Emergency bill could save 750 refugees

Labour will on Tuesday introduce an Emergency Humanitarian Response Bill to Parliament to bring an additional 750 refugees into New Zealand this year, Andrew Little says.

“We cannot stand by and wait for a review. This is a crisis and New Zealanders everywhere are demanding we open our doors to these most vulnerable people.

“All of the parties except National have expressed their desire to help, after seeing the tens of thousands of families flooding across Europe desperate for a new life. We have been a country that has welcomed refugees successfully in the past. Kiwis remember their communities rallying around families from Poland, Cambodia or Vietnam, helping to house, clothe and resettle those who have gone on to become great citizens.

“After seeing images this week of drowning children and people suffocating in cars as they risk everything for a new life, we must do this again. An emergency bill like this is not just needed, it’s critical. This bill is complementary to a Green Party bill to lift New Zealand’s ongoing refugee quota. What this legislation would do is compel action right now.

“Over the next few days I will be soliciting support with other parties for its swift passage through Parliament next week.

“We have the capacity to rescue 750 more refugees this year - we just need the will and the moral leadership to provide the resources to do it.

“If Parliament could do it for the Rugby World Cup, we can do it now for the refugees,” Andrew Little says.