Hero photograph
Student Meeting with the Minister of Immigration 
Photo by Aditia Hassib

Student Meeting with the Minister of Immigration 

Katharine Woolrych —

As part of the LPHS Amnesty International Group’s activities for World Refugee Day, we met with the Minister of Immigration Michael Woodhouse to discuss NZ’s policy on refugees and asylum seekers, on June 24.

Around thirty students attended the meeting, where the Minister gave a short address and then some students had the opportunity to ask questions. The Minister expressed sympathy with Amnesty’s calls to ‘double the quota’, calling the current refugee crisis the ‘largest mass movement of people during global peacetime’. However, he said the issue was one of ‘quality rather than quantity’ and that New Zealand risked adversely affecting the current high standard service it provides for refugees if it increased the quota. The Minister spoke about Australia’s policy on asylum seekers, the principle of ‘refoundment’, and how he believes New Zealand compares on the world stage.

Topics for the questions for the Minister related to the cost of resettling refugees, how money allocated to refugees was spent, the minister’s opinion on Germany’s response, employment prospects for refugees, and how diversity could benefit New Zealand. Unfortunately many students attending did not have the opportunity to ask their questions but the Minister welcomed any further questions via email.