Tuesday, 19 August 2014

More refugees?

It looks like New Zealand won't be taking any more refugees despite the ongoing messes in Iraq and Syria.
"We want from the New Zealand government to accept refugees from Syria and Iraq, especially who have relatives here," says Assyrian community spokesman Khaled Tomas.
But Prime Minister John Key won't budge on New Zealand's annual refugee quota of 750, even though reports in Australia say the Abbott government is considering taking 4000 Syrian and Iraqi Christians.
"I think we took a group of 150 Syrian refugees as part of our UNHCR quota, and we're always looking to see on a humanitarian basis what we could do," says Mr Key.
It's little comfort for Kiwi Assyrians desperately trying to protect their loved ones and one of the oldest Christian communities in the world.
"We had churches in Mosul for 1800 years, and they're all destroyed," says Iraqi priest Father Kanon Toma.
Now the terrified Christians and Yazidis are prepared to leave their ancient cultures behind and start again.
The community in New Zealand has only one wish – for them to have a better life.
I'm not sure what's underlying Key's decision. Maybe it's the case that none of the refugees from there can get to any airport or seaport that could convey them to New Zealand anyway. Maybe NZ has no capacity to sort refugees from ISIS fighters who might wish to come visit.

But if it's just worries about the potential cost of accepting refugees, well, there is perhaps a solution to that. Get a number on the marginal cost to the government of providing assistance to a refugee for the refugee's first couple of years. Set up a PledgeMe drive so those who'd be happy to help support bringing people over can do so. If the cost of an additional refugee is x, and the drive raises 50x, let in 50 more refugees.


  1. The 2013 budget data says that 3% of tax payers (PAYE payers I think) pay 26% of income tax already. Previous estimates I did and found suggested that ~50% of tax payers were not net tax payers including some estimates I did of GST. For the avoidance of doubt, it was the lowest 50% that were not net tax payers.

    Taxing the top 3% another chunk will raise the tax take, but increase the incentive for avoidance and structuring etc. But, if my calcs were even vaguely correct, the top 50%, or incomes over ~$80k pa in 2013 are already the only net tax payers.

    So it is no wonder they have set the top rate to hit the 'rich', it is politics of envy. When will people and politicians realise that the solution is not solely redistribution, the problem is we need more higher paid, net tax payers!

  2. Many people's wedding rings don't come off any more, and to enforce the rule would be unlawful discrimination on the basis of marital status.

  3. The exemption was granted long before anti-discrimination legislation was ever thought of :-)

    Anyway I was trying to make a wider point about regulation. I assume that the reason for the regulation is that jewelry can harbour pathogens that are not removed in the course of normal hand-washing. So, either this poses enough of a risk that all jewelry must be removed before hand-washing with no exception or it isn't a big risk at all in which case why do we have the regulation at all.

    Likewise if the regulators want consumers of food and beverages to have reliable information available to indicate whether it is safe for them consume an item then it needs to be across the board without exception. Why have food labeling laws if it is going to be hit or miss whether an item is fully labeled or not.

  4. Where can I get those 'peanut-free' peanuts?

  5. Though none of these regulations should exist, why not advertise the beer as "Suitable for people who a Gluten intolerant"?
    Or rename the beer as a new brand - Glutefree or NoGluten or Gluteless?