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Ethnic communities: "If you want our vote, heed our voice"

Media Release

21 February 2014

Ethnic communities: "If you want our vote, heed our voice"

Political parties are being challenged to heed the voice of migrant and ethnic communities if they want their votes in this year's general election.

Multicultural New Zealand, the Federation of Multicultural Councils, will launch its 2014 election policies at the opening of its national council meeting in Dunedin on Friday.

According to the 2013 census, ethnic communities now make up nearly 15 percent of the population.

The 26 policy proposals cover ethnic affairs, constitutional issues, race relations, settlement support and refugees.

The Federation is calling for the development of a national multicultural policy, support for community languages and the establishment of a national ethnic peoples advisory panel.

They want the Office of Ethnic Affairs to be elevated to Ministry status, alongside the Ministries of Pacific Island Affairs and Maori Development. They say all government departments should be required to have an ethnic community relationship strategy to ensure their services are equally available to ethnic communities.

They call for a review of Immigration New Zealand 's decision to terminate regional partnerships to provide settlement support services, and the government's decision to downsize and transfer the Settling In programme from MSD Family and Community Services to the Office of Ethnic Affairs.

They say the recommendations of the Auditor General on improving migrant  settlement support services should be implemented, and settlement strategies put in place for all regions.

They want the safety of migrant and refugee women and children, particularly in relation to domestic violence, prioritised; and further measures taken to prevent the exploitation of temporary migrant workers.

The policies will be launched at Arai Te Uri Marae in Wakari, Dunedin, by former Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres, on Friday evening, following a powhiri, mayoral reception and dinner.

Multicultural New Zealand Policy Proposals

ENDS

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