Refugee group backs Government's UN migration pact move

  • 20/12/2018

A refugee group is backing the Government's decision to join an international migration pact.

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters confirmed on Wednesday New Zealand will support the UN's Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, after receiving legal advice it wouldn't compromise sovereignty.

The agreement creates non-legally binding conditions for countries to "enable all migrants to enrich our societies through their human, economic and social capacities", according to the UN.

Refugees as Survivors chief executive Ann Hood says a worldwide joint approach is crucial.

"It's absolutely necessary given the international situation. The whole point of the compact is that there's more equitable sharing of responsibility for both hosting and supporting refugees."

Ms Hood says there's no need to worry about it compromising our own laws.

"It's pretty clear that it's not legally binding and that it's not enforceable domestically, and that we won't be compromised."

A new Gallup poll found if everyone was allowed to move to whatever country they wanted to without restriction, New Zealand's population would rise 231 percent - the biggest rise of any country in the world, ahead of Singapore (225 percent), Iceland (208 percent) and the UAE (204 percent).

New Zealand would also have the second-highest 'brain gain' in the world, with a 333 percent rise in the educated population - only Northern Cyprus fares better, with a rise of 432 percent. 

Countries that would lost most of their population are Sierra Leone (-70 percent), Haiti (-63 percent) and Liberia (-60 percent).

Other ways NZ could help 

Boosting the refugee quota isn't the only way we can help. Ms Hood hopes the pact makes us think outside the box.

"Family reunification is incredibly important, but they're also talking about other ideas around providing educational opportunities or employment opportunities."

The Opposition has been vocally against the agreement, saying it could "restrict the ability of future governments to set immigration and foreign policy, and to decide on which migrants are welcome and which aren't".