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Chinese Language Skills Critical to New Zealand’s Future

Chinese Language Skills Critical to New Zealand’s Future

New Zealand must become more multi-lingual to reflect its increasingly multi-cultural character, says Labour’s Spokesperson on Ethnic Affairs Phil Goff.

Phil Goff congratulated MP Raymond Huo for initiating the idea of a New Zealand Chinese Language Week as part of his ethnic affairs portfolio and establishing a group of talented New Zealanders to back and promote the concept.

“Labour’s vision is for a New Zealand in which all young New Zealanders are given and take up the opportunity to become fluent in a second language,” Phil Goff said.

“For the Chinese community it is important that their New Zealand-born children are not only fluent in English but also maintain the language and culture of their forebears.

“For New Zealand as a whole it is critically important that we can draw on a talent pool of young New Zealanders who can speak Mandarin. China is not only our biggest export market, it is also our second biggest and fastest growing source of tourism. To trade into China, and to meet the needs of Chinese tourists in New Zealand, we need to have a growing number of people who are fluent in Mandarin and familiar with Chinese culture.

“Chinese Language Week will play an important role in promoting cross-cultural understanding,” says Raymond Huo.

“It will increase awareness of the Chinese language and culture and prepare future generations for increasingly important connections to Asia.”

New Zealand Chinese Language Week was launched yesterday at the New Zealand China Friendship Society’s 2014 conference in Havelock North with fellow trustees and the Chinese Ambassador.

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