific Forum.

      • David

         /  September 4, 2018

        Ridiculous in having to put on a special plane for her, Winston clearly makes all the decisions anyway.

        • robertguyton

           /  September 4, 2018

          In making the decision to take the flight, Jacinda will have taken into account the kind of negativity that David’s exhibiting here and decided, ah, to hell with him! 🙂

          • artcroft

             /  September 4, 2018

            And the climate.

            • robertguyton

               /  September 4, 2018

              Headline: Ardern the cause of global warming!!
              Thought you didn’t believe in it, artcroft?

            • David

               /  September 4, 2018

              Answer the question Robert, what about the carbon footprint of a 10 hour flight for one person when she has the experience pf Peters there and she could easily Skype.

            • robertguyton

               /  September 4, 2018

              “Answer the question Robert”(despite the snotty tone).
              Sure, David. Your question is: “what about the carbon footprint…etc.”
              Prime Ministers necessarily have a large carbon footprint – whaddaryagonnado? Stop the leaders of the countries of the world travelling to meetings outside of their countries? Make them send their deputies and stay at home themselves, skyping? My answer is; it’s an issue de minimus. Now, David: answer my questions (there are 3 of them).

            • David

               /  September 4, 2018

              You still havent answered mine Robert. She is there for 1 day and will pump tons of CO2 into the atmosphere for a photo op I question if she really does love the planet or if she is an Al Gore type hypocrite. I question your Green credentials too where you chose party over planet, Robert do you not care anymore.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  September 4, 2018

        The issue is not whether she should go, but whether the people of NZ should pay for a seperate flight so that she doesn’t have to be away from the baby for a few days.

        It’s fair to ask if the extra fuel/carbon used for this is justified.

        If she paid the money herself, it would save the taxpayers’ money, but would do nothing to change the use of fuel and pollution caused by the plane.

        • robertguyton

           /  September 4, 2018

          Mean-spirited quibbling.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  September 4, 2018

            Not at all.

            It makes her look very hypocritical. She could easily have gone on the other plane.

            She is expecting everyone else to pay $80-100,000 for her to be with her baby, and I don’t think that this sort of money is remotely justifiable.

  2. Alloytoo

     /  September 4, 2018

    Peters is trying to distance himself from the slow train wreck that is this Labour government.

    • Corky

       /  September 4, 2018

      Agreed. Peters has been around long enough to smell the stench of political losers. If anyone can plot while being perceived as a loyal soldier, it’s Winston.

      • robertguyton

         /  September 4, 2018

        And of course, Corks!

        • Corky

           /  September 4, 2018

          Talking of loyal soldiers..they throw their bodies on grenades and take one for the team while cowards duck for cover. I wonder which one you will be around election time? Let’s hope the former. I love Jackson Pollock.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  September 4, 2018

          Robert, Corky doesn’t vote and thinks that people who do are stupid and uninformed. He does, of course, think it acceptable to slag off a government that he has done nothing to change.

          • robertguyton

             /  September 4, 2018

            Corks!

          • Corky

             /  September 4, 2018

            Living off my posts again , Kitty. It’s not my fault you are silly enough to vote expecting changes. The only person I would vote for is President Trumpy. Why is probably beyond your understanding. Let’s just say I like people who get things done. Those types of people are worth voting for. To think you voted for either National, Labour or the Greens to govern us. That’s really sad.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  September 5, 2018

              Good luck voting for someone in the US; let me know how you get on.

              Living off YOUR posts ? Now that really is narcissism on your part.

              If you don’t vote, don’t whine about the government. You did nothing to make it a different one.

              MYOB about other people’s votes and motives thereof.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  September 5, 2018

              To think that someone who has the vote that people in the past fought long and hard for is too damned lazy to go and vote – THAT is really sad.

              There’s no point in trying to vote for Trump. He is not standing here.

    • robertguyton

       /  September 4, 2018

      Alloytoo too.

      • Gezza

         /  September 4, 2018

        Hard to say what Winnie’s up to sometimes robert. Often it’s to no good.

  3. Zedd

     /  September 5, 2018

    Its a coalition Govt. not an one-party plus hangers-on Govt.; welcome to MMP folks 🙂

    • PDB

       /  September 5, 2018

      It’s a dysfunctional coalition govt where the main party is saying & promoting one thing whilst it’s minority partner is saying directly to the MSM (not their coalition partners) the total opposite.

  1. Ardern blind-sided by Peters on refugee quota — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition