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Labour needs to fess up about what NZ First has gained from agreeing to increase the refugee quota by 500 in two years’ time, National’s Immigration spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says.

“The handling of what has been a cornerstone issue for Labour has been a mess from start to finish. First they were increasing the quota, then they weren’t, now they are - but not for another two years.

“The hold-up was, of course, Winston Peters’ exercising his authority over his larger but weaker coalition partners. Now he’s changed his mind and allowed the Prime Minister to make yet another announcement designed to boost her international profile, New Zealanders deserve to know about the quid pro quo.

“National believes 1000 refugees was about right. It costs around $100,000 per person per year to properly settle refugees to help them integrate and lead productive lives here and any increase needs to be balanced against other priorities.

“The fact that the Greens were nowhere to be seen in this announcement is evidence of the strong influence of New Zealand First had on it. The big question is what was the price of its support for a policy that only a week ago it denied the existence of. Time will tell.”

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