“The urgent need is now”: Our Diocesan Response to the Refugee Crisis This Week

Home Settlement: Beginning last Sunday, household goods poured into our Wellington Cathedral of St Paul for new refugee families who are settling into the region. Alongside the Catholic Church, we are providing goods for 12 refugee homes where families will move in this week.

THANK YOU: to the parishes of the Porirua cluster, the Parish of Johnsonville, the Chinese Anglican Mission and the Wellington Cathedral for their assistance in gathering the goods required. Parishes who want to be involved may contact Rev Kay Webster at vicar@slw.org.nz . The final intake of refugees in 2016 will be in August.

 New Quota: Our Diocese has been calling on the New Zealand government to double the quota of refugees to settle in New Zealand. This Tuesday, the government announced that it would lift the quota from 750 to 1000 in 2018. We believe this is too little, too late. The “250 increase” is no actual change to the existing numbers when the emergency increase for Syrian refugees is considered. This increase has been widely criticised this week—with opinion pieces in the New Zealand Herald and Dominion Post.

Outside Parliament yesterday, Bishop Justin spoke to a group of government and community leaders and activists who support doubling of the quota.  He said, “According to his (albeit dodgy) maths, it would only cost $12 per person to cover 1500 refugees a year. For Christian leaders, how can we not help with this crisis when Jesus himself was a refugee? We have the capacity to care!”

Cross-partisan voices joined Bishop Justin, including Rongotai’s MP and Labour Party Deputy Leader Annette King, who said, “It’s not the government that settles refugees, it’s the community – and we do it very well.”

Ibrahim Amir, an Eritrean refugee, also spoke outside Parliament and noted, “Refugees are nor people who have options… If they had an option, people wouldn’t leave.”

Shoes were placed in front of the parliament steps as a symbol of the refugee men, women and children who are being denied access to New Zealand.

Get Involved: This Saturday there are opportunities to show your support for refugees at World Refugee Day events:

Media:

See our Bishop in media—responding to the new quota:

And New Zealand’s Archbishop Philip Richardson here.