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Invercargill to begin accepting refugees

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 1/05/2017

Refugees accepted by New Zealand will soon be resettled in Invercargill.

The Southland town will join six existing settlement locations around the country at Auckland, Waikato, Manawatu, Wellington, Nelson and Dunedin.

Immigration New Zealand manager Steve McGill says the country's increasing quota of refugees and a recent push to decrease the number settling in Auckland, meant a new location to help them settle was needed.

This led government officials to choose Invercargill ahead of Christchurch, New Plymouth, Rotorua and Tauranga because it has a wide range of employment opportunities, Mr McGill says.

"Invercargill also has a strong set of services and is a well-connected city where a number of government agencies have a presence," he says.

"Suitable housing is available and there is excellent support from the community."

The first set of refugees are expected to settle in the town later this year.

The settlement of refugees in Christchurch was suspended - except for a limited number of family-linked cases - following the September 2010 earthquake due to the impact on services such as health and housing.

But Mr McGill says he expects refugees to be resettled in the city in the future.

Refugees are currently prevented from settling in Auckland unless they have relatives already living in the area.

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