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The Prime Minister was stretching her credibility when she suggested that Iain Lees-Galloway was a lone actor working independently of Government policy in his efforts to increase the refugee quota, National’s Immigration spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says.

“There are numerous examples of this work being carried out under Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway’s portfolio despite Jacinda Arden’s claim that this was ‘a personal commitment to increasing the refugee quota’.

“This includes a press release that was sent out by Iain Lees-Galloway less than a month ago where he said ‘today will go some way to help us achieve lifting our refugee quota to 1500 per year in this term of Government.’

“There are also multiple briefings that refer to this policy including a document with advice requested by the Minister titled ‘Increasing the Refugee Quota: Options for staging the increase to 1,500 places annually by June 2010’ and a briefing from MBIE which provides advice on immigration policy priorities and states that ‘you [the Immigration Minister] indicated that you would like to have a plan to scale up the refugee intake to 1,500 developed by the middle of 2018’.

“Another briefing titled ‘Options for staging the increase in the Refugee Quota’ outlines that ‘you have committed to increasing the annual Refugee Quota to 1,500 places by June 2020’ and ‘seeks a decision on your preferred option for staging the increase in the annual Refugee Quota to 1,500 places by June 2020’.

“It is also important to note that Ardern’s Government approved nearly $14 million of taxpayer funding for the purpose of accommodating up to 1500 refugees. This makes it very clear that Iain Lees-Galloway was pursuing this work in his role as a Government Minister and that it was Government policy.

“The Prime Minister is throwing her Minister under the bus in order to keep peace with the Leader of NZ First.”

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