World Vision petition demands New Zealand‘s ’racist' refugee policies change

Former refugee Guled Mire says New Zealand's policy, which places extra restrictions on refugees from Africa and the Middle East, is racist and unfair. - Photo: Guy Ryan

Politicians have been told New Zealand's "racist" refugee policy must change towards Middle Eastern and African people.

The current policy brought in by National a decade ago means refugees from those areas are only allowed to resettle here if they already have family living in the country.

World Vision presented a petition to the Education and Workforce Select Committee this morning calling for the refugee policy to be fairer.

Former refugee and Muslim community advocate Guled Mire said the current policy was unfair and racist.

"It's quite simple - it has to go," he said.

Mr Mire said the policy was shutting vulnerable people out and that was wrong.

"It's not what we aspire to be, it's not what we should want to be. We should be a kind and inclusive Aotearoa and it just needs to go," he said.

Former refugee and Muslim community advocate Guled Mire, and World Vision advocacy spokesperson Carsten Bockemuehl speak at the select committee today.

Former refugee and Muslim community advocate Guled Mire, and World Vision advocacy spokesperson Carsten Bockemuehl speak at the select committee today. Photo: RNZ / Jonathan Mitchell

World Vision advocacy spokesperson Carsten Bockemuehl said there were 25 million refugees overseas.

He said more than two thirds of those were in the Middle East and Africa.

"We make it unnecessarily difficult for them to be resettled in our quota," he said.

Carsten Bockemuehl urged the MPs to take action and remove the policy restrictions.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the policy the current government "inherited" was under review.

"I've said before it's something that needs to be looked at but we'll be making announcements once final decisions have been made."

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