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Minister for Ethnic Affairs

19 May 2005

Hon Chris Carter

Minister for Ethnic Affairs

$4m package to support ethnic communities Support and advocacy work with New Zealand's ethnic communities is to be enhanced with a $4.1 million package of new funding for the Office of Ethnic Affairs, Ethnic Affairs Minister Chris Carter announced today.

"The number, size and diversity of New Zealand's ethnic communities is growing rapidly, and the government's capacity to assist these communities needs to keep pace with this change," Mr Carter said.

"As a result, Budget 2005 is to increase funding for the Office of Ethnic Affairs by $4.1 million over four years. These extra resources will allow the department to expand its policy, liaison, and advisory work with ethnic communities in to new areas of the country.

"An additional three ethnic advisors will be employed: one in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch. The new advisor in Auckland will provide the capacity to service the Waikato region, and the new advisor in Christchurch will provide the capacity to service the wider South Island, including Dunedin," Mr Carter said.

"Over and above this new funding, the government has made a decision to permanently fund Language Line, which offers interpreting over the telephone in 37 languages. The ongoing level of funding for the service will be determined by the volumes of people using it. My expectation is because of its popularity, funding will increase," Mr Carter said.

"The Labour-Progressive Government is committed to providing opportunity for all New Zealanders regardless of their ethnic origins. We set up the Office of Ethnic Affairs to promote ethnic diversity, and ensure ethnic peoples have access to government services."

ENDS

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