Govt to lift refugee quota to 1500 'within this term'

The Government has announced it will be increasing the refugee quota to 1500 within this term.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said "we need to make sure we have the housing available - that includes social housing."

"We knew we had to do this responsibly."

The increase to 1500 refugees a year will take place from July 2020.

Winston Peters said he has "no reservations at all" about the promised refugee quota increase.

"The Government will fund the expansion of public housing supply for around 150 extra refugee families at an estimated total cost of $32.5 million over three years," Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said.

In recent weeks, Mr Peters distanced himself from comments made by Mr Lees-Galloway, who said the quota would be doubled to 1500. Mr Peters said that was not Government policy as it had not gone through Cabinet.

The Green Party was not present at the announcement, but said it welcomed the promised increase.

"To those who have fled persecution and need a safe place to call home, we want you to know New Zealand welcomes you," Marama Davidson said.

"We are a kind, compassionate and safe country. New Zealanders want to help and we can."

National's immigration spokesperson Michael Woodhouse pointed to behind the scenes horse trading.

"First they were increasing the quota, then they weren’t, now they are - but not for another two years.

"The hold-up was of course Winston Peters' exercising his authority over his larger but weaker coalition partners. Now he's changed his mind... New Zealanders deserve to know about the quid pro quo."