Launch of the Immigration Settlement Guide
Hon Lianne Dalziel
Minister of Immigration
Launch of the Immigration Settlement Guide for Pacific Peoples
Banquet Hall, Beehive
Thursday 31 August 2000
Good afternoon, talofa lava, malo e lelei, tena koutou, tena koutou, kia ora koutou katoa.
Welcome to the launch of the New Zealand Immigration Service's Settlement Guide for Pacific Peoples.
First, I would like to thank you all for coming today.
This is an important day for the NZIS and the partnership that has developed with the Ministry of Pacific Island Affair in developing this resource material.
These Settlement Guides are to be distributed by the Service to Pacific peoples who gain permanent residence here in New Zealand. Overseas branches will distribute them to people who gain permanent residence while they are still overseas.
These booklets are but one of a range of publications available from the Immigration Service's Settlement Information Programme. But for the first time, they will be available in English, Samoan and Tongan.
They provide people with valuable up-to-date information on the education system, health, how to manage money, housing, working in New Zealand and aspects of personal safety.
And as I have said, this is not only the work of the Immigration Service. Acknowledgement must go out to the Pacific communities in Auckland and Christchurch that had input into their development, as well as the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs.
It needs to be said that successful settlement is achieved through a variety of measures, but one of them is access to the Government and community networks that citizens and long term residents tend to take for granted.
Many people who come to live in New Zealand have to learn a whole new way of living, an entire new system in which to operate. I know it isn't always easy. Language is often the first barrier, and then people have to fill out forms, pass tests for driving, gain qualifications, learn about the health and education system … the list goes on.
This is made much easier when there is strong family support already in New Zealand, but that is not always the case. Hence, the Settlement Guides.
As I have said on numerous occasions the key to a successful immigration policy is how well people settle into our country.
I am very keen to see the establishment of migrant settlement resource and information centres in key migrant centres in New Zealand.
But again this is not only my role as Minister of Immigration. It is also closely linked to the work of the Minister of Ethnic Affairs, Hon George Hawkins, and the Minister of Pacific Island Affairs, Hon Mark Gosche, with whom I work very closely.
I would like to say that since the change of Government, the Immigration Service has started developing a much closer relationship with Pacific migrants and Pacific communities in general.
Luamanuvao Winnie Laban has to be congratulated for her initiative which facilitated that process. Immigration officials from one end of the country to the other have now heard from Pacific peoples of the perception that has been formed about them.
And that has been an important beginning to the process of breaking down some of the barriers that have been built up over the years in terms of communication and understanding between Pacific communities and the Government.
This links to the Government's goal of restoring trust in government and providing strong social services.
Also, the Closing the Gaps strategy recognises the significance of the Pacific people's contribution to New Zealand.
One initiative that has been working well recently has been the sanctuary days organised by the Immigration Service. Nine have been held over the last month.
These allow people who are living in New Zealand without a permit for many years to call the Service or meet with an Immigration officer to discuss their situation without fear of reprisal. These are held in neutral environments, and people can discuss their situation without the fear of being removed.
These days have been quite successful. In Wellington, many people who have made contact with the Service on one of these days have been given temporary permits to allow them to remain in New Zealand while they apply for residence.
In conclusion, can I thank you again for coming today to celebrate the launch of these Settlement Guides for Pacific peoples. I believe they provide a practical, down-to-earth guide to life in New Zealand, with good advice arising from the direct input of Pacific peoples who have settled here.
I look forward to your feedback on the guides, as I also believe they must be living documents and we will be flexible to changes in content as needs change.
Congratulations to the NZIS and the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs. I now officially launch the Settlement Guides for Pacific Peoples.