Minister Lees-Galloway and Minister Robertson: Make Community Sponsorship permanent
At its heart, Community Sponsorship is a simple but radical idea: ordinary citizens like you can directly help people seeking refuge to rebuild their lives in a new country.
The Community Sponsorship of Refugees programme offers us an extraordinary opportunity to welcome more newcomers, in addition to what the Government currently offers through the refugee quota system.
Community Sponsorship involves individual people and community organisations taking the lead in helping refugees to rebuild their lives. Started in Canada in the 1970's, their programme has successfully welcomed more than 300,000 people.
Here in New Zealand, Community Sponsorship has been a win-win. The families brought here under the Government’s pilot programme have been empowered by finally having a safe place to call home. At the same time, members of the community sponsor groups have been empowered by being able to help a global problem that usually feels too big to make a difference. Plus in the aftermath of the Christchurch attacks, Community Sponsorship is a clear way to develop communities that are more connected, caring and compassionate.
New Zealand is not doing our fair share. In fact, per capita, we take in fewer families seeking refuge than almost every other developed country in the world. We can and should do more.
Countries around the world are recognising the vital role Community Sponsorship plays in their refugee resettlement obligations. Ireland seized the opportunities and benefits – they beat us to it by announcing that they were making their own Community Sponsorship pilot programme permanent in November 2019.
It’s time for the New Zealand Government to show the world what a compassionate, caring country we are by making Community Sponsorship permanent.
We are calling on Minister Lees-Galloway and Minister Robertson to:
- Make the Community Sponsorship of Refugees programme permanent & prioritise funding it in the 2020 Budget;
- Ensure that the people who come via Community Sponsorship are in addition to those already coming via the refugee quota system;
- Commit to a humanitarian purpose by doing away with the restrictive language, skill, age and health criteria that were required under the current CORS pilot programme.
Take action with us today by signing the petition above!