Marlborough Migrant Centre position on refugee resettlement.
Like many individuals and organisations, the Marlborough Migrant Centre is concerned at the current refugee and migrant crisis in relation to the conflict in Syria.
We agree that this is a humanitarian issue on a scale not seen for a long time. Recently the UN high Commissioner for Refugees has said that Europe is facing its biggest refugee influx in decades and that the vast majority of people coming from conflict zones are simply running for their lives.
We are heartened to see the groundswell of sympathy from ordinary New Zealanders. Many kiwis realise that refugees are people forced to flee their homeland in fear of their safety and that they simply seek somewhere safe and secure to continue their lives.
We welcome the New Zealand Government’s decision to accept 600 more refuges over the next two years in addition to the current quota of 750 per year.
Should the Government decide that Marlborough can help resettle refugees the Marlborough Migrant Centre would support initiatives to do this.
However, we must ensure that any resettlement initiative is equipped with the right resources, infrastructure and community support to not only welcome refugees but ensure their ongoing wellbeing.
The Migrant Centre has been involved in discussions with Red Cross and other key stakeholders about the possibility of Blenheim becoming a refugee resettlement area. We would welcome a role in assisting refugees to resettle alongside key providers such as the Red Cross, who are currently the main organisation tasked to provide refugee resettlement services and support in New Zealand.
We believe that refugees’ and migrants’ greatest resource is themselves. With the right support these newcomers can translate their skills, interests and past experiences into assets that would become valuable to the Marlborough community.
However, settling in a new country has many challenges and the pathway to successful settlement requires robust resources to support those settling in and also the host community.