NZ not doing 'fair share' helping refugees - Roche

New Zealand has accepted around 750 refugees a year since the late 1980s (file)
New Zealand has accepted around 750 refugees a year since the late 1980s (file)

Green MP Denise Roche says Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse could double New Zealand's refugee intake overnight, but since he won't, she's put a Private Member's Bill in the ballot to make him at least consider it.

New Zealand has accepted around 750 refugees a year since the late 1980s – sometimes a bit more, sometimes a bit less. Ms Roche says that places us about 90th in the world.

"New Zealand has to do our fair share," she said on the Paul Henry programme this morning.

"We are part of the international community, and there are people who are desperate situations, really wanting to come here because we are one of the safest places in the world."

The world is currently undergoing the greatest refugee crisis it has ever faced, according to the United Nations. Nearly 60 million people, half of them children, have been forced out of their homes.

"If we doubled our quota, we would be catching up to where we were 28 years ago," says Ms Roche. "We need to be increasing the number so we do look like we're maintaining our international reputation as a fair and compassionate country."

Amnesty International has called on the Government to double the annual quota to 1500. Ms Roche would like that, but her bill only calls for it to go up to 1000.

"It's purely pragmatic. It's a start. I'd like to see it doubled, but let's start somewhere. The minister could do it overnight."

The number of refugees is expected to climb through the 21st century as climate change forces people in low-lying areas to find new homes.

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