Just exactly how gold-plated is being a refugee in New Zealand?

While in power, National has refurbished the refugee resettlement centre in Mangere, Auckland, and in 2014 boosted resettlement planning and support services by $5.6 million.

The massive humanitarian crisis triggered by the Syrian conflict helped to drive further changes, as the New Zealand public put pressure on the government to lift the annual refugee quota.

From next year, New Zealand’s annual refugee quota will go up for the first time since 1987 – from 750 per year to 1000.

When Ibriham Omer moved here from Eritrea, East Africa, in 2008, he was given a Housing New Zealand home in Upper Hutt where his neighbours were gang members.

“I’m someone who’s coming with a troubled past, and then they’ve [put me] among troubled people.”

Mr Omer was attacked one night and, fearing for his life, asked Housing New Zealand to move him. But they couldn’t.

So he left the settlement programme and the government support, and went out on his own.

It was a depressing experience, but he was lucky to land a cleaning job after six months, he says.

Unfortunately his story is common, and Mr Omer says people struggle for years before they find their feet.

The number of people needing to come to New Zealand would only increase and it was time for a more comprehensive system, he says.

Rachel O’Connor agrees.

“It’s humanitarian aid. It isn’t immigration. So as the humanitarian needs increase, as a country, it would be good to see our response increase.”

As a refugee in New Zealand, you get money, somewhere to live and an orientation period with assistance from the government.  And you get to escape whatever hell-hole you came from.

After that, we expect them to fend for themselves.

Is it enough?  Or do we need to give more?



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