Real Commitment to Refugees

The Opportunities Party is committing to quadrupling New Zealand’s refugee quota to 3000 per annum over the term of the next Parliament.

As establishment politicians gathered on the steps of Parliament to pay lip service to the idea of international humanitarianism TOP candidates Geoff Simmons (Wellington Central), Jessica Hammond Doube (Ohariu) and Jenny Condie (Tax spokesperson) reiterated the Party’s stance on refugees.

Rather than adopt a “just enough is good enough” attitude TOP has analysed the country’s capacity to take more genuine refugees and found current settings woefully inadequate.

Figures released by the U.N. yesterday show we are currently 95th in the world for refugee intake per capita. We can do much better.

The Party remains committed to its policy of smart immigration to prevent the use of imported low skill, low wage immigrants to undercut kiwi workers and the backdoor scam of overseas education being used to gain citizenship here.

Refugees are a different matter entirely. New Zealand has a proud record of humanitarianism and must not turn its back on those who have been displaced from their homelands by forces beyond their control.

Media enquiries

Sean 027 2442186

[email protected]

Showing 16 reactions

  • Orania Savage
    commented 2017-07-23 05:29:07 +1200
    In response to your reply Bob- please do not quote UN to me-I despise the Un, they have become warped in their thinking. Immigration in small numbers has worked well over the years, however bringing large numbers of people with different (mainly strongly held religious) beliefs into communities has not worked well in any country. Whilst there are always innocent victims , the refugee crisis has been brought about because people will not try to solve their problems, they want to fight to enforce their beliefs on the other group. We do not need that mentalitly here
  • bob Atkinson
    commented 2017-07-22 18:42:07 +1200
    Kate: I wouldn’t quadruple our refugee intake either. I would rather spend that kind of money on actually helping refugees in UNHCR refugee camps – rather than just taking refugees because it feels good. However our housing problem is mainly Auckland and few other cities. Unlike normal immigrants refugees can be sent wherever we want – seems to be Dunedin/Invercargil at present.
    So housing is not a sufficient reason to curtail our refugee intake. However it is a good reason to adopt TOP’s immigration policy – the only sensible immigration policy available at present – just compare with the other parties immigration policies on their websites. For example NZ First have published a series of nice statements that anyone even the Greens can’t disagree with but no targets.
  • Orania Savage
    commented 2017-07-22 16:49:21 +1200
    Totally opposed to quadruling the refugee intake, until we have sorted out our own housing issues
  • bob Atkinson
    commented 2017-07-06 07:16:04 +1200
    Fraser Smith: You mean that you believe the push to increase our refugee intake was triggered by the photos of dead children washed ashore in the Mediterranean. You are likely right and I suspect that the boats from the east contain many Syrians and those from the south many African countries. What I cannot understand is why you need to assign blame in this forum. As you can see NZ takes refugees from many countries not just the Mediterranean and is likely to continue to.

    We should be discussing what the goal of our refugee policy is and how we can best achieve it. This should not be a forum for assigning blame for each specific country of origin.
  • fraser smith
    commented 2017-07-06 00:41:06 +1200
    Bob Atkinson, I would contend that the only reason that the issue to increase the refugee is because of the Syrian war and the mass African exodus caused by the destruction of Libya and the role it played in keeping its boarders closed.

    Steve Burgo.. While its true I copied and pasted it most defiantly was not from pravda or any other Russian state owned org. from memory it was from Global Research. But thank you for playing the red card. and the "tin hat " conspiracy card in the same paragraph. Well done. I was replying to Bobs previous comment, hence my comment starting Bob. I was rather gob smacked that he see’s the US UK etc’s involvement in the carnage in the middle east (particularly Syria the past 5 years) as “incompetence” and Russia ’s assistance to Syria as “exploiting”. so i thought “fuck it” its not really worth my effort to type my opinion to someone that sees the middle east through the eyes of US propaganda/msm.
  • stephen burgess
    commented 2017-07-05 19:25:55 +1200
    Fraser Smith: a link and summary is better than copy and paste a page. i doubt this is a good place to debate conspiracy theories so ill avoid. but i would suggest pravda a russian state owned media outlet is a unconvincing source to cite or get information from.
  • bob Atkinson
    commented 2017-07-04 13:08:07 +1200
    Fraser Smith: clearly you know more than I on this issue but it doesn’t seem relevant to refugee policy – NZ’s refugees. Syria is only one country. These are the figures for residency in the International/Humanitarian Stream 2016/17

