Red Cross proposes Auckland staff cuts

12:43 pm on 25 September 2016

Red Cross may cut refugee specialist staff in Auckland because it says government policy will see fewer refugees settle in the city.

Kutaiba Alakkad with his wife Gianhn Alarioishi and their children.

Kutaiba Alakkad, Gianhn Alarioishi and their children, who live in Wellington, are among a growing number of refugees being settled outside of Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Laura Bootham

The cuts would affect the charity's refugee settlement team, which has six full-time and 18 part-time staff.

Red Cross said the cutback was needed after the government pulled back the number of quota refugees settling in Auckland, due to the lack of affordable housing.

Humanitarian services manager Amanda Aye said Red Cross had settled 225 refugees a year in the city in the past; that will drop to 105 in the next financial year.

"Our staff are amazing - they all understand that affordable housing is an issue in Auckland, so while they are sad the number of refugees resettling will reduce in Auckland, we need to look at other alternatives."

Auckland staff could be re-deployed to other regions whose refugee allocations were increasing, Ms Aye said.

"We are also looking at redeployment opportunities outside the refugee team for the affected staff."

No cuts had been confirmed yet, she said.

"We are consulting with staff at the moment over the proposed changes but it is unclear how many positions will remain in Auckland."