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Ethnic New Zealanders deserve a fair go

Rajen Prasad
Spokesperson for Ethnic Affairs

22 August 2012

Ethnic New Zealanders deserve a fair go

Ethnic New Zealanders continue to face enormous barriers in the job market and in gaining access to basic public services - a situation that must be addressed, says Labour’s Ethnic Affairs spokesperson Rajen Prasad.

His comments follow the Annual Diversity Forum in Auckland which came to a close this week. The forum discussed the findings of a Human Rights Commission report on structural and institutional discrimination.

The report, titled A Fair Go for All, analysed the experiences of ethnic communities in health, education, justice and the public service. It found that not all New Zealanders, regardless of the colour of their skin, ethnicity or national origin got the same opportunity for good health, a good education, decent work and an adequate standard of living.

“The report’s conclusion - that there are barriers to people of different ethnicities getting the same opportunities and the same outcomes as other New Zealanders - will come as no surprise to ethnic communities,” Rajen Prasad said.

“Many ethnic New Zealanders are struggling to get ahead. At most of the ethnic events I attend I am approached by highly qualified people who can’t find work, let alone work in their field.

“Many see this as the result of a personal failing. But this report sees the consistent poor performances as a failure of the institutions that provide the services and make decisions. This recognition of institutional discrimination is a breakthrough,” Rajen Prasad said.

“The report refers to racial profiling as a process resulting in discrimination in the workforce. It suggests the solution may be building organisational commitment, being proactive, involving communities and developing targeted programmes.

“I urge employers to take up these suggestions,” Rajen Prasad said.

“Stories about doctors and engineers driving taxis are just some examples of people in work that is inconsistent with their qualifications. These are highly talented, well trained people and their skills should be recognised.

“This is not a time for excuses but a time to find solutions that utilise the skills and talents represented in our ethnic communities,” Rajen Prasad said.

ENDS

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