    1130 Samoa
    381 Syria
    300 Fiji
    291 Tonga
    243 Myanmar
    196 Colombia
    134 Afghanistan
    111 Pakistan
    78 Sri Lanka
  • fraser smith
    commented 2017-07-04 12:49:24 +1200
    one might think the day before the violence broke out in Deraa, Syria in March 2011 would have been an uneventful day, unaware of the uprising about to begin.

    But, that was not the case. Deraa was teaming with activity and foreign visitors to Syria well before the staged uprising began its opening act.

    The Omari Mosque was the scene of backstage preparations, costume changes and rehearsals. The Libyan terrorists, fresh from the battlefield of the US-NATO regime change attack on Libya, were in Deraa well ahead of the March 2011 uprising violence. The cleric of the Omari Mosque was Sheikh Ahmad al Sayasneh . He was an older man with a severe eye problem, which caused him to wear special dark glasses, and severely hampered his vision. He was not only visually impaired, but light sensitive as well, which caused him to be indoors as much as possible and often isolated. He was accustomed to judging the people he talked with by their accent and voice. The Deraa accent is distinctive. All of the men attending the Omari Mosque were local men, all with the common Deraa accent. However, the visitors from Libya did not make themselves known to the cleric, as that would blow their cover. Instead, they worked with local men; a few key players who they worked to make their partners and confidants. The participation of local Muslim Brotherhood followers, who would assist the foreign Libyan mercenaries/terrorists, was an essential part of the CIA plan, which was well scripted and directed from Jordan.

    Enlisting the aid and cooperation of local followers of Salafism allowed the Libyans to move in Deraa without attracting any suspicion. The local men were the ‘front’ for the operation.

    The CIA agents running the Deraa operation from their office in Jordan had already provided the weapons and cash needed to fuel the flames of revolution in Syria. With enough money and weapons, you can start a revolution anywhere in the world.

    In reality, the uprising in Deraa in March 2011 was not fueled by graffiti written by teenagers, and there were no disgruntled parents demanding their children to be freed. This was part of the Hollywood style script written by skilled CIA agents, who had been given a mission: to destroy Syria for the purpose of regime change. Deraa was only Act 1: Scene 1.

    The fact that those so-called teenaged graffiti artists and their parents have never been found, never named, and never pictured is the first clue that their identity is cloaked in darkness.

    In any uprising there needs to be grassroots support. Usually, there is a situation which arises, and protesters take to the streets. The security teams step in to keep the peace and clear the streets and if there is a ‘brutal crackdown’ the otherwise ‘peaceful protesters’ will react with indignation, and feeling oppressed and wronged, the numbers in the streets will swell. This is the point where the street protests can take two directions: the protesters will back down and go home, or the protesters can react with violence, which then will be met with violence from the security teams, and this sets the stage for a full blown uprising.

    The staged uprising in Deraa had some locals in the street who were unaware of their participation in a CIA-Hollywood production. They were the unpaid extras in the scene about to be shot. These unaware extras had grievances, perhaps lasting a generation or more, and perhaps rooted in Wahhabism, which is a political ideology exported globally by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Royal family and their paid officials.

    The Libyans stockpiled weapons at the Omari Mosque well before any rumor spread about teenagers arrested for graffiti. The cleric, visually impaired and elderly, was unaware of the situation inside his Mosque, or of the foreign infiltrators in his midst.

