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Refugee quota increase “shames New Zealand” says Archbishop

Posted on: June 13, 2016 5:44 PM
This Syrian family, escorted onto land by the Greek Coastguard after being found drifting off the coast of Kos in June 2015, are just three of the millions of refugees fleeing conflict in the Middle East and North Africa in the past few years.
Photo Credit: Freedom House

[ACNS] The New Zealand Prime Minister has announced today that his government will increase the annual quota of refugees that it will accept from 750 to 1,000. But Archbishop Philip Richardson says that the 250 increase shows that the country is failing to act as “a responsible global citizen” and says that the country can do more to help in the current global crisis.

“In the past five years, there has been a 76 per cent increase in people displaced due to war and persecution: from 34 million to 60 million people.” he told Anglican Taonga. “Although the stories of terror play out far from our shores, we need to respond as global neighbours and step up to offer as much as we can.

“I believe we are a compassionate and caring country, but in the face of the current crisis, this increase almost says the opposite.”

The Archbishop, one of three Primates in the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, said that even with the increase of a third of the previous quota, New Zealand was lagging well behind comparably-sized countries like Ireland.

With less than a third of New Zealand’s land area, and a slightly higher GDP per capita, Ireland has taken in four times the New Zealand refugee quota since 1976.