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Greens want big increase in refugee quota

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 19/06/2017

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei. © Hannah Peters/Getty Images Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei. The Greens want the annual refugee quota increased to 4000 over six years, and on top of that 1000 coming in through church and community sponsorship.

The party would also create a new visa category for people displaced by climate change in the Pacific, starting with 100 places a year.

At present the quota is 750, rising to 1000 next year.

The Greens have an existing policy of immediately doubling that, and Tuesday's announcement is a significant extension of that policy.

"The Green Party will immediately double New Zealand's refugee quota to 2000, then we will progressively increase the quota to 4000 over the next six years," it said.

"Over that time we will establish new resettlement locations across New Zealand and work with communities to build up the capacity of organisations that support new refugees and asylum seekers."

The Greens estimate their policy would cost $66 million in 2018, rising to $350m when the quota reaches 4000.

Church and community sponsorship would expand to 1000 over the next three years.

The policy document says in Canada, tens of thousands of refugees are helped to resettle this way each year.

The government said last year it would run a trial sponsorship programme involving around 25 places.

It's still discussing the scheme with churches and other potential sponsors.

The Greens say New Zealand currently accept far fewer refugees per capita than many other countries.

"National's current meagre refugee quota stops us from living up to our morals and our reputation as a caring country - but we can change that," the party said.

"Accepting more refugees now, from the regions where the need is greatest, will make a significant difference for thousands of families."

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