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Setting In Programme is invaluable to Migrants and Refugees

Community Leaders stressed Setting In Programme is invaluable to Migrants and Refugees.

– NZFMC Meeting 22nd to 24th of February 2013.

At the New Zealand Federation of Multicultural Councils (NZFMC) national council meeting in the weekend held on Orongomai Marae in Upper Hutt, its associated 22 member Councils from around New Zealand including Gisborne Multicultural Council, the newest member expressed its concern about the proposed government cut in funding for the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) run Settling In services. These Services prove to be invaluable for migrants and refugees and the thought of having any service discontinued or reduced is of grave concern to the Federation and its Councils.

Over the years many communities around New Zealand have been empowered to provide direct intervention and support programmes and initiatives through the Settling In programme and NZFMC request from MSD a detailed report on the planned changes and the benefits from any change.

Tayo Agunlejika, National President of NZFMC said concerns were also raised by members regarding the Settlement Strategy led by the Department of Labour (now Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment) indicating that it had failed to deliver real community outcomes. Concerns were also raised in terms of how this programme measured success. It was clearly reported by member Councils and supported by Immigration Research published by Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (Migrants in New Zealand Onward migration 1998 – 2011) that the Settlement Strategy had failed to deliver visible outcomes for Refugee and migrant communities.

Tayo Agunlejika said Community Leaders are concerned and request Government to address the need for collaborative and therefore effective coordinator of service delivery in the ethnic sector if they really want to achieve a better outcome. We strongly recommend that Government should reprioritise the use of the Migrant Levy and focus on addressing the issue of agencies completing with each other as well as agencies completing with community organisations in the Ethnic Sector. We believe agencies should be complementing community organisations, support and resource community lead and own service delivery initiative like Settling In programme. One typical example is the DoL Settlement Strategy to focus more on the Employment, Education and Housing side of the Settlement Strategy; Office of Ethnic Affairs to focus on Economics participation side of Settlement Strategy like their Ethnic People in Commerce, Social Enterprise and Management of Ethnic Diversity in Workplace and Settling In (MSD) provides support in community lead initiatives for social participation/integration and cultural maintenance side of Settlement Strategy.

Tayo Agunlejika
President, New Zealand Federation of Multicultural Councils Inc.

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