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Strategy supports successful settlement

10 August 2005

Strategy supports successful settlement

Auckland City today backed a new regional migrant and refugee settlement strategy.

The draft Auckland Regional Settlement Strategy, which was endorsed by Auckland City’s Community Development and Equity Committee, outlines initiatives local councils can adopt to help migrants and refugees re-settle in Auckland.

The strategy, commissioned by the Auckland Mayoral Forum in 2003, is the first to look specifically at the barriers and issues new migrants and refugees face when they settle in Auckland.

The chairperson of the Community Development and Equity Committee, Councillor Cathy Casey, says the strategy is an important step forward.

“Auckland’s diverse migrant population is one of the things that make us special. Our city is a unique and colourful place.

“In an election year, immigration is a fiercely debated topic and this collaborative effort is a reminder that cities need to plan for those who choose to make Auckland their new home,” she says.

The strategy examines a range of different social issues, including housing, education, health, employment and language.

It identifies certain things new migrants and refugees struggle with when they move to the region, including:

insufficient English language ability cultural differences host community attitudes financial issues disempowerment.

The report stresses that an on-going commitment is needed from government, local authorities and non-government organisations to help address these issues.

It says local councils can play a major role in ensuring migrants and refugees are connected to their new communities.

This could mean adopting different ways to help new settlers access information and advice, such as printing council publications in different languages.

Other suggestions include:

a regional website that provides consistent information across council boundaries training council staff to be more responsive to the needs of migrants and refugees developing a support system for refugees leaving the Mangere Refugee Centre promoting job opportunities for refugees through local economic development supporting cultural events and activities establishing a region-wide migrant forum increased migrant and refugee representation on local councils.

Dr Casey says Auckland City will use the draft Auckland Regional Settlement Strategy as the basis for its own settlement policy, which will be released in draft form later this year.

“Our own settlement policy will be more specific to the Auckland City environment and will lay out an action plan for the council.

“Its aim will be to ensure that new migrants and refugees are made welcome and can play an active role in contributing to the cultural and economic vitality of the city,” says Dr Casey.

The draft Auckland Regional Settlement Strategy also draws on the New Zealand Settlement Strategy ratified by the Government in 2003 and will be formally adopted once it is endorsed by the region-wide Sustainable Cities Programme.

ENDS

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