The National Party’s new immigration policy is refugee bashing, Green Party Human Rights Spokesperson Keith Locke says.
“It’s sad to see a major party beating up on some of the most vulnerable people in the world, people who have suffered so much in their home countries.
“A compassionate party would not stoop to such refugee bashing. There are twenty million refugees in the world, yet Mr Brash wants to cut back on the already small numbers we take in. The Green Party would extend our quota to 1000 per year.
“So much for National being a family-friendly party; they now want to stop refugees from being joined by their relatives.
“Mr Brash also complains about refugees going on the benefit. What does he expect? Of course many refugees, from poverty-stricken countries with poor schooling, find it difficult to get jobs. But that only reinforces the duty we have to assist them with education and job training.
“In my experience refugees are desperately keen to find a job and will do anything to help their kids do well at school. They are our most motivated residents.
“Mr Brash’s statement today directly contradicts the stand taken by his colleague Pansy Wong on the Identity (Passports and Travel Documents) Bill, where, like the Greens, she opposed increasing a resident’s qualifying time for citizenship from three to five years. That step made New Zealand less attractive to skilled migrants — because in Australia a resident can get citizenship in only two years. Now National is proposing that each migrant waits nine years; four years to get permanent residency and another five years for citizenship,” Mr Locke says.