National to block Greens' refugee Bill

National to block Greens' refugee Bill

National says it will shut down a Green Party Bill which would permanently increase New Zealand's refugee quota today.

The Government yesterday announced it would bring in 600 extra Syrian refugees over the next two-and-a-half years, on top of the 750 refugees accepted annually as part of the country's general quota.

One-hundred-and-fifty of those extra refugees will come in under the existing quota for the 2015/2016 financial year, with an extra 100 to be accepted on top of that quota.

The remaining number will be brought in over the following two financial years.

However, the 750 quota will undergo a scheduled review next year and not before, Mr Key says.

Green Party MP Denise Roche will today introduce her Bill which would raise New Zealand's quota to 1000.

Co-leader James Shaw says though the increase is a "good first step", it doesn't solve the long-term problem of the country's "embarrassingly low" refugee quota which hasn't increased for around 30 years.

It has support from all parties except National to allow it to be introduced into the House, with Mr Key saying his party would oppose the Bill's introduction.

"These are really serious matters and I don't want to be flippant about these things but it is very easy for the Opposition to get up and say 'double the quota'.

"Someone at the weekend was reported as saying 'bring 10,000'. With the greatest respect, do they actually understand what that would do to the system in New Zealand? It's not just that we're not a very populated country, we have to actually house people, we have to be able to give them services, we've got to be able to do all those things," he said at his post-Cabinet news conference yesterday.

He labelled the plan a "pretty good contribution", saying bringing the extra refugees would cost nearly $50 million and the Government is responding in an appropriate way.

Yesterday, a number of groups including the Catholic and Anglican churches said they could take in 1200 refugees across the country.

"I'm not at all questioning the churches, if they say they've got some capacity and want to help, we'll be taking up that offer for them to help," Mr Key said.

While images of the refugees' plight last week may have struck a chord with the public, Mr Key said the Government was already making moves to see what it could do to respond.

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