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Statement From Anusha Guler, Executive Director Office Of Ethnic Communities

The new Ministry for Ethnic Communities comes into being on 1 July. It’s important that the views and needs of Aotearoa New Zealand’s many and diverse ethnic communities help set the priorities for the new organisation from day one.

We are running a series of drop-in sessions to give people the chance to have their say. Details are available on our website: https://www.ethniccommunities.govt.nz/news/new-ministry-have-your-say/

The timing of these sessions has ultimately been driven by the 1 July 2021 go-live date.

We discussed the timing of the event with some local leaders from the communities where the sessions are being held. We know that the timing coincides with Ramadan and we discussed this issue with some Muslim members of communities as well as our Muslim staff. Following those discussions we have arranged things to be as accommodating as possible for members of our Muslim communities. This includes:

  • Running the sessions on a drop-in basis so that people could come when they wished, and spend as much or as little time as they like with us.
  • Keeping sessions open for several hours to increase flexibility.
  • Where possible, arranging the timing of the sessions to avoid clashes with Muslim prayer times.
  • Providing prayer rooms.
  • Offering halal food when sessions coincide with fast-breaking.

We are also setting up an online survey so people can participate if it’s difficult to come to a live session.

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