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Labour's Ethnic Affairs Policy



Labour recognises that New Zealand is now home to many different ethnic and cultural groups. We have acknowledged this profound demographic change in our society by being the first New Zealand government to appoint a Minister for Ethnic Affairs.

Labour believes that ethnic and cultural diversity enriches New Zealand society, but also presents government with specific challenges. Issues such as English language tuition, access to employment, and the availability of government services to new migrants are all challenges that need to be addressed pro-actively by the government.

Labour believes that:

• Ethnic communities are a vibrant and valuable part of New Zealand society. They contribute in many ways to the economic, social and cultural development of our nation.

• Ethnic communities need to have a voice in government, policy-making, provision of social services, and immigration and settlement policy.

• The government needs to actively assist the development of ethnic communities by providing support and services.

• Members of ethnic communities need to be adequately represented at all levels of our society.

As a sign of this commitment to recognising and celebrating ethnic and cultural diversity Labour has put forward a party list for the 2002 General Election which contains strong ethnic representation, including Pacific Island, Chinese and Indian candidates.


The Labour led government has:

• Appointed a Minister for Ethnic Affairs to give New Zealand’s ethnic communities a voice in government.

• Set up a settlement branch within the New Zealand Immigration Service to provide post-visa approval assistance and support to migrants.

• Created a fairer and broader system of family reunion, including the Family Quota System, which allows migrants to sponsor their relatives to settle in our country.


• Expanded career support services for members of ethnic communities and provided funding for new web sites, for example, which link new migrants with potential employers.

• Supported and encouraged local communities to establish and expand their own migrant services relevant to their needs.

• Encouraged cooperation between government agencies and ethnic communities, for example through the establishment of a Chinese community liaison with West Auckland Police.

• Ensured that the NZ Immigration Service works with the Auckland and Manukau City Councils on researching the need for and the design of a Migrant Resource Centre to be located in Three Kings, with a satellite service in Manukau.

• Ensured that the Ministry of Education employs refugee education coordinators, themselves former refugees, in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Christchurch, to assist refugee children in our schools.

• Provided $11.8 million to assist overseas trained doctors gain registration in New Zealand.


Labour will:

• Continue to develop the Ethnic Affairs portfolio and strengthen the Office of Ethnic Affairs.

• Consult with ethnic communities and incorporate their views into the formation of policy affecting ethnic communities in New Zealand.

• Ensure that members of ethnic communities fairly represented in appointments to boards and other agencies.

• Establish an appointments database in the Office of Ethnic Affairs

• Maintain a fair and equitable immigration policy that recognises the value of migrants to New Zealand and preserves family based migration.

• Continue to rigorously enforce New Zealand human rights legislation and the ban on discrimination on the basis of race or ethnic origin.

• Promote cooperation within government that benefits new migrants and members of established ethnic communities – such as increased capacity for English tuition, migrant settlement support and the settlement of refugees.

• Develop an Adult ESOL Strategy relevant to new migrants and speakers of English as a second language.

• Continue to assist new migrants to find suitable jobs in New Zealand.

• Develop New Zealand-wide telephone interpreter services.

• Cooperate with regional and local government, and with the private sector to expand the range of services available to new migrants, particularly in the main urban centres where ethnic communities are clustered.

• Develop a policy framework relevant to all government departments when dealing with ethnic communities. This framework will provide guidelines in three important areas: policy development, consultation, and responsiveness to the needs of ethnic communities.

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