'Very real chance' refugee quota could go up - Key

'Very real chance' refugee quota could go up - Key

There are signals from the Government it will increase New Zealand's refugee quota, with the Prime Minister saying there was a "very real chance" it could happen.

John Key made comments during a speech to the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs at Parliament this afternoon.

New Zealand's quota for refugees has remained stubbornly unchanged at 750 since 1987. There have been calls from a number of groups including Amnesty International to double that to 1500. Labour has also made this their policy.

Doubling the quota also has the backing of the Green Party, while ACT and New Zealand First support a more moderate increase.

Today, Mr Key wouldn't talk specific numbers, saying the review work on the quota could be months away.

"I think there's a very real chance it will increase, but it will depend on the advice we get and our capacity to do a good job for those people," Mr Key says.

"We're looking at the issue very closely, but I'm feeling confident but I haven't seen the advice yet."

On July 1, the Government will announce what the quota will be for 2016 to 2019.

Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse says he and Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully will present their recommendations to Cabinet "between now and then".

He said raising the quota was one of a few options the Government was considering.

"It could either go up, go down or stay the same," he said.

Mr McCully would not comment on his position before he'd made his stance clear to Cabinet.

Labour leader Andrew Little committed his party to doubling the refugee quota following his visit to the Zaatari camp in Jordan, which is now the home of 80,000 Syrians.

'Very real chance' refugee quota could go up - Key


Last year, the Government announced an emergency, one-off intake of 750 Syrian refugees, 600 of which were on top of the current quota.

'Very real chance' refugee quota could go up - Key

(Dave Goosselink / Newshub.)

Earlier this month, 13 Syrian families were welcomed to Dunedin by a large group of Red Cross workers and volunteers.