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

Greek Riddles:
Gordon Campbell On The Recent Smackdown Over Greece

There had been a fortnight of fevered buildup. Yet here we are in the aftermath of the February 28 showdown between the new Syriza government in Greece and the European Union “troika” and… no-one seems entirely sure what happened. Did the asteroid miss Earth?

It seems to have. The EU still exists. Syriza is now claiming a victory of sorts. It doesn’t help that the only people who do appear to be sure (the Greeks buckled) are claiming the exact opposite to what the other group (the Greeks won!) are saying. Plus, there are bets either way e.g. Bloomberg News: “Its too early to say who caved in to whom.” More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Iraq: Ex-Hostage Says Government Not Putting NZers, Iraqis First

Harmeet Singh Sooden is travelling to Iraq in the coming weeks to work with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) on a short-term assignment. More>>

ALSO:

Joint Statement: Australia-New Zealand Leaders’ Meeting

Prime Minister Key warmly welcomed Prime Minister Abbott and Mrs Abbott to New Zealand. The visit has enabled wide-ranging and substantive discussion that has underlined the strength, value, diversity and warmth of our trans-Tasman relationship. More>>

ALSO:

Press Conference: Peters To Stand In Northland By-Election

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters has announced his intention to stand in the Northland by-election, citing his own links to the electorate and ongoing neglect of the region by central government. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Wage Hike For MPs (and Paul Robeson)

Hard to tell what is more infuriating. Is it the 5.3% increase on the already bloated salaries of MPs, or their pantomime of outrage at being gifted with such a wonderful back-dated bonanza? More>>

ALSO:

No Designers Or Visual Artists: Flag Panel Members Announced

The Government has appointed 12 New Zealanders as members of the Flag Consideration Panel which will engage with the public about a possible new New Zealand flag, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English says. More>>

ALSO:

Labour MP Stands Down From Portfolio: Comment From Carmel Sepuloni

The first I knew of my mother’s charges was when I was called by a reporter yesterday. I spoke to Andrew and we agreed there is a conflict of interest at the present time which means I will temporarily stand aside from the Social Development portfolio. It’s the right thing to do… . More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Whether NZ Troops Are The Least Of Islamic State’s Problems

Given that it has been politically packaged and sold as a training mission, the Iraq deployment announced yesterday by Prime Minister John Key seemed to be mysteriously short of actual trainers... The other wing of the argument is whether a troop deployment is (a) the only effective way and (b) the appropriate time to combat Islamic State. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news