NZIS Moves Swiftly On Kosovo Refugee Aid

  • John Delamare

Immigration Minister, Hon Tuariki Delamere, said today the New Zealand Immigration Service was moving swiftly to implement yesterday's Cabinet decision to offer permanent refuge to 200 Kosovar Albanian families with family links in New Zealand.

"There have been pleasing and immediate offers of help from non-governmental agencies such as the Red Cross, various marae, the Refugee and Migrant Service, the Council of Christian Social Services and others. NZIS will meet representatives of these groups in Wellington on Thursday and in Auckland early next week to co-ordinate the relief effort.

"As well, Marie Sullivan, the manager of the Mangere Refugee Centre, is in close contact with the Canberra-based representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, who is currently on the Kosovo border and providing us with good information on where the refugees are located and what their wishes are.

"Ms Sullivan and her NZIS colleagues are also maintaining regular contact with the Albanian community in this country as they determine where their family members may be, what assistance the New Zealand families can offer and what the current status of their refugee relatives is," said the Minister.

Within the next 48 hours, the Immigration Service will arrange an information helpline where people can make offers of assistance. Cabinet decided yesterday to make an additional $1 million available to help with re-settling the Kosovar Albanians in New Zealand.