Labour calls for higher refugee quota

6:04 am on 31 August 2015

Labour Party leader Andrew Little is joining renewed calls for the Government to increase its refugee quota, saying New Zealand must do its bit to help.

Labour Party Leader, Andrew Little.

Andrew Little Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

It's estimated this year alone, a third of a million people have crossed the Mediterranean from war-torn countries to get to southern Europe, with almost 3000 people dying in the attempt.

The huge numbers of people fleeing to Europe from North African and Middle Eastern countries has led to some European leaders to call for a united response, with quotas for each country.

Mr Little said the least the Government could do was lift its refugee quota from 750 people a year to 1000.

"It is about showing some leadership and some solidarity with the rest of the world as we come to grips with what is clearly a dreadful humanitarian crisis and I think it is time for us to look at our refugee quota.

"Our policy is to lift it to 1000 but I think these circumstances might justify lifting it beyond that," he said.

New Zealand has not changed its refugee quota in almost 30 years.

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