ALISON MAU: Forget doubling the refugee quota, we should triple or quadruple it

05/04/2016

As we all discuss the merits of Helen Clark’s bid for one of the world’s top jobs, the very body she’s aiming to head namechecked us overnight – and not in a good way.

Listen to Willie and Ali's interview with Helen Clark 

The UN Refugee Agency pointed to New Zealand as one country that could – and must – do more to resettle desperate people fleeing the Syrian conflict.

“This is an unprecendented era.” The UNHCR head is quoted, “The world has never seen such a mass displacement before.”

Desperate times call for creative measures.

Forget doubling the refugee quota – I reckon we should be tripling or quadrupling it.

Late last week Canada announced they’ll take another 10,000 Syrian refugees, and that’s on top of the 26,000 extra they’ve already welcomed.

Here’s the kicker: it appears they’ve done it without placing an undue burden on the taxpayer.

The Canadians have set up a clever system where church groups, community groups and even individuals can band together to sponsor a Syrian or Syrian family. They actively help resettle the refugees in their communities, using donated money, skills and their time, and largely without the Government’s help, for the first year after arrival.

I ask you: if Canada can do it, surely we can too? I refuse to believe that Canadians are more generous, more open-hearted, more interested in the welfare of others, than Kiwis are.

There are groups here in New Zealand who believe we could set up a similar system to Canada’s, if only our current refugee policy didn’t discourage the involvement of community and charitable groups, and ordinary Kiwis, who stand ready to help.

Alison Mau and Willie Jackson, 12-3pm on RadioLIVE

source: data archive

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