Winston Peters has poured cold water over the Government’s much-lauded plans to double the refugee quota to 1500, which would be a remarkable backdown on a key policy.
His announcement made in Nauru at the opening of the Pacific Islands Forum (PIF), seems to have taken the Prime Minister by surprise. …
National increased it slightly to 1000 per year in response to the Syrian refugee crisis, and the Government has promised to lift that to 1500 a year – a doubling of the original quota.
Though perhaps no one told Mr Peters.
“We never made a commitment to double the refugee quota,” he said.
That’s not what the Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway said in July.
“It is still my intention to see an increase in the refugee quota to 1500,” he said at the time.
He reiterated that just two weeks ago in a press release celebrating Christchurch reopening as a refugee resettlement centre.
He said that would “go some way to help us achieve lifting our refugee quota to 1500 per year in this term of Government” – but Mr Peters is now dampening down that claim.
“We’ve agreed to take it to 1000… but we’ve made no announcement to double it,” he said.
Peters is humiliating Labour and the PM, especially by announcing this at the Pacific Islands Forum.
Radio NZ further report:
This appeared to be news to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
“I would want to check the context of all of those questions [to Mr Peters], but as I’ve said that commitment still remains.”
Ms Ardern said the policy to double the quota was still on the table.
“We haven’t finalised all the details of that commitment, but that remains part of our policy.
“It hasn’t come through cabinet, that’s an accurate representation, but that is still a commitment that we have.”
Mr Peters argued there were other priorities.
“We’ve got 50,000 people who are homeless back home, and I can show you parts of the Hokianga and elsewhere, parts of Northland, with people living in degradation.
“We have to fix their lives up as well before we start taking on new obligations of the level that some people would like.”
It is very clear that the power in the coalition rests with Peters.
It is also very clear that this is not a cohesive Government with an plan for New Zealand. The contradictions appear daily.
The PM is introduced by the CEO of a major bank, and the next day Shane Jones is attacking her bank (and all other banks).
Even worse the PM appoints the CEO of Air NZ to chair her business advisory council, and the same day Shane Jones (a senior Minister) is personally attacking that CEO. What the hell is business meant to think?