Green Party proposes big hike in refugee intake to 4000 a year

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The Greens say if elected to government they would look to increase New Zealand's refugee quota to 4000 people a year by 2024, at an extra cost of $350 million.

The refugee policy announced today would be rolled out in two stages. The first would see the current quota of 1000 doubled immediately to 2000, at an extra cost of $66 million in 2018. 

James Shaw pitches his party's policy to increase New Zealand refugee quota to 4000 a year.
Source: Breakfast

The increase to 4000 refugees would then be implemented over a six-year period.

Green party co-leader James Shaw said an increased refugee quota actually reflects the wishes of most New Zealanders.

"Last year when the Syrian crisis hit the headlines New Zealanders said they wanted to do more and that we had the capacity to do more," Mr Shaw said on TVNZ1's Breakfast today.

The Labour leader has not dismissed the Green Party’s new refugee policy but says he needs to have a close look at it.
Source: Breakfast

"So we're really just responding to what most New Zealanders have said."

The Greens say they would also build a second resettlement centre outside of Auckland to help with the increased numbers.

It would be partly funded by making high net worth migrants who gain New Zealand residency - under investor categories - invest some of their money into building and maintaining the centre. 

The party would also look to work with community organisations and churches to find another 1000 refugee places under a community sponsorship programme. This is where families or organisations sponsor refugees by providing housing and support to refugees. 

This would be modelled on a similar system used in Canada. 

Labour leader Andrew Little called the 4000 a year refugee quota "a very big number" but believed negotiations would be successful over the policy if the two parties were to form a coalition government. 

"No I wouldn't be dismissive of it. I want to have a close look at it," Little said on Breakfast today.

"What I'm saying is good on them for setting an ambitious target because, let's face it, the humanitarian crises around the world are pretty bad these days.

The Government is already looking into a pilot scheme that would enable church groups to take on refugees, however Prime Minister Bill English says it won't be big numbers.

The Greens meanwhile would also create a new humanitarian visa category for people displaced by climate change in the Pacific.  This would initially only be 100 places. 

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