Stepping Up: NZ’S Response to the refugee crisis

Event Details

Saturday, August 1, 5.30pm, The Rees Hotel Queenstown conference room.
Registration essential – Entry $5 at door.

Queenstowner Lucia Dore looks at how New Zealand’s refugee policy is working through the eyes of her documentary “Stepping Up.” An abridged version of the documentary, which looks at some of the most important issues facing us today, will be shown on the evening (it can be viewed online).

Since Lucia started working on the documentary last year while at Canterbury University, after spending many years working as a journalist in the Middle East, the issue of refugees and asylum seekers has become one of the most topical issues globally, with stories of “boat people” struggling to reach Europe and Australia.

One of the latest developments even brings New Zealand into the picture with fears that “boat people” from Indonesia are trying to reach this country. Could this really happen?

New Zealand’s intake of refugees, at 750, is tiny, especially compared with the rest of the world. Worse still, this number hasn’t changed for 25 years. Could, and should, New Zealand, be doing more? Does NZ as a society gain by taking in refugees and asylum seekers?

And is New Zealand’s resettlement strategy, which was once considered world class, still worthy of its reputation?

Following the viewing, a number of people will be present to discuss and debate refugee issues.

They are:
Mo Farrell, campaign manager, Amnesty International, New Zealand. Amnesty is one of the leading organisations working on behalf of refugees and is lobbying government to increase NZ’s refugee quota.

Ahmed Tani, chair of Canterbury Refugee Council and acting chair of New Zealand National Refugee Network, works with refugees in Christchurch to help them integrate into NZ society. He will explain how refugees fared during the Christchurch earthquakes.

Gul Agha Alizadah, a student at Canterbury University, is an Afghan refugee and son of one of the men who gained asylum in NZ under Helen Clark’s government. He will explain the trauma his father and his family suffered trying to leave Afghanistan and how they reached New Zealand.