Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Raise the quota

New Zealand prides itself as being a decent country which does its bit on the international stage. We help out when there are disasters. We give international aid (though not nearly enough). And we're always ready to join in when George or Tony (or Dave or Barrack) want to bomb somewhere and need some sucker to lend them legitimacy (OK, so maybe that's not so good).

But on refugees, we're appalling. We take just 750 a year (plus or minus 10%). And we haven't changed that number since 1987. In the interim, our population has grown by almost 40% and our GDP has more than tripled. In other words, we're not doing our bit, and we could do a hell of a lot more.

John Key, whose mother was a refugee, is reluctant to raise our refugee quota, even temporarily, because its the wrong time, and he doesn't want to care for them, and we have to have a referendum on the flag, don't you know. But his support parties disagree with him, and there's now a clear majority in Parliament to take more. So how do we do it?

Conveniently, the Greens' Denise Roche already has a bill to do this. Its missing two words, "at least", the consequences of which are that future increases can only come through statute, but its a start. But currently its waiting on the ballot, when the world is facing a crisis.

But there's another way. Some of you may recall that just a couple of weeks ago, Parliament granted leave for David Seymour's sportsball booze bill to be effectively progressed under urgency. Some readers in the Waikato may think I lack perspective, but IMHO if they can do this so rugby meatheads can get pissed at 5am while watching some bullshit sporting event, then the least they can do is do it so that helpless people don't die.

So, how about it, Parliament? Want to show that we have a democracy we can be proud of? Or are you really only interested in football and fucking flags?