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Think Before You Speak - Ethnic and Faith Community Leaders urge politicians

“Think before you speak” urges Ethnic and Faith Leaders to election candidates.

The national network of ethnic and faith leaders of the Chinese, Indian, Sikh, Muslim, Jewish and African communities has urged civility and respect by politicians during the election campaign.

“We have to learn the lessons from other countries, that divisiveness and polarization have serious long-term consequences,” said Abdur Razzaq from the ethnic and faith network.

“Politicians have an immense responsibility to uphold standards which engender trust and confidence.”

“Campaigns which focus positively on social cohesion and inclusiveness appeal to New Zealand’s ethnic and faith minorities, and also reflect well on the candidates,” he said.

He noted that, for the first time in NZ political history, the ethnic vote has considerable significance in determining the outcome of the 2023 General Election. The ethnic and faith communities comprise at least 20% of the total population, and 16% of eligible voters. In 26 electorates, ethnic and faith community account for from 15% to 47% of the total population.

“Ethnic and faith community leaders are working hard to ensure our communities exercise their democratic rights,”. “The Electoral Commission has provided substantial background information in many languages, and community leaders are urging all eligible voters to register and also vote between 2 and 14 October.”

Key issues for ethnic and faith communities are:

  • Educational programmes to enhance learning excellence, life-long skills and community cohesion;
  • Immigration policies to support NZ’s economic development;
  • Social development programmes particularly in housing, aged welfare and social cohesion;
  • Economic and fiscal policies, particularly for SMEs;
  •  Public health priorities and equity in access to health services;
  •  Commitment to the on-going implementation of the Recommendations of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the 2019 Terror Attack in Christchurch;
  • Justice and crime, including specific programmes aimed at youth rehabilitation;
  • National Security, with a focus on foreign interference.
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Over the last six months, ethnic and faith leaders have had frank discussions on many of the above key issues with parliamentary political leaders and other politicians. “We are now analysing the policies of the various parties and also the drip-feed of campaign promises and ad hoc commitments. A forthcoming report will be a key risk mitigation strategy to counter mis- and disinformation, as has been seen recently in other western liberal democracies.”

REPORT : Ethnic Equation- 2023 Elections;

( The two key sources for the above report are from StatsNZ , Parliamentary Library, and PhD Thesis by Jie Huang, Victoria University of Wellington, 2023

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