    The weapons came into Deraa from the CIA office in Jordan. The US government has close ties to the King of Jordan. Jordan is 98% Palestinian, and yet has a long lasting peace treaty with Israel, despite the fact that 5 million of the Jordanian citizen’s relatives next door in Occupied Palestine are denied any form of human rights. The King of Jordan has to do a daily high-wire balancing act between his citizens, the peace and safety in his country and America’s interests and projects in the Middle East. King Abdullah is not only a tight-rope walker, but a juggler at the same time, and all of this pressure on him must be enormous for him, and Queen Rania, who is herself Palestinian. These facts must be viewed in the forefront of the background painted scenery of The Syrian Arab Republic, which has for the last 40 years had a cornerstone of domestic and foreign policy carved and set in the principle of Palestinian human rights and Palestinian freedom and justice.

    The US policy to attack Syria for the purpose of regime change was not just about the gas lines, the oil wells, the strategic location and the gold: but it was about crushing that cornerstone of Palestinian rights into dust. To get rid of President Bashar al Assad was to get rid of one of the few Arab leaders who are an unwavering voice of Palestinian rights.

    Deraa’s location directly on the Jordanian border is the sole reason it was picked for the location-shoot of the opening act of the Syrian uprising. If you were to ask most Syrians, if they had ever been to Derra, or ever plan to go, they will answer, “No.” It is a small and insignificant agricultural town. It is a very unlikely place to begin a nationwide revolution. Deraa has a historical importance because of archeological ruins, but that is lost on anyone other than history professors or archeologists. The access to the weapons from Jordan made Deraa the perfect place to stage the uprising which has turned into an international war. Any person with common sense would assume an uprising or revolution in Syria would begin in Damascus or Aleppo, the two biggest cities. Even after 2 ½ years of violence around the country, Aleppo’s population never participated in the uprising, or call for regime change.

    Aleppo: the large industrial powerhouse of Syria wanted nothing to do with the CIA mission, and felt that by staying clear of any participation they could be spared and eventually the violence would die out, a natural death due to lack of participation of the civilians. However, this was not to play out for Aleppo. Instead, the US supported Free Syrian Army, who were mainly from Idlib and the surrounding areas, invited in their foreign partners, and they came pouring into Aleppo from Turkey, where they had taken Turkish Airlines flights from Afghanistan, Europe, Australia and North Africa landing in Istanbul, and then transported by buses owned by the Turkish government to the Turkey-Aleppo border. The airline tickets, buses, paychecks, supplies, food, and medical needs were all supplied in Turkey by an official from Saudi Arabia. The weapons were all supplied by the United States of America, from their warehouse at the dock of Benghazi, Libya. The US-NATO regime change mission had ended in success in Libya, with America having taken possession of all the weapons and stockpiles formerly the property of the Libyan government, including tons of gold bullion taken by the US government from the Central Bank of Libya.

    Enter the Libyans stage right. Mehdi al Harati, the Libyan with an Irish passport, was put in charge of a Brigade of terrorists working under the pay and direction of the CIA in Libya. Once his fighting subsided there, he was moved to Northern Syria, in the Idlib area, which was the base of operation for the American backed Free Syrian Army, who Republican Senator John McCain lobbied for in the US Congress, and personally visited, illegally entering Syria without any passport or border controls. In Arizona, Sen. McCain is in favor of deporting any illegal alien entering USA, but he himself broke international law by entering Syria as an illegal and undocumented alien. However, he was in the company of trusted friends and associates, the Free Syrian Army: the same men who beheaded Christians and Muslims, raped females and children of both sexes, sold girls as sex slaves in Turkey, and ate the raw liver of a man, which they proudly videoed and uploaded.

    Previously, Syria did not have any Al Qaeda terrorists, and had passed through the war in neighboring Iraq none the worse for wear, except having accepted 2 million Iraqis as refugee guests. Shortly before the Deraa staged uprising began, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were in Damascus and being driven around by the President and First Lady. Pitt and Jolie had come to visit and support the Iraqi war refugees in Damascus. Brad Pitt was amazed that the Syrian President would drive him around personally, and without any body guards or security detail. Pitt and Jolie were used to their own heavy security team in USA. Pres. Assad explained that he and his wife were comfortable in Damascus, knowing that it was a safe place. Indeed, the association of French travel agents had deemed Syria as the safest tourist destination in the entire Mediterranean region, meaning even safer than France itself.

