Location of New Zealand's new refugee settlement centre revealed

Ashburton is the location of the country's newest refugee settlement centre.

Following the Government's announcement last year that the annual refugee quota will rise to 1500 from July 2020, six new settlements have been declared around New Zealand.

There are already established centres in Auckland, Waikato, Manawatu, Wellington, Nelson and Otago.

In February new centres were announced in Whanganui, Timaru, Blenheim, Masterton and Levin, after the New Zealand Refugee Resettlement Strategy Senior Officials' Group decided on the most suitable locations.

The decisions were made based on regional employment opportunities, housing availability and the support provided by both local government and the community.

Ashburton meets all criteria for selection due to the town's low demand on public housing, job opportunities and support from Mayor Donna Favel, according to Andrew Lockhart, Immigration NZ National Manager Refugee Division.

"I am confident that the people of Ashburton will welcome the refugees when they start arriving in the area," he said in a statement.

"Ensuring that refugees feel welcomed in their new community is an integral part of successful resettlement and we think Ashburton already has a great track record of doing this."

Ashburton District Council is one of 10 councils involved in the Welcoming Communities programme, an initiative that works to make migrants, refugees and international students feel at home in their new community.

Refugees will begin resettlement in Timaru, Whanganui and Blenheim from April 2020, in Masteron and Levin from June 2020 and in Ashburton from August 2020.

Each of the six new centres will be allocated between 10 to 15 quota refugees, or three to five families, who will arrive in groups every six to eight weeks.

It's not yet been decided which countries the refugees will come from.