HEATHER DU PLESSIS-ALLAN: We're hypocrites

23/09/2016

New Zealand, we looked like hypocrites this week.

We told the rest of the world to help with Syria, but we're not doing our own share.

Prime Minister John Key gave the United Nations a telling off this week.

He said the international community had failed Syria.

This is the exact quote:

"Syria has become a byword for failure. Failure of the parties and their supporters to put peace, and the lives of innocent people ahead of self-interest and zero-sum politics."

It would be a bold statement, if not for our double-standards.

If New Zealand had put "the lives of innocent people ahead" of "politics" we'd have taken more refugees.

There are more Syrians who have fled their country than there are Kiwis living in New Zealand: an estimated 5 million of them.

We offered to take an extra 750 a year ago (7 September 2015)​.​

Lebanon is a country of roughly the same size as New Zealand. They've taken more than a million refugees. Admittedly, Lebanon doesn't have much choice given its proximity to Syria, but regardless, the international burden isn't being spread equally.

The truth is, John Key would suffer politically if he accepted thousands of Syrians and things went wrong. Maybe they'd struggle to get jobs. Maybe they'd put pressure on housing.

But hey, he reckons we should put the lives of innocent people ahead" of "politics".

If you have a view, we'll be talking about this on YOUR SUNDAY - 10am to 2pm on RadioLIVE.

source: data archive