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Govt Waters Down Royal Commission On Christchurch, Cuts Ethnic Communities

Government spending cuts are forcing the Ministry of Ethnic Communities to water down how it engages with various communities, undermining the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch masjidain.

Final decisions were announced to staff today. Nine jobs are being cut.

"The cuts forced upon this important and young Ministry show a complete disregard for how the Royal Commission thought it should operate to heal the wounds of the Christchurch terrorist attacks," said Duane Leo National Secretary for the Public Service Association Te Pūkenga Here Tikanga Mahi.

"The Royal Commission was an extraordinary opportunity to strengthen our bonds as a nation which is why it recommended setting up the Ministry. Now barely three years after being established, its role is being weakened in haste.

"It’s just more dumb stuff from the Government’s reckless cost cutting drive."

The Ministry is proposing to retreat from regions, and axe its presence in Hamilton, New Plymouth, Napier and Dunedin and reduce the number of Engagement and Partnership specialists who support local ethnic communities. They also work to develop relationships between community groups and other government agencies.

"There is simply no evidence that the current structure which committed to talking to various communities at a local level across New Zealand was not working well," said Duane Leo.

"This is a huge step backwards.

"Feedback from staff was clear - these ‘changes, particularly the significant decreased resources for engagement, run directly counter to the report of the Royal Commission.’

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"High-level engagement at a national level must be part of broad engagement, not a substitute for it.

"The Ministry works to connect ethnic groups with each other, and with local and central government functions. Surely as we become a more diverse nation this ministry should be getting the funding it needs.

"But this government’s priorities are clear. This rushed cost-cutting drive is all about finding money for tax cuts rather than choosing to invest in public services like supporting ethnic communities, and building a stronger, more united Aotearoa," said Duane Leo.

© Scoop Media

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