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Ethnic Affairs Briefing Released

Hon Chris Carter
19 September 2002

Ethnic Affairs Briefing Released

The Minister of Ethnic Affairs, Hon Chris Carter, today released the Briefing to the Incoming Minister for Ethnic Affairs, supplied by the Office of Ethnic Affairs.

The document identifies key policy initatives that the government intends to pursue in this portfolio. They are:

· Successful completion of the consultation process following the Prime Minister’s apology to descendants of early Chinese settlers who were forced to pay the unfair poll tax.
· Implementation of the already announced telephone interpreting service, which will allow New Zealanders, whose first language is not English, to communicate with government departments and agencies with confidence.
· Completion and publication of the ‘Ethnic Perspectives in Policy’ resource document, which will guide public departments in creating policy that is sensitive to the needs of New Zealand’s growing and diverse ethnic communities.

“I consider the Ethnic Affairs portfolio to be an important priority for the government. According to the 2001 Census, ten percent of New Zealanders are from ethnic groups other than Maori, Pacific Island, or Anglo-Celtic. Ethnic New Zealanders face unique challenges in daily life, including integration, language and employment difficulties.

“The creation of the Ethnic Affairs portfolio by the government in 1999 was designed to recognise the special needs of ethnic communities and provide long term government-led settlement support.

“Integration occurs best in societies that are tolerant, not intolerant. It is the duty of the government to respond to the specific needs of all groups in our society. As Minister for Ethnic Affairs, I intend to talk to, and speak on behalf of, members of New Zealand’s vibrant and diverse ethnic communities,” said the Minister.

The Briefing is available online on http://www.ethnicaffairs.govt.nz/

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