Southland publican sets up refugee welcome group

5:14 pm on 11 June 2017

A Southland publican is setting up a group to welcome refugees to the region, in response to a backlash against the idea.

The Crescent, Invercargill.

The Crescent in Invercargill's city centre. Photo: SUPPLIED / ICC

The government last month named Invercargill as one of seven areas where the 1000 refugees New Zealand accepts each year will be settled.

From next year, New Zealand's annual refugee quota is set to increase for the first time since 1987 - from 750 to 1000.

Steve Grieve, who is the manager of Speights Ale House in Invercargill, said there had been some negative reaction to that news, so he decided to do something about it.

"Southland, we've got this great reputation for being very generous when it comes to things and welcoming people with open arms, so once again, once people start making negative comments...we need to make sure that that doesn't actually reflect who Southlanders are in general."

Immigration New Zealand has said that the first two or three families would arrive in Invercargill in early December.

The city's mayor, Tim Shadbolt, has previously said he had concerns over shortages of housing and employment and objected that his council had not been consulted by central government on whether Invercargill was suitable.

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