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Federation’s Priorities for 2013

New Zealand Federation of Multicultural Councils Inc.

PRESS RELEASE

14 January 2013

Federation’s Priorities for 2013 to achieve demonstrable outcomes for Migrant Communities.

The Federation’s vision for 2013 is for Migrants especially in vulnerable ethnic communities have more access (the opportunity to fully participate both socially and economically within society) and feel acceptable (included and accepted as equal citizens).

NZFMC will progress this vision by connecting and engaging with decision/policy makers and stakeholders so that they can have immediate first-hand information about what migrant communities are feeling, facing and saying. We hope to encourage government to focus on People, Participation and Provision of support and interventions for community driven initiatives which achieve better results for individuals, families, whanau and communities.

Throughout 2013 the New Zealand Federation of Multicultural Councils will be focusing on initiatives that will cater for and make a demonstrable difference for vulnerable members of migrant communities nationwide.

Here are the six key areas we would like decision/policy makers to focus on for 2013: 1. The Ministry of Social Development Settling In programme has been one of the most successful intervention programmes in recent time. The programme has contributed to and made a real impact supporting our communities. This programme is one of its kinds, as it reaches down to flaxroots/grassroots and not all national initiatives do so. We hope the Government will listen to our call that this programme should be maintained and that sufficient funding should continue to support this programme. We also hope that Settling In can be expanded and improved upon to provide an even greater service within communities.

2. That the Department of Labour (now under Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) Settlement Support programme be reviewed to ensure a more hands on approach is achieved. There was much potential when this initiative was first proposed at our National meeting eight years ago and Page 2 of 2 we are happy to lead in any subsequent review as we led the Settlement Support Policy initially and have retained knowledge of the challenges and success factors for this programme. A more ‘hands on’ Settlement Support programme will go a long way to make migrant communities enjoy physical safety, feel secure in their new environment and not feel as isolated in their communities.

3. That Office of Ethnic Affairs should consider making the issue of right to work a priority. There is considerable research that indicates that one of the major forms of discrimination that migrants and ethnic minorities face in New Zealand is in relation to employment. This is also the direct experience of our members. Employment discrimination takes a number of forms. One significant form is that many overseas professional qualifications are not recognised by New Zealand professional bodies, meaning migrants are employed (if they achieve employment) in work below their level of skill and recognised qualification. Although we recognise the need for registered equivalent qualifications standards, we believe New Zealand’s current professional registration systems deprives skilled and qualified migrants of equal opportunities and limits greatly the latent opportunity that is available to address what are real skill shortages within our communities. We really hope in 2013, we can start discussing and addressing this inequity in terms of the right to work under Article 5 (e) (i) of UNOGOHCHR Convention.

4. Discussions on Treaty Based Multiculturalism must be had by all New Zealanders. NZFMC will be progressing, within Government, non-government agencies and the wider community, education and awareness of the benefits of a multicultural society based on the Treaty of Waitangi. We are also finalising an International Conference on Multiculturalism to be hosted in New Zealand in 2014.

5. The Families Commission, MSD, New Zealand Police and the Office of the Children’s Commissioner are to be commended for addressing the issue of domestic violence and vulnerable children as a priority in 2012. Now that it is 2013, we cannot stop that good work and the real progress made. We also hope alternative resolution services through community panels and our NZFMC Induction Programme (an educational approach) should be considered as part of the toolbox to reduce domestic violence. We also encourage reporting of such abuse and commit to supporting migrant parents to be positive role models.

6. In consultation with Government agencies, we would like to improve the participation of Ethnic minority communities in leadership, see more migrants participate in decision making at a governance level within both public and private organisations. We will progress this initiative by contacting Institute of Directors, NZX and Business New Zealand and Ministry of Women Affairs to discuss how NZFMC and its members can support their organisations to broaden their already successful gender diversity model (Women in leadership) to develop a scheme or programme to include migrants at this level.

This is an exciting year for migrant communities and we are looking forward to collaborating and working with you all.

ENDS

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