Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Woodhouse: Speech to welcome Afghan interpreters

Michael Woodhouse

22 April, 2013

Speech to welcome Afghan interpreters

It’s a real privilege for me to welcome you all to your new home in New Zealand.

We owe you a huge debt of gratitude for your sterling work with the Provincial Reconstruction Team and the New Zealand Police through EUPOL in Afghanistan over the past 10 years. Our personnel would not have been able to have done their work effectively without the invaluable help you provided on the ground.

New Zealand has made a huge contribution towards stabilising Afghanistan during our decade’s presence in the country. But these gains have also come at a cost, with the deaths of 10 service men and women.

This sober fact puts into context the dangers you and others who work with NATO forces in Afghanistan faced on a daily basis. A number of interpreters in Afghanistan were killed or injured and the Government is acutely aware of the risks you have faced.

The Government has always taken the view that we should demonstrate a duty of care to personnel who have risked their lives to help New Zealanders.

That’s why we acted last year to offer resettlement to interpreters employed by the PRT and EUPOL in Bamyan in the past two years to New Zealand with their dependants.

I know it must seem that it has taken a long time for you to finally arrive here considering we made our original announcement back in October. As I’m sure you will appreciate a lot of behind the scenes work had to be done and it was always the plan that the PRT would finish its job first.

I want to thank those in Immigration New Zealand’s Refugee Quota Branch who worked so hard to facilitate the process to confirm your residency.

But I am delighted that you are now here after your long flight. I know it must be hard leaving the country you grew up in as well as family and friends, and no-one is expecting that it will all be easy for you. But I am sure you will find New Zealand a very welcoming country and I am confident you will settle well into your new country and make a meaningful contribution.

The Government wants to ensure that you have access to comprehensive support and settlement services. So you will spend your first eight weeks in New Zealand at the Mangere Refugee Resettlement Centre. We believe the comprehensive programme at Mangere, focused on the skills and information you will need in New Zealand, will give you the best preparation for your new lives here.

After your time at Mangere you will be resettled in the cities of Hamilton and Palmerston North. You probably don’t know much about these places, but I want to reassure you that they are very friendly communities and you will have plenty of help from New Zealand Red Cross and other organisations to help you find your feet. This will include support in finding suitable housing, settling into your new homes, finding schools for your children, and finding work.

Even though the adjustment to New Zealand life will be a major change for you I am confident you will have a great future here. Enjoy everything this country has to offer. On behalf of the Government and the people of New Zealand I welcome you, and wish you all the very best as you settle in to your new lives.

Embrace the opportunity to add to the richness and diversity of New Zealand culture. Celebrate your own culture and heritage. Take every opportunity to reach your potential as new Kiwis.

Encourage your children to learn in our fantastic education system so that they too may grow up to fulfil their dreams and aspirations. To become scientists, doctors, lawyers, maybe even All blacks or Black Caps. Whatever path you and your families choose I want you to know you have our strong support and best wishes.

I look forward to hearing about your progress and to catching up with you in the future.

Thank you all.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Greens: Russel Norman To Stand Down As Co-Leader

Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman has announced today that he will stand down as leader at the party’s Annual General Meeting in May. Dr Norman will remain as Co-leader and retain his finance and climate change portfolios until the AGM.

“After nearly a decade as Co-leader, now is a good time to find a new challenge for myself, and to spend more time with my family” said Dr Norman.

“This is my ninth year as Co-leader and I think it’s time for a change. Now is a good time for new leadership for the Party. My replacement will start from a strengthened base and will have a full parliamentary term to establish himself in the role and take the Greens into government in 2017." More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Eleanor Catton Rumpus

If anyone was in doubt about the accuracy of the comments made in India by Eleanor Catton, the reaction from some quarters here at home has gone a long way to proving her point… More>>

ALSO:

More Rent Assistance, Less State-Owned Housing: John Key Speech - Next Steps In Social Housing

"We are going to ensure that more people get into social housing over the next three years, whether that is run by Housing New Zealand or a community provider. The social housing budget provides for around 62,000 income-related rent subsidies a year. We are committed to increasing that to around 65,000 subsidies by 2017/18, which will cost an extra $40 million a year." More>>

ALSO:

The Future Of Work: Andrew Little - State Of The Nation 2015

In 2005 when I led the EPMU we worked together with Air New Zealand to find a way to keep engineering jobs that were heading overseas. A lot of these workers were people I’d known for years and they were facing not just losing their jobs but not being able to find the kind of work they do without going overseas. A lot of people were facing personal and financial upheaval.... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Sabin Case, The Pressures On Greece And (Songs About) Coyotes

Mike Sabin is a National MP, and the current chairman of Parliament’s law and order committee. Yet reportedly, he is being investigated by the Police over an assault complaint... However, the PM will not comment on any aspect of the story. More>>

ALSO:

Houses, ISIS, King (& Catton): PM Post-Cabinet Press Conference

The Prime Minister met with reporters to discuss: • Social housing, the Auckland housing market • The prospect of joining international forces to combat ISIS • David Bain’s compensation • The lowering of the flag for the King of Saudi Arabia's death ... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Tomorrow’s Speeches By John Key And Andrew Little

The Key government has already kicked off the political year on a stridently ideological note, with Environment Minister Nick Smith choosing to lay all manner of sins at the door of the RMA. Tomorrow, the government will wheeling out its best salesman – Prime Minister John Key – to sell its plans for state housing… . More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news