We can and should do more for refugees

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New Zealand has a long history of tolerance and understanding.  Indeed, we go even further than that with the recognition that our society should respect a diverse range of cultures and peoples as we act as a positive international citizen.

Against that backdrop, there is a global refugee crisis.  Conflicts across the Middle East and more have torn family’s apart, left futures uncertain and have begged for a more concerted response from the global community.

United Future believes New Zealand needs to do more in the light of this crisis and must rethink our current position on refugees.  That stance should be more comprehensive than the central government proscribing a particular number of refugees that are allowed to come to our shores.

We have a near political consensus that we need to do more towards this crisis.  Further, we can see a wide range of community groups and local governments becoming actively involved in proposing solutions and support for any move to bring on more refugees who are in need of our help.

The current refugee crisis should be seen as an opportunity to not only meets our moral obligations as an international citizen, but also to solve problems in our own country. For example, we can already see local governments saying that they have vacancies for employment; why not explore settling people in need of such employment in those areas?

Moreover, we can see family members of refugees who already live here being faced with the deplorable situation that some of their family are to be trapped in a part of the world where their future is both uncertain but may also be at risk.  These situations beg for action from a country that can afford to reunite such families together again.

New Zealand is blessed with space and resources.  Taking in refugees enriches our diverse society and unites families with their loved ones.  It is right and just for us to take action.

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