Refugees

Alliance Party Refugees Policy

Preamble

  • New Zealand has had a patchy record in extending rights of sanctuary towards refugees. Given the current international situation, there is a danger that this record will take a turn for the worse. The Alliance refugee policy is based on equity towards those who have genuine need for sanctuary.

  • The so-called ‘war on terrorism’ is likely to lead to ever more refugees, so New Zealand needs to consult with the UNHCR on increasing its intake of refugees.

  • Refugees need a great deal of support, both when they first arrive in New Zealand and after they have their refugee status approved and are settling into the community. Our services are patchy and heavily reliant on charities.

We stand for the following policies

  • Protect the rights of refugees. Ensure that refugee policies and practices for those who come to New Zealand under the Annual Refugee Quota, as well as spontaneous refugees, conform to the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the 1967 Protocol and all other relevant international and domestic instruments.

  • Reject mandatory detention. Ensure refugee claimants can challenge any ‘security’ claims against them in open court; oppose granting the State power to take away a citizen’s passport.

  • Recognise environmental reasons for refugee status. Support refugee status for those affected by environmental factors such as global warming which is resulting in rising sea levels that have the potential to flood and inundate Pacific Islands such as Tuvalu.

  • Improved process. When refugees arrive in New Zealand they are, by definition, under great strain. Administrative arrangements on arrival must recognise this and be as supportive as possible. An improved assessment process must eliminate any backlog of refugees applying for asylum.

  • One Stop Shop. There must be one central agency to coordinate the services refugees need. Housing is a first priority.

  • Work. The Employment Service would be instructed to work with other relevant government agencies and community bodies on training and employment opportunities to ensure all refugees are in work as soon as they are fit and able to work.

  • Refugee children. Specific funding would be allocated so that schools could meet the language requirements and other special needs of refugees and their children.

  • Refugee law and policies. As is required under international law, refugee law and practice would be separated from immigration policies.