    However, the US strategy was to create a “New Middle East”, which would do away with safety in Syria; through the ensuing tornado, aka ‘winds of change’.

    Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and then Syria were the stepping stones in the garden of the “Arab Spring”. But, the scenario in the Syrian mission did not stay on script. It went over deadline and over budget. The final credits have yet to be rolled, and the curtain has yet to fall on the stage.

    We can’t under estimate the role that mainstream media had to play in the destruction of Syria. For example, Al Jazeera’s Rula Amin was in Deraa and personally interviewed the cleric Sayasneh at the Omari Mosque. Al Jazeera is the state owned and operated media for the Prince of Qatar. The Prince of Qatar was one of the key funders of the terrorists attacking Syria. The USA was sending the weapons, supplies and providing military satellite imagery, however the cash to make payroll, to pay out bribes in Turkey, and all other expenses which needed cold cash in hand was being paid out by the Prince of Qatar and the King of Saudi Arabia, who were playing their roles as closest Middle East allies of the United States of America. This was a production team between USA, EU, NATO, Turkey, Jordan, Israel and the Persian Gulf Arab monarchies of Saudi Arabia and Qatar primarily. The CIA has no problem with covert operations in foreign countries, and even full scale attacks, but the matter of funding needs to come from a foreign country, because the American voters don’t care about killing people in Syria, but they would never agree to pay for it. As long as the Arabs were paying for the project, that was OK by Mr. John Q. Public, who probably was not able to find Syria on a map anyway.

    Rula Amin and others of the Al Jazeera staff, and including the American CNN, the British BBC and the French France24 all began deliberate political propaganda campaign against the Syrian government and the Syrian people who were suffering from the death and destruction brought on by the terrorists who were pretending to be players in a local uprising. Some days, the scripts were so similar that you would have guessed they were all written in the same hotel room in Beirut. Onto the stage stepped the online media personalities of Robert Fisk, from his vantage point in Beirut and Joshua Landis from his perch in Oklahoma. These 2 men, sitting so far removed from the actual events, pretended to know everything going on in Syria. British and American readers were swayed by their deliberate one-sided explanations, while the actual Syrians living inside Syria, who read in English online, were baffled. Syrians were wondering how Western writers could take the side of the terrorists who were foreigners, following Radical Islam and attacking any unarmed civilian who tried to defend their home and family. The media was portraying the terrorists as freedom fighters and heroes of democracy, while they were raping, looting, maiming, kidnapping for ransom and murdering unarmed civilians who had not read the script before the shooting began in Deraa. There was one global movie trailer, and it was a low budget cell phone video which went viral around the world, and it sold the viewers on the idea of Syria being in the beginning of a dramatic fight for freedom, justice and the American way. From the very beginning, Al Jazeera and all the rest of the media were paying $100.00 to any amateur video shot in Syria. A whole new cottage industry sprang up in Syria, with directors and actors all hungry for the spotlight and fame. Authenticity was not questioned; the media just wanted content which supported their propaganda campaign in Syria.

    Deraa was the opening act of tragic epic which has yet to conclude. The cleric who was a key character in the beginning scenes, Sheikh Sayasneh, was first put under house arrest, and then he was smuggled out to Amman, Jordan in January 2012. He now gives lectures in America near Washington, DC. Just like aspiring actors usually find their way to Hollywood, which is the Mecca of the film industry, Sheikh Sayasneh found his way to the Mecca of all regime change projects.

    There is a good reason Assad is still in power. He enjoys over 75% support from Syrians, Sunni Shiite Christian Kurds. Turkmen. Assyrians. Druze etc. Syria is a democratic nation whose elections have been monitored by international monitors. Like Lybia , healthcare and education was free and of a high standard. The US Israeli (nato) along with saudi Jordan Quatar Turkey and UAE (yep our Americas cup sponsors) are responsible for the hundreds of thousands of lives lost and the millions of displaced. While Russia has its own economic and geo ploitical reasons for assisting Syria , it is there by invitation and ethically and morally has the high ground. All other parties are in breech of numerous international laws and the UN charter.

