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NZ Should Be Formally Recognised As Multi Cultural

Media statement

For immediate release

Saturday, June 28, 2008

UnitedFuturewants New Zealand formally recognised as a multicultural nation


UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne has called for New Zealand to formally establish itself as a multicultural nation.

Speaking to the New Zealand Federation of Ethnic Councils in Wellington this morning, Mr Dunne said UnitedFuture wanted to see Parliament pass a Mutliculturalism Act, similar to Canada’s, to give formal recognition to New Zealand’s growing multicultural status.

“Official statistics already show that almost one in three New Zealanders today are of non-European origin – within the next 15 years that is likely to increase to just over 40%.

“By 2021, for example, it is projected that a quarter of our population will be of either Asian or Pacific origins,” he said.

Mr Dunne said that while New Zealand had a strong and enduring bicultural tradition flowing from the Treaty of Waitangi, the rigidities that was now imposing were increasingly out of step with the modern reality of a more diverse New Zealand, which was why it was important to officially recognise the country’s multicultural status.

“It is also one of the reasons why UnitedFuture wants an early referendum on the future of the Maori seats in Parliament.

“The question we have to consider is how fair it is to continue with separate representation for one group of the population, at a time when the country is becoming far more ethnically and culturally diverse.

“UnitedFuture believes privilege of this type has no place in a diverse, multicultural nation, with a proportional representation electoral system,” he said.

Mr Dunne said UnitedFuture believed New Zealand could be the world’s first truly multicultural, multi ethnic nation, where the New Zealander of the future was equally at home in the environs of Asia, Europe, and the Pacific, and able to draw from all those heritages.

“A Multiculturalism Act would be a good step on the road to that objective,” he said.


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