Ashburton picked out for refugee regional resettlement

5:00 pm on 6 May 2019

Ashburton is the latest regional town to be selected as a refugee settlement location.

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Photo: 123rf

Ashburton joins Whanganui, Timaru, Blenheim, Masterton and Levin which were announced as new settlement locations in February.

In September last year, the government increased the annual refugee quota to 1500 places from July 2020, up from 1000.

Immigration New Zealand's (INZ) national manager of refugee division, Andrew Lockhart, said with a relatively low demand on public housing and good employment opportunities, Ashburton met all the criteria to be selected.

"I am confident that the people of Ashburton will welcome the refugees when they start arriving in the area," Mr Lockhart said.

"We will meet directly with the council to brief them on the settlement support available and then work with them to engage communities and providers."

He said he was confident the people of Ashburton would welcome the refugees, adding that the town already had a great track record.

INZ said refugees would begin to be settled in Timaru, Whanganui and Blenheim from April 2020, in Masterton and Levin from June 2020, and in Ashburton from August 2020.

It is expected that between 10 and 15 refugees, about three to five families, will be allocated to each of the six new settlement locations.

The nationalities of the refugees is yet to be decided.

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