Anglican and Roman Catholic leaders have urged the Prime Minister, John Key, to offer more refugees sanctuary in New Zealand.
In a letter to Mr Key, Archbishops Philip Richardson and Brown Turei (Anglican) and John Cardinal Dew (Catholic) say the refugee crises in the Middle East and Africa require “a global response.”
“Our country needs to play its part and to respond with the compassion and the hospitality for which we are renowned,” the church leaders write.
“We have done so in the past, we continue to support newcomers and we commit ourselves and our resources into the future to this task.”
The College of St John the Evangelist in Auckland has also written to the Prime Minister over the refugee crises.
"We support our Archbishops’ call for you to facilitate an immediate and urgent increase in the number of refugees that may come to this country," the principal and deans of the college say in their joint letter.
In support, they cite New Zealand's responsibilities under the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, the Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights."
"We stand with all faith leaders who in 2013 committed themselves to the Affirmations for Faith Leaders, an inter-faith document written in response to a call from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees that states: A core value of our faith is to welcome the stranger, the refugee, the internally displaced, the other. We shall treat him or her as we would like to be treated. We will challenge others to do the same.
"But most of all, we stand with displaced people everywhere and affirm their human dignity and right to live in safety and peace. As Anglican followers of Christ we will continue to support and value those who seek our nation’s shelter in times of crisis," says the college letter.
Meanwhile, Bishop Helen-Ann Hartley of Waikato has offered the following prayer:
God of compassion and mercy,
Your children cry out in their distress.
We pray for your guidance in bestowing wisdom upon
our leaders. May their hearts be attuned to Your will.
May they respond with open arms to welcome those
who flee terror and war.
We ask your protection on all those without homes,
and we who have shelter give us a hunger for justice.
May the power of Your Holy Spirit inspire us to speak out for those without voice.
In the name of Your Son Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour we pray,
The Archbishops' full letter reads:
As senior leaders of the Catholic and Anglican Churches in Aotearoa New Zealand, we write to urge you to facilitate an immediate and urgent increase in the number of refugees our country offers sanctuary to as a response to the crises in the Middle East and North Africa.
These are global crises which require a global response. Our country needs to play its part and to respond with the compassion and the hospitality for which we are renowned.
We know that Catholic and Anglican Christians throughout the country will step up to provide support and assistance to those our country offers refuge to.
We have done so in the past, we continue to support newcomers and we commit ourselves and our resources into the future to this task.
Our country has been enriched for generations by the arrival of migrants, and we have the capacity as a community to respond to this global crisis at a greater level than we are doing now.
There is a clear moral imperative for us to do so. Yours in Christ,
Archbishop Philip Richardson, Archbishop and Primate;
Archbishop Brown Turei, Archbishop and Primate;
John Cardinal Dew, Cardinal Archbishop of Wellington.