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Ethnic Community - the silent critics speak up

Pansy Wong National Ethnic Affairs Spokesperson

5 February 2001

Ethnic Community - the silent critics speak up

On the eve of Waitangi day the focus is on the Crown's decision not to attend celebrations at Waitangi. Instead, the Prime Minister will be sheltered by the ever-courteous ethnic community, National's Ethnic Affairs spokesperson Pansy Wong said today.

"The Prime Minister knows that her Waitangi Day visits to the 'multi-cultural' style celebrations in Auckland and Wellington will shield her from confronting vocal critics of this Government.

"However, the typically silent ethnic community have been stirred by the Government's plans to abolish the independent Race Relations Office.

"Ethnic community members have been working quietly behind the scenes, voicing their protest through signing over 1100 submissions against the proposal.

"Associate Justice Minister Margaret Wilson last year indicated her preference to do away with the independent status of the Race Relation Office and instead swallow it up as part of a new human rights body, as recommended in the discussion Paper 'Revaluation of the Human Rights Protections in New Zealand'.

"The question now will be whether the Government continues to take advantage of the usually silent critics or will they listen to the growing ethnic community?" Mrs Wong said.


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