Refugee quota to lift just before next election

Jacinda Ardern, with Winston Peters at her side, has announced that the refugee quota will be increased from 1000 to 1500 in July 2020, just before the next election. This year’s budget has already allowed for enlarging refugee facilities.

After Peters’ recent grandstanding on refugees the timing of the increase is curious.

The official announcement:


New Zealand will lift the refugee quota from 1000 to 1500 within this political term, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today.

“I’m proud that the Coalition Government has today agreed to make such a significant and historic increase to the annual quota of refugees,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“This is the right thing to do. It fulfils New Zealand’s obligation to do our bit and provide a small number of people, displaced by war and disaster each year, a place to call home.

“The quota increase will take place from July 2020. In the meantime, we will work to increase the number and spread of refugee resettlement and support services.  We need to make sure we’re prepared for this change in policy.”

“This will change lives and not just for refugee families. Refugees become great citizens, who bring valuable skills and experience to New Zealand and help make our country a more diverse and vibrant place.”

For 30 years New Zealand’s refugee quota sat at 750 people per year, leading to calls to double the quota. In 2016 the previous government announced an increase to the quota to 1000, which took effect in 2018. All three parties in the government had policies to increase the number of refugees New Zealand accepts.

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said the quota increase was made possible through a significant boost in funding for refugee services in Budget 2018.

This included money to build and operate two new accommodation blocks at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre to extend the lifespan of the complex, meet the demands of the current intake of 1000 and help enable an increase in the refugee intake.

“An additional six settlement locations will also be needed around New Zealand on top of the recent re-establishment of Christchurch as a settlement location.

“The number of intakes of refugees and the size of each intake will also be changed from July 2020 while the current six-week reception programme at Mangere will be shortened to five weeks.

“Additional resources will also be provided to ensure that quota refugees are able to live in safe, secure, healthy and affordable homes which best suit their assessed needs.

“The Government will fund the expansion of public housing supply for around 150 extra refugee families at an estimated total cost of $32.5 million over three years,” Iain Lees-Galloway said.

Refugee details

  • The Ministry of Building, Innovation and Employment forecasts annual net migration to New Zealand to decline by 22 per cent to 51,000 in the June 2020 year when the increase in the refugee quota will take effect.
  • Budget 2018 provided $6.2 million of new operating funding over the next four years, and $7.7 million of new capital to build and operate two new accommodation blocks at the Centre.
  • There are now eight settlement locations in New Zealand where quota refugees are settled after they have completed the reception programme at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre: Auckland region, Hamilton, Palmerston North, Wellington region, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin and Invercargill.

This increase was Labour policy for last year’s election, and they indicated they wanted to implement it but Peters appeared to put a spoke in the wheel last month.

Peters now says “this is about people, not about politics”.

Stuff: Refugee quota lifting to 1500 by 2020

The announcement ends several weeks of speculation that NZ First would shoot down any attempt by the Government to raise the quota, and fulfils a Labour campaign promise to raise the quota within their first term of Government.

Labour campaigned on doubling the quota from 750 to 1500 in their first term of Government, and seemed confident that this policy would make it through Cabinet as recently as August.

But early this month Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters cast doubt on this, saying he wanted the Government to help Kiwis in strife before raising the quota.

“We never made a commitment to double the refugee quota,” Peters said when questioned by reporters.

When it was suggested Labour had, Peters said: “Labour’s not the government.”

“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, where people are living in degradation.

Peters, who appeared alongside Ardern at the announcement on Wednesday, said he was now sure the Government was already addressing the issues in New Zealand, pointing specifically to Housing Minister Phil Twyford’s “explosion in house-building.”

There hasn’t been a sudden change in how housing issues are being addressed, so this looks like a sudden change in Peters’ position of refugees.

The decision was made in a cabinet subcommittee on Wednesday.

Ardern said there had been no “quid pro quo” to get NZ First to agree to the deal, while Peters rejected the idea that his party had ever horse traded on any policy in its history.

This looks like a win for Labour and a backdown from Peters, unless he was just playing politics when he upstaged Ardern at Nauru.

The timing of this announcement looks to be convenient for Ardern’s visit to the United Nations in New York soon.

35 Comments

  1. sorethumb

     /  September 20, 2018

    They are going to send them to Remuera Invercargill / Dunedin.

    • Corky

       /  September 20, 2018

      To repeat myself.

      Oh, boy. Here we go. On one hand they are doing a tally of the homeless in Auckland. On the other hand they are doing this:

      ”New Zealand’s refugee quota jumps to 1500 per year from July 2020, Government announces.”

      The PM should be charged with treason..and wasting 30 million so she can big note at the UN.

      Of course these people won’t end up in the PMs leafy suburb. And social problems will be for others to work out.

      • robertguyton

         /  September 20, 2018

        No houses for refugees?
        Wonder why National ?
        “The National-led Government allowed state tenants to be evicted over dubious meth tests to “bring down public confidence in public housing”, it has been claimed.

        Earlier this year a report from then Chief Science Advisor Sir Peter Gluckman found there was no evidence homes in which meth had been smoked were harmful to live in.

