'Shameful and inhumane': Human rights group slams John Key's refugee quota proposal

A human rights group has slammed John Key's refugee quota proposal in two years saying the NZ government has failed the people whose "lives they could have saved through resettlement".

Prime Minister John Key announced today that the current quota of 750 will rise in 2018. Source: 1 NEWS

The Prime Minister this afternoon announced New Zealand will increase its annual refugee quota from 750 places to 1000 places from 2018.

Amnesty International has described the proposal as "absolutely shameful in the face of the world's biggest humanitarian crisis".

"By increasing the annual refugee resettlement quota by only 250 people in two years time, the New Zealand government has failed to do the right thing," executive director Grant Bayldon said.

"What we need to remember is that we're talking about people here, people who New Zealand has the opportunity to provide a chance to restart their lives in safety and with dignity.

"The reality is that we need a significant response from a country that currently holds a place on the UN Security Council."

Amnesty International is calling on the prime minister to increase resources to support front-line services working in resettlement.

Executive director Grant Bayldon says there’s “no need” to wait until 2018 for the increase. Source: 1 NEWS

New Zealand's refugee quota is 750 a year and hasn't been lifted since it was introduced in 1987.

Mr Bayldon told ONE News in February the world was facing its biggest refugee crisis since the Second World War.

He said it was unbelievable New Zealand hadn't lifted its quota in nearly 30 years.

Mr Key made his announcement to reporters today.

In May, Mr Key said it wasn't impossible for New Zealand to lift its annual refugee quota.

Twelve families are ready to finally settle into their new homes after spending six weeks at Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre. Source: 1 NEWS

"I think we've done a pretty good job actually providing those services to people when they come to New Zealand, from housing to welfare support to whatever they might be," Mr Key said at the time.

"We've invested quite a lot of money in upgrading Mangere so that we've got the capacity to process and help more people."