by NZ CATHOLIC staff
New Zealand’s Catholic bishops marked June 21 as a day of prayer for migrants and refugees, while
various political parties continued to urge the Government to increase the refugee quota from
the 750 to 1000.
According to Caritas New Zealand, there are more than 10 million refugees worlwide. These people have crossed borders to escape prosecution because of their race, religion, political beliefs or
In his annual message to the Church for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, Pope Francis
said people trying to escape difficult living conditions and dangers of every kind are among today’s poorest and most abandoned. In them, Jesus Christ stands waiting to be recognised.
“The Church without frontiers, Mother to all, spreads throughout the world a culture of acceptance
and solidarity, in which no one is seen as useless, out of place or disposable. When living out
this motherhood effectively, the Christian community nourishes, guides and indicates the way, accompanying all with patience, and drawing close to them through prayer and works of mercy,” he
The Pope called for the Church to commit to new forms of solidarity, communion and evangelisation.
He also called for a “globalisation of charity and cooperation” and greater effort to ease the
conditions that compel people to leave their homelands.
Refugee Council of New Zealand president Dr Arif Saeid said it is the right time for the New
Zealand Government to respond generously to global need and increase the refugee quota to 1000
“New Zealand has not increased its refugee quota since 1988, despite tens of thousands people
being forced to leave their homes every day due to war. We Kiwis, as a world first class developed
and caring nation, have a tradition of responding when there is humanitarian need around the
world,” he said.
“However we stand well behind many other nations when it comes to refugee resettlement. New Zealand is only globally ranked 87th in regard to refugee resettlement per capita.”
Mr Saeid said the refugee council would welcome and support any efforts to increase the quota
for refugee resettlement in New Zealand.
On June 18, Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said the Government may lift the refugee
quota next year after calls for New Zealand to do more for people fleeing their homes around the world.
New Zealand had taken refugees for resettlement since the end of World War II and established a
formal annual quota of 750 places, which had not been increased since 1987.