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'The urgent need is now' - Wellington bishop says 2018 too far off for boost in refugee intake

The increase in New Zealand's refugee quota starting in two years is drawing more criticism with a church leader saying there's an urgent need right now for a bigger intake.

The Government has increased our refugee quota for the first time in over 30 years, but critics say it's not enough. Source: 1 NEWS

The Government has announced it's lifting New Zealand's quota from 750 to 1000 refugees a year from 2018.

The Anglican Bishop of Wellington, Justin Duckworth, has joined Amnesty International and the Labour opposition in slamming the delay and the size of the increase.

"The urgent need is now. And 2018 is a long time away," Bishop Duckworth said.

Campaigners had wanted the quota doubled to 1500 but the Government says it's about quality not quantity.

"It's not enough simply to relocate them into a strange country and then leave them. There's a significant investment that needs to be made to ensure that the settlement outcomes are good," said Michael Woodhouse, Immigration Minister.

Offers of help from communities piled in last year in response to the Syrian crisis.

So the Government is asking communities to lead a programme to resettle an extra 25 refugees on top of the 1000.

It's probably a kick in the guts - Anglican Bishop of Wellington Justin Duckworth

"It's worth testing to see whether that support from communities we saw last year is enduring," Mr Woodhouse said.

Packing donated goods for refugee families, Bishop Duckworth says the community sector is ready.

"The community sector is supporting refugees and I feel it's probably a kick in the guts really for them in the Government's response now," he said.

New Zealand Red Cross Secretary General Tony Paine says the increase will save and change the lives of people who desperately need our help, but given the current humanitarian crisis and the outpouring of support from New Zealanders he's surprised the Government is not doing more. 

Advocates for refugees say the increase is the Government doing the bare minimum and they're urging the Government to reconsider the decision.