The pictures of thousands upon thousands of Syrians forced out of their own country by ISIL, desperately pouring into Europe, are heart-breaking scenes.
As the situation has worsened, New Zealanders have become more concerned.
The Government shares their concern.
That’s why we announced today New Zealand will welcome 750 Syrian refugees over the next two and a half years. We’ll also contribute a further $4.5 million in aid for Syria.
Of the 750 places, 600 will be part of a special emergency intake above the annual refugee quota of 750, and the final 150 places will be offered within the quota.
Today’s decision is an appropriate response. It’s important that we’re able to back our offer with support to help people settle here. What these refugees need most is to feel welcome and safe in communities that are willing to help them start their new life.
The expected cost of this intake is $48.8 million, which will be on top of the $58 million we spend resettling quota refugees every year. New Zealand is already making a contribution to the region. We’ve settled 121 Syrians since 2011 and contributed $15.5 million in aid for those affected by the conflict in Syria and Iraq.
There is also a role for the wider community to play in helping these refugees to settle here and New Zealanders who want to help, can volunteer with resettlement programmes via the Red Cross and others.