Immigration Minister launches Refugee Week

  • Max Bradford

The Government has set aside more than $3 million dollars for resettling New Zealand's quota of refugees in the coming year, Immigration Minister Max Bradford said.

Launching the Refugee and Migrant Service's annual Refugee Week Appeal, Mr Bradford said New Zealand could be proud of its record of humanitarian assistance to refugees.

Mr Bradford said the Refugee and Migrant Service played an important in role in making the Government's refugee policy work in New Zealand

"RMS is the national agency which resettles refugees who comes into New Zealand in the annual quota selected by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. The RMS receives about half its funding from the Government and relies on the goodwill of the New Zealand public for the rest."

For the first time the Government has this year agreed to take over refugee travel costs from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which selects refugees to New Zealand.

"This 1997 Budget initiative was welcomed by the UNHCR, which said our decision to fund refugee travel would enable its funds to be used for other purposes, especially operations in the world's poorer countries," Mr Bradford said.

"The UNHCR said the decision was yet another positive and tangible demonstration of New Zealand's support for the UNHCR's global activities."

Mr Bradford said he hoped the Population Conference in November this year would create ideas and commitment to enhance resettlement services for refugees in New Zealand.