22 Jun 2015

Refugee advocate urges PM to lift quota

2:30 pm on 22 June 2015

A refugee advocacy group is urging the Prime Minister to lift the refugee quota to the 3000 or 4000 a year that John Key says are already being settled here.

Prime Minister, John Key.

Prime Minister John Key (file) Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

At the moment the refugee quota is 750 but Mr Key said that was not a true representation of how many refugees come to New Zealand.

Last week Mr Key said under the family reunification programme thousands and thousands of refugees get settled here each year.

Today, he told TV3 that off the top of his head it was 3000 to 4000 a year.

But official figures from the Immigration Service confirm that in the past five years 5104 refugees from all categories have been settled in this country, about 1000 a year.

Of those 3416 came in under the refugee quota; 1284 under the refugee family support category; and 404 were asylum seekers.

A spokesperson for refugee advocacy group Doing Our Bit, Murdoch Stephens, said Mr Key's numbers were wrong and the group wanted the quota to go up.

"We've been asking for that to be doubled, including the family reunification. But, if he thinks that we can take triple our current quota, we think - if he did that in a reasonable and responsible manner over, you know, over an appropriate period of time - then New Zealand could handle that," Mr Stephens said.

So far, Mr Key has refused to increase the refugee quota.

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