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Immigration Advisory Group members named

21 January 2001 Media Statement

Immigration Advisory Group members named

Immigration Minister Lianne Dalziel today named the six people appointed to a newly formed immigration Ministerial Advisory Group and the four members of a Refugee sub-group.

The group has been set up to provide additional advice to the Minister on the community's views on immigration policy and practice.

"I am pleased to announce that William (Bill) Milnes, Dr Ashraf Choudhary, Parthasarathy Bhagavathula (Partha Sarathy), Samuelu Sefuiva, Patrick O'Connor, Trudie McNaughton and Karen Te-O-Kahurangi Grant will make up the membership of the new Ministerial Advisory Group.

"In addition, we have appointed Patrick O'Connor, Heval Hylan, Abbas Mohammed El-Shiekh and Zeinab Hussein on to the advisory group's Refugee sub-group.

"Collectively these people will provide a sounding board for specific aspects of Government immigration policy. This will help me in my role as Minister of Immigration to better understand what barriers exist to effective implementation of policies Government seeks to introduce.

"In deciding on the make-up of these groups, we sought individuals who collectively offer a broad perspective covering all aspects of immigration and settlement policy, " Lianne Dalziel said. Ethnic Affairs Minister George Hawkins will join Lianne Dalziel at the Group meetings.

The Advisory Group has its first meeting on February 21, 2001.

"The additional creation of a Refugee sub-group takes into account the special needs of refugees resettling in New Zealand."

The Population Conference held in 1997 recommended setting up the advisory group.

Attached: Brief details on Ministerial Advisory Group and Refugee sub-group members.

Ministerial Advisory Group (MAG) Members:

William (Bill) Milnes: Mr Milnes is the Chairman of the New Zealand Association for Migration and Investment (NZAMI). He has an in-depth understanding of immigration policies and procedures and was voted by ballot as the NZAMI's nomination to the MAG.

Dr Ashraf Choudhary: Dr Choudhary is the immediate Past-President of the New Zealand Federation of Ethnic Councils (NZFEC), of which he was President from 1998 until 2000. He is a member of the NZFEC subcommittee on Immigration, deputy chairperson of the Manawatu-Wanganui Mid-Central Health Ethics Committee, and a Justice of the Peace.

Mr Parthasarathy Bhagavathula (known as Partha Sarathy): Mr Sarathy is the founding director of Ebit NZ Ltd, and the managing director of Cognix Group Ltd, both IT services firms. Mr Sarathy was recently involved with promotional "road-shows" run by the NZIS, Trade NZ and private sector firms in India, promoting New Zealand as a destination for IT professionals.

Mr Samuelu Sefuiva: Mr Sefuiva is a public policy consultant. He has a long history of community service involvement, in particular involvement in Pacific Island groups and programmes. He was a member of the Pacific Island Employment Development Board (now Pacific Business Trust) from 1986-1990.

Mr Patrick O'Connor: Mr O'Connor is Director of PEETO, the Multi-Cultural Learning Centre. He is a trustee/board member of various refugee and migrant groups, including the Refugee and Migrant Centre Management Board.

Ms Karen Te-O-Kahurangi Grant: Ms Grant has worked in a variety of organisations including the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, Te Puni Kokiri, Housing Corporation of New Zealand and NZQA . Ms Grant has been chairperson of Maori in Tourism Rotorua since 1995, a board member of the Aotearoa Maori Tourism Federation (1997-present) and is a member of the Tourism Research and Forecasting Clearing House.

Ms Trudie McNaughton: Ms McNaughton is the Executive Director of the Equal Employment Opportunities (EEO) Trust. Ms McNaughton is committed to equity and the explanation of its benefits. She is experienced in establishing strategic alliances between change agents and advocates of the status quo. She is skilled in planned approaches to employment and other equity issues.

Refugee Sub-Group:

Mr Heval Hylan: Mr Hylan's experience evolves both from his personal experience as a refugee and through his work as an advocate for refugee rights and welfare. He is a recognised refugee welfare worker throughout Auckland and is highly respected as a leader of the local Kurdish community. Mr Hylan is an official interpreter for government bodies and has written three books in New Zealand, two of which are based on his experience as a refugee.

Mr Abbas Mohammed El-Shiekh: Mr El-Shiekh works for the Wellington Community Interpreting Service. Mr El-Shiekh is the Council Secretary/Treasurer for the Wellington Refugee Council and is vice president of the Hutt Ethnic Council. He has a genuine interest in immigration matters and has expertise and ideas on related issues through personal and experience as a refugee resettled in New Zealand.

Ms Zeinab Hussein: Ms Hussein works for the Refugee Resettlement Service (RRS) in Christchurch as a bilingual community worker. She came to New Zealand under the Refugee Quota Programme from Somalia and is a New Zealand citizen who lives in Christchurch. She is an advocate for clients at agency, local and national level; a cultural adviser to social workers at the RRS and on mental health and education issues to providers of specialist services in Christchurch; and a member of the RRS public relations team.

Patrick O'Connor: (as above)

Special Advisors:

In addition to the 10 MAG and Refugee Sub-Group members, two academics will be special advisors to the Groups as required. They are Professor Richard Bedford, Director at Tauranga University College, Professor of Geography at Waikato University and Convenor of the Migration Research Group, and Dr Love Chile, who is Senior Lecturer and Programme Leader of Community Studies at UNITEC, in Auckland.

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