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Ashburton - a town with a lot to offer refugees as a newly-named settlement location

The Canterbury town of Ashburton is a place that prides itself on being one of the most ethnically diverse in the country, and it's now becoming a refugee destination.

Earlier this month it was announced that Ashburton will join Whanganui, Timaru, Blenheim, Masterton and Levin which were named as new settlement locations in February.

In September last year, the Government increased the annual refugee quota to 1500 places from July 2020, up from 1000.

Ashburton's Mayor, Donna Favel, says the world isn't a safe place for everyone and the town is more than happy to help.

"If we are a district that is willing and able to assist and has the capacity to help others why wouldn't we help? Why wouldn't anyone?" she says.

Refugees will start settling in Ashburton from August next year. Initially, it'll be up to five families arriving every six to eight weeks.

Adi Avnit and his family moved to mid Canterbury from Israel just over two years ago and says the community helped them integrate easily.

"The community itself is really friendly. People are just so curious about meeting other cultures, " he says.

Immigration New Zealand's Andrew Lockhart says the influx will help Ashburton's worker shortage.

"They're really keen to be employed, so they will become part of the community and bring their own richness to it," he says.

The nationalities of refugees to be settled in Ashburton are yet to be decided.

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The Canterbury town will take refugees under the Government's policy to increase the annual refugee quota to 1500. Source: 1 NEWS