New Zealand Labour Party

Key’s refugee response at odds with Kiwi traditions

John Key’s response to the current refugee crisis is out of step with New Zealand’s tradition of pulling its weight internationally, says Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson David Shearer.

“In 1999, under a National Government, New Zealand accepted more than 400 Kosovar asylum seekers when they were expelled from their homes.

“I was there with the UN in Kosovo at the time and saw how desperate those people were.

“In 2001, under a Labour Government, we accepted more than 200 refugees from the Tampa when Australia didn’t want to know.  It was a point of pride for New Zealanders, and they’ve gone on to become some of our most successful migrants: passionate Kiwis, well-educated and contributing to our society.

“That’s the story with refugees – so often they end up giving so much more to our country than they ever took.

“The people of New Zealand recognise we need to be doing more in the face of the worst refugee crisis since World War Two.

“John Key is out of step with the public and his Prime Ministerial predecessors,” says David Shearer.