Wellington, New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English on Monday said he disagrees with the United States’ entry restrictions on citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries.
However, English said he had not made his views known to US President Donald Trump, Radio New Zealand reported.
Trump has issued an executive order preventing people from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Sudan from entering the US for 90 days, and suspending refugee entries to the US for four months as well as banning refugees from Syria indefinitely.
English had been under mounting criticism for failing to condemn Trump’s immigration ban order, but on Monday he said he would not implement such a ban in New Zealand and disagreed with it, Xinhua news agency reported.
“We don’t agree with the policy. We have yet to see just what turns out to be the long-term policy for the US, because this is a temporary measure,” said English, adding that discriminating against refugees and migrants is “not the New Zealand way”.
“It does appear to have created some real chaos (in US) in the short term,” he said.
The Red Cross, which is the primary provider of refugee settlement support in New Zealand, welcomed English’s response and said it would like to see a practical response from New Zealand through an emergency refugee intake.
“…Upholding obligations to protect them (refugees) had never been more important,” said Anne Smith, acting Secretary General of the New Zealand Red Cross.
“The majority of refugees are women and children. An emergency intake could assist some of these families who are most vulnerable,” Smith said in a statement.
A number of world leaders have publicly stated their opposition to Trump’s ban, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.