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United: Labour’s Ethnic Affairs Ministry Tokenism

11 October 1999


United New Zealand leader, Hon Peter Dunne, says Labour’s plan to appoint a Minister of Ethnic Affairs is a tokenistic gesture only.

“Labour is offering a mere sop to the ethnic communities, because it will not ensure that the new Minister will have the clout or seniority to do the job properly.”

“To be truly effective, a Minister of Ethnic Affairs must sit at the Cabinet table, yet it is clear that all Labour is contemplating is a token junior Minister outside the Cabinet, with no real influence.”

“Also, to be truly effective, a Minister of Ethnic Affairs must have an automatic right to comment on all aspects of Government policy that affect ethnic communities, the way the Treasurer and the Minister of Treaty Negotiations do at present regarding economic policy and Treaty issues.”

“Labour is not promising to give its Minister of Ethnic Affairs that authority, so, consequently, the position will be merely token and ineffectual under Labour, with ethnic voters being taken for granted the way Maori were by Labour for so many years,” Mr Dunne says.

Mr Dunne says United would establish a Ministry of Ethnic Affairs, and would push for the position of Minister of Ethnic Affairs to be a Cabinet position, with the Minister to be fully involved at all levels of decision-making on issues affecting New Zealand’s ethnic communities.

“Anything less is selling short the contribution and importance of ethnic communities to New Zealand’s future.”

“Unlike Labour, United’s commitment to New Zealand’s ethnic communities and true multi-culturalism is genuine, and demonstrated by the fact that there will be people from at least 10 ten different nationalities represented on our party list,” he says.


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