Peters throws Ardern a curve ball on refugee quota

by Chris Bramwell / 04 September, 2018
Winston Peters. Photo/Getty.

Winston Peters. Photo/Getty.

RelatedArticlesModule - Related

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has thrown a major spanner in the works of Labour's plan to double the refugee quota, saying his party never agreed to that.

Labour campaigned on raising the refugee quota to 1500 per year and has consistently said it would do this within its first term. It had already started boosting capacity at the Māngere Refugee Resettlement Centre in anticipation of an increased intake of refugees.

In the May budget it put aside $6.2 million over four years of new operating funding, along with $7.7 million over four years to build and operate two new accommodation blocks at the centre. 

But yesterday as he touched down on Nauru for the Pacific Islands Forum, Winston Peters, threw the government a curve ball.

"We never made a commitment to double the refugee quota."

This appeared to be news to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

"I would want to check the context of all of those questions [to Mr Peters], but as I've said that commitment still remains."

Ms Ardern said the policy to double the quota was still on the table.

"We haven't finalised all the details of that commitment, but that remains part of our policy.

"It hasn't come through cabinet, that's an accurate representation, but that is still a commitment that we have."

Mr Peters argued there were other priorities.

"We've got 50,000 people who are homeless back home, and I can show you parts of the Hokianga and elsewhere, parts of Northland, with people living in degradation.

"We have to fix their lives up as well before we start taking on new obligations of the level that some people would like."

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said doubling the quota was "certainly the intention" of Labour.

"It's what we'd like to see happen," he said.

Mr Robertson said it might take a little bit of time to find consensus on the policy.

"This is the nature of the government, we work through these issues," he said.

National's immigration spokesperson Michael Woodhouse said this showed who was really running the government.

"We've seen other examples of where New Zealand First policy has dominated over government expectations.

"Andrew Little's three strikes rule springs to mind - but this really shows."

Meg de Ronde from Amnesty International told Morning Report she was still confident the government would double the quota, and that Mr Peters was playing to his base as a party leader.

This article was first published on Radio NZ.

Latest

The many miracles of Aretha Franklin movie Amazing Grace
108368 2019-07-15 00:00:00Z Movies

The many miracles of Aretha Franklin movie Amazing…

by Russell Baillie

A long-lost concert movie capturing Lady Soul in her prime is heading to the New Zealand International Film Festival.

Read more
The untold history of China's one child policy
108182 2019-07-14 00:00:00Z History

The untold history of China's one child policy

by RNZ

Nanfu Wang explains the story behind her film One Child Nation, which screens at the International Film Festival this July.

Read more
Is Vladimir Putin right about the death of liberal democracy?
108314 2019-07-14 00:00:00Z World

Is Vladimir Putin right about the death of liberal…

by Paul Thomas

Vladimir Putin reckons “the liberal idea has become obsolete”. As Mandy Rice-Davies said, “Well, he would, wouldn’t he?”

Read more
The psychology of psychopaths and social media users
108199 2019-07-14 00:00:00Z Psychology

The psychology of psychopaths and social media use…

by Marc Wilson

Psychologists are getting a picture of people who are big on social media. It's not always pretty.

Read more
Acclaimed writer Greg McGee on his family's stolen children
108138 2019-07-13 00:00:00Z History

Acclaimed writer Greg McGee on his family's stolen…

by Clare de Lore

Greg McGee always knew his great-grandfather had kidnapped his father and uncles as infants, but now for the first time he’s revealing that...

Read more
Video-streaming platforms are failing their impaired customers
108303 2019-07-13 00:00:00Z Tech

Video-streaming platforms are failing their impair…

by Peter Griffin

When it comes to video streaming, the hearing- and visually impaired can only dream about the technology that’s passing them by.

Read more
We like big vehicles and we cannot lie
108312 2019-07-12 00:00:00Z Politics

We like big vehicles and we cannot lie

by The Listener

It would take a psychologist to explain Kiwis’ love for utes and SUVs. But it’s not the only reason people are revved up over the attempt to reduce...

Read more
Booker winner Arundhati Roy on democracy in peril
108043 2019-07-12 00:00:00Z Profiles

Booker winner Arundhati Roy on democracy in peril

by Sally Blundell

Soon to speak in New Zealand, Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy discusses her complex relationship with her native India with Sally Blundell.

Read more