    im my opinion the US its allies owe compensation for these crimes against humanity. The military budgets at a minimum should be made available to Syria Iraq etc. You can pretend there is a vested interest in peace by the US… but you are deceiving yourself.
  • bob Atkinson
    commented 2017-07-04 12:19:27 +1200
    Fraser Smith: Surely the troubles in Syria were initially caused by global warming causing a prolonged drought which then caused the destitute farmers to congregate in slums around the main cities and thus become a recruiting ground for parties interested in starting a civil war. Those parties were mainly extremist Muslim groups financed by Iran, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and a few others. Although they exploited social media to recruit useful idiots from many western countries the majority of the fighting has been done by local Muslim groups and most of the fighting against them by Syrian and Iraqi government forces with assistance from Kurdish groups.
    The UK and the USA and many other western countries can well be blamed for incompetence and the Russians for exploiting the situation but they all have a vested interest in peace because that leads to business and profits. I do tend to agree with you that they should stay out of the middle east – it is just too complicated and alien. I see no reason for giving any money from the wealthy west to any of the nations other than the Lebanon and there just to help pay for the refugee camps. Both Syria and Iraq are potentially oil rich so they should look after themselves.
    Although we may disagree about who caused the troubles (and a political party in NZ shouldn’t be choosing sides) I do agree that an extra 300 refugees is more about pity than actually doing any good. Eventually the 5 million refugees will return to their homes and if that needs money then we should help out of a sense of charity. For myself I would prefer it if we took refugees who require medical treatments that are not available in the camps. In other words a smaller number of higher need refugees.
  • fraser smith
    commented 2017-07-04 11:39:46 +1200
    Lets get real about refuges. Adopt our own foreign policy. be vocal as to the cause of the middle east /African refuge issue. The US , its western allies and it’s terrorist supporting middle eastern allies need to be held accountable for the atrocities they are perpetrating Their is no civil war in Syria, and if these greedy nations would stop arming terrorist proxy groups people could return to their homelands. Why is no one promoting that the refuges return home. That the billions spent on arms and military by western nations should be given to Iraq Syria lybia etc to rebuild the societies that we in the west have deliberately destroyed. Im not suggesting that the billions are for western corporations to rebuild these nations, Im suggesting that the cash is given directly to these nations and for them to allocate and use as necessary. 300 refuges is neither here nor there in the scheme of things. What we need to do is have a real moral code. to stand up for the rights of sovereign nations, international law. to stand against the hypocrisy of the US that in turn makes us hypocrites. We must stand against tyrannical nations that break international law, use proxy’s to encourage conflicts, That sell arms directly or indirectly to terrorists or states that engage in illegal breeches of other nations sovereignty. The biggest offenders are our friends the UK and US. In turn that makes us just as guilty.Support for Empire and neocolonialist actions must stop. If that upsets the US or UK etc… to bad
  • John Hurley
    commented 2017-06-24 14:28:26 +1200
    Muslim Integration: Pluralism and Multiculturalism in New Zealand and Australia
    edited by Erich Kolig, Malcolm Voyce
    For different reasons the Pacific immigre nations also were unconcerned because the assumption that Muslims, just like other immigrants would be desirous to adopt the dominant society’s lifestyle and values. Now, there is no longer certainty about that. As awareness grew that the accepted voluntary assimilation did not occur, a more accomodative spirit of the dominant society was called for. In line with the European countries New Zealand and Australia adopted policies of multiculturalism, still in the hope that informal assimilation, unenforced by the state agencies, would run it’s course and eventually produce Australians and New Zealanders of the Islamic faith.
    Then attitudes in the post 9/11 era took a sharp poignant turn towards seeing mass immigration as problematic and countries like Australia and New Zealand started more keenly to keep an eye on the flow of immigrants with an Muslim background. In recent years due to the ongoing string of incidents of so called “domestic terrorism” in the West, the debate assumes a more questioning undertone about the achieve ability of integration. 63 In place of notions of social capital – for instance, through enhancing the workforce and adding to the cultural and economic base of a country – the political discussion, especially in Australia, has shifted to “risk management”