        About 300 families living in Housing NZ properties were evicted after traces of meth were found in their homes so they could be decontaminated. All up nearly $100 million was spent, much of it needlessly.”

        • Corky

           /  September 20, 2018

          To be fair, Robert, National and housing shouldn’t be mentioned in the same breath.
          However, what has that to do with taking more Muslim ( I assume) refugees into our safe haven? What legacy are we leaving for our grandchildren given the disparate breeding rates between Westerners and Muslims?

        • Trevors_Elbow

           /  September 20, 2018

          whataboutism… do you do anything but run smokescreens and whine about the last government Robert…. just another thread jacking troll… grow up lad…

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  September 20, 2018

            Overall NZ birth rate = 1.99.

            Maori birth rate = 2.8

            Muslim birth rate = 2.9

  2. David

     /  September 20, 2018

    And the quid pro quo is Ardern selling out her union funders when Peters waters down the daft employment legislation in the next week or two.
    The fix is in folks.

    • Corky

       /  September 20, 2018

      It’s a turgent mix of back room deals, Dave.

      • Blazer

         /  September 20, 2018

        Murray spent about this much on an arab sheik….’Budget 2018 provided $6.2 million of new operating funding over the next four years, and $7.7 million of new capital to build and operate two new accommodation blocks at the Centre.’.

    • Gezza

       /  September 20, 2018

      I’m not betting against you on this one David. Your prediction yesterday a refugee announcement was on the money.

  3. Gezza

     /  September 20, 2018

    This is another smack in the moosh for a part of Winston’s support base – the anti-immigration component.

    • robertguyton

       /  September 20, 2018

      In a political coalition, decisions have to be negotiated and the ideal solution found. Radical supporters in those parties will inevitably be disappointed at some point. It’s a natural phenomenon.

      • Gezza

         /  September 20, 2018

        My pick is he will already be scheming how he wins them back elsewhere nearer the time its important, and they’ll fall for it again.

    • sorethumb

       /  September 20, 2018

      How many people want to take refugees?
      PS Send them to Riverton.

      • Gezza

         /  September 20, 2018

        It’s not really been an issue before. New Zealand has happily welcomed refugees for decades; they are generally grateful to be here and determined to fit it. I think we have had an extremely successful record of supporting and integrating refugees into our communities.

        I struggle over this one because this is not a Muslim country and what I know of Islam concerns me that this is one particular group that may clash if the numbers get too large because especially those from Middle Eastern countries may bring with them really devout individuals who are appalled by certain norms here and have attitudes like refusing to recognise the authority of a woman boss or supervision or shake women’s hands that can lead to trouble.

  4. robertguyton

     /  September 20, 2018

    Golriz and The Greens are happy that a further 500 refugees will find safety and opportunity here. Their wish for more hasn’t meant bitterness about the coalition. In fact it’s a very good example of a successful coalition operating.

    • Corky

       /  September 20, 2018

      What about our safety, Robert?

    • Trevors_Elbow

       /  September 20, 2018

      500 white farmers from South Africa would be a perfect way to fill the expanded quote Robert – don’t you agree? Thing about how easily they will integrate and how quickly they will be off the public teat and in work contributing to the tax base and our overall society….

      • David

         /  September 20, 2018

        Christians escaping oppression in the middle east would be a good fit, we could take in many many more given intergration would be a lot easier and the church congregations would be actively involved.
        I think perhaps the countries of the middle east should welcome their Muslim brothers and sisters given their vast wealth and empty lands and similar cultures.

      • sorethumb

         /  September 20, 2018

        But they aren’t thinking of killing whites (not yet anyway) so that is not going to inspire the Greens and Woman of Colour Golly G?

  5. High Flying Duck

     /  September 20, 2018

    I have no issue with us increasing the refugee quota as long as it is handled properly. Our intake is low by world standards, but the support we put around these people is some of the best. It sounds like the delay (while probably political) is also about increasing capacity and putting facilities in place to ensure the integration to NZ remains at current levels.

    Increasing our legal refugee quota is a far better policy that banging on about taking the queue jumping illegals on Nauru who should be returned to where they came from.

    In comparison Australia take 20,000 per year.

  6. Blazer

     /  September 20, 2018

    refugee numbers would decrease dramatically if policies like bombing people back to the stone age,and daily drone attacks and political inspired insurgency in strategic locations was …reduced.

  7. Blazer

     /  September 20, 2018

    just before the election…is not optimal timing for Labour.

    • Corky

       /  September 20, 2018

      True..but will National capitalise on that to appease so-called rednecks like me? No!

  8. sorethumb

     /  September 20, 2018

    What dismal virtue signalling twerps Labour and the Greens are. The Greens are a privileged white person party (not working class whites).

    • Gezza

       /  September 20, 2018

      Marama and Golriz – they are white people to you?
      How come?

  9. patupaiarehe

     /  September 21, 2018

    I have no problem with this, so long a new ‘cultural awareness’ test is added to the vetting process…
    Ask them to proclaim, in front of a jury of their peers, that “Mohammed was a filthy paedophile”. A refusal to do so, should be treated in the same manner as most employers would treat a potential employee refusing a drug test. “You’re not welcome here, mate”.

  1. Refugee quota to lift just before next election — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition