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Ethnic Affairs Policy to increase opportunities

Ethnic Affairs Policy to increase opportunities

Ethnic Affairs Minister Chris Carter today released Labour's Ethnic Affairs Policy with a commitment to explore ways of lifting the participation rate of ethnic people in trades where there are skill shortages.

"Labour believes in a strong and inclusive society. We think everyone in New Zealand should have the opportunity to succeed regardless of their race or ethnicity," Mr Carter said.

"Ethnic communities are making a huge and varied contribution to New Zealand. They have immense potential, some of which is untapped because of barriers such as language, cultural misunderstanding, and differing skills. Labour's Ethnic Affairs Policy is designed to break down these barriers in the interests of individuals and the nation."

A huge amount has been done to improve the accessibility of government services to ethnic people since 1999. The next step is to widen the focus. Labour will: Explore ways of increasing the participation of ethnic communities in skills training, such as Modern Apprenticeships; Work with the private sector to link ethnic communities with private sector organisations such as Chambers of Commerce; Provide more funding for English language training in the workplace.

"Labour believes that if you are to lead a nation you have to unite people, not divide them," Mr Carter said.

"There are young refugees who are competing for New Zealand in our national sports teams, there are ethnic business people providing New Zealanders with jobs, and ethnic mums and dads sitting on school boards, health boards and charities," Mr Carter said.

"This is the ethnic New Zealand Labour recognises. It is a New Zealand that is very different from the twisted figments of Winston Peters' imagination."

Atn Picture Editor: Prime Minister Helen Clark and Chris Carter will attend the New Lynn Festival of Cultures at the New Lynn Community Centre, Auckland, 2pm, August 14.

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