There are children somewhere around the world right now trying to sleep to the sound of war.

Their parents may be hurriedly packing up whatever they can to leave a city which has been their home forever but is now devastated.

Life there has become too difficult, too fraught with danger, so they're leaving their entire lives behind with nowhere to go and little control over their future.

Imagine how bad life has to get for that to become the better option.


This week's announcement that Whanganui will become a refugee resettlement location – taking up about 100 refugees a year – mean families like this will soon be arriving in our city.

The introduction of new cultures and people with different experiences to our community has been celebrated by many and no doubt it is morally the right thing to do.

But there is also plenty trepidation on the street if the strong reaction on social media is anything to go by.

Once the more vile, racist comments are sifted out - and sadly there are plenty of them - there seems some genuine concern about Whanganui's capacity to cope when there is a known housing shortage and unemployment.

The crux of that concern is: 'Let's look after our backyard first'.

Ignoring the fact that Whanganui's problems are not even in the same league as those human beings literally running for their lives (as those described above) – there is no reason we can't fix both.

Yes, Whanganui has a housing shortage that has to be taken seriously and extra people will only add to that issue.

But, if anything, whatever is required to accommodate our new residents will only help sharpen Whanganui's focus on tidying up its own 'backyard' - and vice versa.


It's just that we'll be doing it alongside a few more people who don't even have a backyard to sort out anymore.