Prime Minister John Key has reiterated that he will not relent to calls to increase New Zealand's refugee quota.

Mr Key said this morning it was more important to resettle the existing quota of 750 per year rather than increase the total number of refugees.

"The issue will be if we take more - will we do as good a job?" he told Radio New Zealand.
He said the costs and the commitments required to resettle refugees were "intensive".

Read more:
People-smuggling boat headed for NZ shores
Key warning on boat peoplee


Amnesty International's global secretary general Salil Shetty has travelled to New Zealand to discuss human rights issues including refugee protection, and will this afternoon lobby Mr Key to double the quota.

New Zealand has not increased its refugee quota for 30 years. It is ranked 87th in the world for total refugee resettlement per capita.

There are currently around 52 million refugees around the world - numbers not seen since World War II.

Mr Key said he accepted that there was "an international problem". But he said the scale of the crisis meant an increase in New Zealand's refugee resettlement would achieve little.

"If we were to go ... from 750 to 850 or 750 to 1000 it's hard to believe that that's going to resolve the issue."

He acknowledged that Australia's quota was far higher than New Zealand, but added "there's also a lot of countries that don't take any at all."

New Zealand reviews its quota every three years, and the next review deadline is mid-2016.

Amnesty International says New Zealand should be showing greater leadership at a time when it is about to take over the presidency of the United Nations Security Council.


Mr Key yesterday revealed that a boat which set off from Indonesia carrying 65 asylum seekers was attempting to make it to New Zealand.

The boat was intercepted and turned around by Australian authorities.