Monday, June 13, 2016

The least they think they can get away with

To great fanfare, National has raised the annual refugee quota to a thousand places from 2018. But while its the first increase in 30 years and an improvement on the current situation, its nowhere near what is needed, and in fact the least they think they can get away with. To point out the obvious: this "increase" hasn't even kept pace with population growth since the quota was originally set in 1987, and while they complain about resourcing and the need to ensure that refugees receive proper support on arrival (which is a real concern), this is treated as a hard and permanent cap, rather than a temporary limit. A government which wanted to take credible action would have recognised the temporary limits on our ability to properly assist refugees, while setting a pathway to increasing our capacity. National hasn't done that, because they see this purely as a PR issue, not as a moral necessity: "how do we stop voters thinking we're heartless wankers" rather than "we need to do our bit to solve this pressing global crisis". But then, that's how they respond to everything: climate change, housing, child poverty - their "policy" is about mollifying voters, being able to say "we're doing something", while eliding the fact that they're actually doing sweet fuck all.