Take more people, Refugee Council tells MPs

2:00 pm on 10 September 2015

The Refugee Council of New Zealand has told MPs that the Government's move to accept 600 extra refugees over the next two years is not a strong enough response given the scale of the global crisis.

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John Key has announced an additional 600 places for Syrian refugees over the next three years. Photo: RNZ / Alexander Robertson

On Monday, the Prime Minister announced that New Zealand would take 600 Syrian refugees over and above the annual refugee quota of 750.

The Refugee Council of New Zealand appeared before the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee this morning.

President Arif Saeid told MPs that while it welcomed the Prime Minister's announcement, it was not enough.

"We are in the highest need around the world [since] World War II, so we should increase our quota permanently, and we can do much better.

"As a proud nation, and also as one of the wealthiest nations around the world, we have not done well so far."

He said the refugee quota should be immediately raised to 1,000, and then in the next few years to 1,500.

Dr Saeid also questioned how the Government could estimate it would cost $50 million to take the extra refugees given that much of the resettlement infrastructure is already in place.

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