Rebuilt refugee centre officially opened

4:26 pm on 18 June 2016

The rebuilt Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre - which will house refugees when they first arrive in New Zealand - was opened by the Prime Minister in South Auckland this morning.

Prime Minister John Key at the opening of the refugee centre.

Prime Minister John Key at the opening of the refugee centre. Photo: RNZ / Mani Dunlop

Mr Key and Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse formally opened the centre after its $24.7 million rebuild.

Mr Woodhouse said the original facilities at Mangere were built during World War II and were well past their economic life.

"The new facilities are a vast improvement and will give refugees the best possible start to their new life in New Zealand."

Politicians and community leaders, including Labour leader Andrew Little and Race Relations Commissioner Dame Susan Devoy, were welcomed with a powhiri before the centre was opened.

All refugees spend six weeks in Mangere, where they undergo a comprehensive programme that prepares them to live and work in New Zealand.

The rebuilt Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre.

The rebuilt Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre. Photo: RNZ / Mani Dunlop

Earlier this week, the government announced it was expanding its annual refugee quota from 750 to 1000, starting in 2018.

The centre accommodates up to 220 people for each of the six quotas every year.

John Key is not ruling out raising the annual refugee quota again.

He said the quota was at a number where the best services possible could be provided, but raising it was still on the table.

"We are not ruling out in the future we mightn't take more, we like to have an emergency quota so we can do what we did when it came to both Kosovo and Syria."

Mr Key said it was important to ensure that refugees were settled well after they arrived and given a good start in New Zealand.

Labour leader Andrew Little is calling for the quota to be doubled.

A room inside the health centre at the rebuilt Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre.

A room inside the health centre at the rebuilt Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre. Photo: RNZ / Mani Dunlop

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs