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  • Andrew von Dadelszen

NZ needs to better support our current refugees

last editorial I looked at Migration levels. This week I want to look at our Refugee Numbers. For the past 30 years we have accepted 750 Refugees into New Zealand annually. On top of that we then prioritise the families of those refugees. The current John Key National Government has already increased that number to include an additional 250 Syrian refugees for the 2016 and 2017 years. They have now reviewed the number and increased it so that the current 1,000 annually (750 + 250 Syrians) will become a permanent total. Labour, the Greens and the likes of Amnesty International say that we are not generous enough – and yet the evidence is that after 10 years of being a New Zealand resident only 42% of our refugees have paid employment. 58% remain as long term beneficiaries. And of the refugees that arrived her between 1993 and 1999, more than one third have since left New Zealand. That is 2,330 refugees, out of 4,020 (6,000 less 1,980 who have left NZ) who have entered New Zealand under refugee status, remain long term unemployed – and this doesn’t include family members who also subsequently gain preferential entry.

What kind of life is that – unemployed, and feeling low self-esteem, for 10 years or more. We are not helping these unfortunate people; we need to do better; and not by upping the quota – but by giving our existing refugees better support to ensure that they ALL find worthwhile employment. Angry Andrew Little needs to get off his high horse. It was no better during the Helen Clark Government – and a symbolic doubling of the refugee quota is not the answer right now.

If you have a view on these or any other local government issues, I invite you to email me.

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