    It would amount to a denial to of reality to maintain that the numerous presence of Muslims does not require some serious considerations. Whether realistically grounded or based on not more than Islamophobic suspicion, pressing questions arise from the Muslim diaspora.
    As Samuel Huntington points out: immigrants to America came to become Americans, but Turks in Germany have no wish to become German; and one might add, Muslims in Australia and New Zealand may not en bloc wish to assume the national identity at the cost of being first and foremost Muslims. They can maintain this stances the legal situation at the present time is grounded in the Human Rights Charter which does not condone state-orchestrated, enforced assimilation and guarantees cultural freedom and the free practice of religious worship. Especially what is regarded as religious freedom enjoys an iconic status.
  • bob Atkinson
    commented 2017-06-24 12:07:39 +1200
    I was pro-immigration; now I am not. I used to live in Spitalfields, London where the local schools were 96% Bengali (peaceful people by the way) and I have relatives in Oldham, Huddersfield & Bradford which are three cities that in the words of Trevor Phillips have ‘sleepwalked into segregation’. I have a multi-ethnic family. My bias was always and I think still is strongly liberal. However lets face facts: immigration is a minefield – surely we should all agree on that.
    Does anyone have accurate figures for our refugee intake compared to other countries? Does anyone have any data about the costs and success/failure of the refugees we have taken in over the last say 20 years?
  • John Hurley
    commented 2017-06-24 11:18:38 +1200
    Let’s get real about refugees. In 1950 Syria’s population was 4 million, by 2010 it was 20million. Religion paid a large part in that. Similarly, the Pacific Islands were “severely overcrowded” up until the 1960’s when political correctness replaced objectivity. The 3000 refugees will be 3000 x family members and I do not believe they will fit in. A crowd in Britain now features women in the strange garb of a Catholic nun but with a covered face and what we are supposed to be seeing is “tolerance” and “diversity”.
    Invercargill has been designated as a refugee settlement area and with that comes a media campaign. Invercargill also needs a Chinese garden (apparently). The only thing New Zealanders can’t celebrate (Racist/imperialist/coloniser) is just being and enjoying life in New Zealand.
    Everyone should read: Explaining Post-Modernism: Skepticism, From Rosseau to Foucault.
    It explains multiculturalism and why we “celebrate diversity” (even though we don’t).
    I think TOPS is the best party out there ranked on the way it has thought things through. However, there is a liberal slant where conservatism is needed for balance. I think this reflects the world view of the internationally mobile liberal (“have money and skills can travel” – “love my Mexican gardeners @ $5/hour”)
  • bob Atkinson
    commented 2017-06-23 20:18:23 +1200
    Is the 95th (middle of 200 countries) for refugee intake per capita based on the old 750 figure or the current 1000 quota or the approx 5000 labelled “International / Humanitarian” in our immigration statistics?

    In the past I was all for a dramatic increase as per TOP’s policy but more recently I’ve realised most refugees simply want to return home. This may take years but it is far better value for money supporting ten in a Lebanese camp than one in NZ. Of course there are some who can never be expected to return such as the Syrian Yazidi.

    I’m also concerned that maybe the UNHCR doesn’t select with sufficient care. Emphasis on “maybe”.

    Another issue I cannot resolve and I don’t see any discussion of is to what extent are we taking talent and to what extent catering for the most in need. For example about 10% of the Syrian refugees are graduates but half of those graduates are now in Europe. I would prefer NZ to take a smaller number of those in greatest need: the blind, the cripples, the handicapped, etc where we have resources that can make a really big difference to their lives.

    We also need to measure of our success in absorbing refugees. How long do they stay on benefits, how many never learn to speak English, problems with traditional arranged marriages (as per last weeks debate in parliament).

    If we are not careful we will just be virtue signalling not really caring.

    However we definitely should be setting up the infrastructure to handle tens or even hundreds of thousands of refugees – just in case climate change is worse than anticipated.
  • Marc Steyn
    followed this page 2017-06-23 13:20:26 +1200
  • Oliver Krollmann
    commented 2017-06-22 18:36:15 +1200
    And why is that, Mark?