In July this year, New Zealand will lift our refugee quota from 1000 to 1500 per year. For 30 years New Zealand’s refugee quota sat at 750 people per year, leading to calls to double the quota. I’m proud that the Coalition Government, under the leadership of our Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has agreed to make such a significant and historic increase to the annual quota of refugees. This is the right thing to do. It fulfils New Zealand’s obligation to do our bit and provide a small number of people, displaced by war and disaster each year, a place to call home. This will change lives and not just for refugee families. Refugees become great citizens, who bring valuable skills and experience to New Zealand and help make our country a more diverse and vibrant place. Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said the quota increase was made possible through a significant boost in funding for refugee services in Budget 2018.
This included money to build and operate two new accommodation blocks at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre to extend the lifespan of the complex, meet the demands of the current intake of 1000 and help enable an increase in the refugee intake. The number of intakes of refugees and the size of each intake will also be changed from July 2020 while the current six-week reception programme at Mangere will be shortened to five weeks. As well as increasing the quota, we will work to increase the number and spread of refugee resettlement and support services across the country.
I would like to acknowledge the excellent work Hamilton’s Migrant Resource Centre, Red Cross and other agencies, and our host families do to support our new migrants.