Former refugee concerned about Government's regional resettlement options

A former refugee is concerned about the Government's decision to expand the country's resettlement options into the regions.

On Thursday, the Government announced Whanganui will be one of the five new resettlement locations for refugees around the country.

Ibriham Omer says refugees need access to support networks and career opportunities which he claims towns like Whanganui don't provide.

"It's hard enough to get jobs in the big cities and towns. We're talking about small towns where resources are very limited," said Mr Omer.

While Whanganui will take 110 refugees a year from March 2020, he said small towns can feel isolating.

"Red Cross only supports these people from six months to 12 months, what about after that, what's going to happen to these people? They need on-going support," said Mr Omer.

But the town's mayor, Hamish McDouall, is rubbishing those claims.

"We have capacity in our education sectors, our health sector; we have a lot of community groups looking forward to welcoming these refugees," he said.

Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said small communities know how to rally together for each other.

"When we made the announcement in Whanganui the other day, there were a large number of people from organisations ready and willing to build the capacity to support former refugees," he said.

But Mr Omer wishes there had been greater consultation with former refugees and says he doesn't want New Zealand to miss out on what they're capable of.