Whanganui's refugee resettlement programme is in limbo as iwi leaders prepare to meet with government ministers to discuss the programme and highlight issues the city is facing.
Of the new resettlement locations announced by Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway in February, Whanganui is the only location where an organisation hasn't yet been awarded a refugee settlement services contract.
Earlier this year Immigration New Zealand's Andrew Lockhart said the agency was working on selecting organisations to provide support, and that the aim was to announce the outcome of the tender work in October.
However, in a recent statement Lockhart said no contract had been awarded for Whanganui and Immigration New Zealand would continue to engage on refugee resettlement.
The meeting between iwi and ministers is scheduled for November 28.
An Immigration New Zealand refugee resettlement meeting in Whanganui in July was ended early by Tupoho iwi representative Ken Mair who said iwi did not support the resettlement of refugees in Whanganui without further discussion.
Mair said disappointment was an understatement when it came to a lack of consultation from ministers.
"When you do strategies, plans and set these things up, it should be natural and normal to actually make immediate contact with the people concerned that you've got a relationship with, in this case the Crown and iwi," he said.
"That's never happened, but we're keen to find a way through to look for solutions and have a much better process into the future."
Addressing poverty, homelessness and health issues is the first priority for iwi, according to Mair who called for ministers and iwi to work on strategies around those issues before looking at refugee resettlement planning.
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Mair said there had been at least two attempts for a meeting to take place between the two parties but it hadn't worked out.
"We certainly get the feel that they want to push out the timeline because when we said let's do this in the next couple weeks, we got a letter back saying that can't be done for four to six weeks.
"There didn't appear to be a sense of urgency from the minister's office, albeit they knew the seriousness of the issues to us."
Other resettlement locations in Masterton, Levin, Blenheim, Timaru and Ashburton will take on refugees from April 2020.
Whanganui was also scheduled to begin its refugee intake from April 2020; however, a start date for Whanganui will be announced at a later date along with the naming of a support services provider.