PM 'insensitive' over refugee refusal – Labour

Migrants demonstrate outside the main Eastern Railway station in Budapest (Reuters)
Migrants demonstrate outside the main Eastern Railway station in Budapest (Reuters)

The refugee crisis in Europe worsened again today with the Eurostar train blocked from getting to London, people found stashed in car engines in Spain and Budapest's train station overrun.

Every political party says New Zealand should take more refugees to help out, except for the one that counts – National.

More and more people are trying to get into Europe, in what's becoming a human crisis.

But the Government is refusing to take more refugees – not an emergency number now, and not even one more a year.

"He's looking out of touch and he's looking frankly insensitive to the needs of a bunch of vulnerable, very desperate people, and it's not the Kiwi way," says Labour leader Andrew Little.

New Zealand currently takes a quota of 750 refugees a year, which has not increased since 1987.

Five years ago the Government did not fill the quota – it was 223 under, and 71 under the following year.

But since then New Zealand has been breaking even, or a little bit over.

"It makes me feel ashamed that we are not doing everything in our power," says Green Party co-leader James Shaw.

The war in Syria has seen 4 million people flee – nearly the population of New Zealand.

Syrians in New Zealand are pleading for help.

"It's become the number one disaster of the century because the world has been silent, and therefore they can't be silent anymore," says Syrian Solidarity's Ali Akel.

All of the Government's support partners, including ACT, United Future and the Maori Party, say it's time New Zealand took more refugees.

"I think we've got the capacity to take more," says ACT leader David Seymour.

"We should be able to make an emergency response right now," says United Future leader Peter Dunne.

"I don't think there is anyone who could look at those pictures and not feel the pull on the heart to do something about it," says Maori Party co-leader Marama Fox.

The world is stepping up – in Iceland, which has a population of just 300,000, a Facebook campaign has seen 10,000 volunteers offer to take refugees into their homes.

And even NZ First leader Winston Peters says New Zealand needs to take some more.

"We could increase it, but we have to at the same time change our mass immigration policy."

It's a global crisis and the Government refuses to help.

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