Labour’s immigration spokesperson Phil Twyford is calling on the Government to follow the example of Australia and help New Zealanders’ close family members stuck in Gaza to escape and take shelter here.
New Zealander Alya Hammad has written to Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters asking the Government to add the names of her non-Kiwi family members to a list of people being allowed to escape Gaza at the Rafah border crossing. It has been reported the NZ Embassy in Cairo told Hammad they can’t add her family to the New Zealand list without a directive from the Minister of Foreign Affairs.
“New Zealanders with family members trapped in Gaza will be distraught that their relatives are in an active war zone. The Government should help the families of Kiwis to get out, by putting their names on the list at the Rafah border crossing,” Phil Twyford said.
“The Government should also do what Australia is doing and provide visas so those family members, once they get out of Gaza, can come to New Zealand and shelter with family here.”
The Australian government has granted hundreds of temporary visas to Palestinians with family connections in Australia in the weeks since the bombing in Gaza began.
“We showed with the evacuation of Kabul that we can act decisively to save people at risk. And in the case of Ukraine we gave the family members of Kiwis who were in a war zone the chance to take shelter with their families in New Zealand. There is no reason the Government should not now do the same for the families of Kiwis stuck in Gaza,” Phil Twyford said.
“Ultimately, we want to see a just and lasting peace that recognises the existence and self-determination of Israelis and Palestinians. We encourage the parties to work to a two-state solution within secure and recognised borders where all citizens enjoy equal rights and freedoms.”