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

Patience: Drive Safe

Be patient before passing is the AA's message for drivers this Labour weekend.

"People taking crazy risks to get past other vehicles is one of the most dangerous things on the road,” says AA spokesperson Dylan Thomsen.

“The weather is looking good for the long weekend so the roads will be busy. Unfortunately, that also increases the chances of people getting frustrated and trying a risky passing manoeuvre. When they get past, there will probably be more traffic up ahead anyway so it won’t get people there faster.” More>>

 
 

Parliament Today:

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Tokenism Of New Zealand's Role Against Islamic State

Our contribution against IS will be to send SAS forces to train the Iraqis? That’s like offering trainers to General Custer just as the 7th cavalry reached the Little Big Horn. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Shell And Todd Caught Drilling Without Approval

Multi-national oil company Shell’s New Zealand arm and local energy giant Todd Energy have breached the new law governing New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Environmental Protection Authority says in an Oct. 10 document released by the Green Party. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Pharmac, Gough Whitlam And Sleater-Kinney

We’re not at the outset of these negotiations. The outset was six years ago, and negotiators were hoping to have some sort of ‘framework’ deal finished in time for the APEC meeting in a few weeks’ time. These ‘extreme’ positions are what we’ve reached near the intended end of the negotiations… More>>

ALSO:

PM Of Many Hats: Questions, No Answers On Whale Oil

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader – Green) to the Prime Minister: How many times since November 2008 has he spoken with blogger Cameron Slater on the phone and how many times, if any, has he texted him?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): None in my capacity as Prime Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Aussie Investigation Dropped: Call On Minister McCully To Pursue The Case Of Balibo Five

West Papua Action is deeply concerned at the lack of any clear outcome from the Australian Federal Police inquiry into the 1975 deaths of the ‘Balibo Five’ including NZ journalist Gary Cunningham. More>>

ALSO:

'Feed The Kids' Bill: Metiria Turei To Lead Fight On Feeding Hungry Children

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sat at 10.30am on Tuesday before MPs were summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news