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Non-European Migrants in Aotearoa

The Threat of Non-European Migrants Invasion of Aotearoa New Zealand

by Tayo Agunlejika
20 March 2013

In my opinion, the recent comments from both MP Richard Prosser and Mr. Bill Rayner stressed the need for the State to lead the way in adequately funding migrant and refugee support initiatives which will lead to a better integration of newcomers to our country, and improve equality of all New Zealand residents. In particular the State needs to focus on developing activities that lead to social and economic inclusion rather than exclusion which is the current situation today.

It is of great importance for Government to actively focus and drive the economic growth agenda but it is also imperative to focus on the social and cultural wellbeing of the populace. Failure to balance economic agenda with social and cultural agendas is like building your mansion on a sandy foundation.

I am not interested in debating both MP Richard Prosser and Mr. Bill Rayner comments because their comments were made out of perception of fear and threat to their own wellbeing. That leaves me with the question, what is the state doing to alleviate or eliminate this fear?

The same question is addressed to the migrant and refugee communities. We need to be more proactive in helping people like MP Richard Prosser and Mr. Bill Rayner understand that there is nothing to fear from newcomers to Aotearoa New Zealand and need to do this by promoting the positives of diversity.

We need to be able to articulate to them that this is our new country. We want to be part of it, and share our culture with all. The initiative however should go beyond dance, food and music (Cultural) festivals or the symbolic Chinese New Year, Diwali and Eid-al-fitrl celebrations in the parliament. And definitely it is not about creating a fancy publication for distributing that will end up in the recycle bin.

I seriously hope the State pursues the education of the general populace in the beliefs, customs, cultures and traditions in all New Zealand and through mutual understanding may come mutual respect. This will go a long way to add to people’s knowledge of the changed composition of our society and refrain from generalising and stereotyping people or groups of people. New Zealand is very good at developing such social awareness campaigns, examples include the White Ribbon Campaign (Families Commission) and It’s not Ok (Ministry of Social Development).

I will be bold to suggest that Government and her agencies should take recommendations in the recently published report from the UN Council for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and develop initiatives to reduce the Structural Discrimination found in New Zealand today.

How about Treaty Based Multiculturalism?

Last year New Zealand Federation of Multicultural Councils presented to the Minister of Ethnic Affairs a proposed framework for Treaty based Multiculturalism and we are looking forward to her response. Professor John Berry’s interview on National Radio last Sunday, 10th of March 2013 provides us some insights why there is need for a Multicultural Legislation based on Bi Cultural principles in New Zealand.

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