New Zealand refugee community applauds Helen Clark's UN debate comments

Helen Clark at the UN Secretary-General candidates debate (Reuters)
Helen Clark at the UN Secretary-General candidates debate (Reuters)

New Zealand's refugee community is praising comments made by former Prime Minister Helen Clark.

The United Nations Secretary-General candidate made a passionate speech in a televised debate, saying refugees have paid back New Zealand's hospitality thousands of times over.

Abann Yor from the Auckland Refugee Community Coalition says those who come here feel reborn.

"I came as a refugee... to educate myself, and have a family here. And [I have] a kid who is going to school peacefully and is living a good life."

Mr Yor says now the Government should once again look at increasing the refugee quota.

"New Zealand [has] a capacity to accommodate more refugees annually and has an opportunity as well to show as an international community we're doing our bit."

The Government has said it will raise the quota from 750 to 1000 by 2018.

Mr Yor says New Zealand is helping to save lives.

"New Zealand has been over many years responding to crises, but in this case, as you see what is happening internationally, New Zealand should be taking more."